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Old 02-13-2002, 20:00   #1 (permalink)
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How can your internet usage be traced?

Not that it would apply to anyone on FF, but let's say there was someone who worked for a large and very diverse organisation with thousands of computers connected to its internet server, so that there's tons of internet traffic on pretty much every imaginable topic, and for some reason the employer wanted to check usage on a given computer which, fortunately, there is no likelihood of happening in the foreseeable future.

Let's also assume that the webmaster had told me - sorry, this friend of mine who wants to know all this - that they can trace stuff like the sites you've visited but it's a fair exercise and not undertaken lightly, but they can go back through the tapes or whatever. The webmaster also said that if you go in through another server like Hotmail, which oddly enough is how I happen to go into FF in response to the e-mails, they can't trace what happens after you go in there.

So does anyone know how it's likely to work, and what sort of detail is likely to be available?

Please don't ask me what sort of system we use - sorry, that my friend uses -, because I haven't got a clue. All I know is there's two or more servers (I don't even really know what a server is) and POP mail and a firewall, which shows just how little I know. I care even less, apart from this topic, because I just regard computers and the internet as tools, like books, and I don't need to know how to make paper or ink or print to be able to get what I want from a book.
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:15   #2 (permalink)
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Its very easy to do.

If 'your friend' has a log in for the computers, it will be very easy to track the usage to the person.

If there is no log in names, the usage gets tracked to the IP address... and then they just have to work out, who sits at the computer with that specific IP address.

Every site 'your friend' goes to can be logged.

I remember once I had the honour of having the highest net usage in 1 day in the history of my dept at optus!! (spent my entire 12 hour shift downloading car video's and chatting on MSN)

They didnt care cos they knew it was all harmless stuff. However... the guy that got caught going to www.boredhousewives.com (or some other crap like that) was escorted out the building the next day.
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:23   #3 (permalink)
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*waves at my internet administrator*
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:23   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by XR8chic
Its very easy to do.

They didnt care cos they knew it was all harmless stuff. However... the guy that got caught going to www.boredhousewives.com (or some other crap like that) was escorted out the building the next day.
Which raises the point that I don't understand: Why do some employers get wound up about people looking at porn for their own, um, amusement?, and give them the flick for it, but not the real issue where work time is being wasted (as distinct from people who are up to date with everything, like me, filling in time with the expensive toy thoughtfully put on their desk by a benevolent employer)?

I've employed a few people in my own business in the past in pre-internet days and I never cared if they were reading a book or whatever if their work was up to date, and now I couldn't really care if they want to look at rude pictures, child porn excepted because it can't be produced without exploiting and harming a child. I would care if they were doing that instead of the work I pay them to do. I take the same approach to my staff here, all one of them.

And now I've got a real dilemma. I've never heard of boredhousewives.com but it sounds interesting, but is it worth risking my job for?
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:25   #5 (permalink)
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Tracking web use is easy. Most companies these days secure corporate Intranets (internal Internets) with a firewall. Part of the firewall is a Web Proxy, means all requests to the Web must be submitted to the proxy, which then does the job of fetching the information from the web site and passing it back to you. That proxy will keep a log of every request - who made it, when they made it, where they made it to, how much data the request required etc. These logs will kept and stored, so if they need to trace your usage from previous weeks/months, etc they can.
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:27   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by EA S
And now I've got a real dilemma. I've never heard of boredhousewives.com but it sounds interesting, but is it worth risking my job for?
You forget - what if a female employee walks past, and is offended by the porn site you are perving at, and sues you and the company for sexual harrassment? A very costly exercise a company would prefer to avoid.
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:32   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by XR8chic
the guy that got caught going to www.boredhousewives.com (or some other crap like that) was escorted out the building the next day.
Happened to me once but I just got a good talking to by my boss. Downloading over 8 gigs (movies of the non-automotive variety) in just over a week is baaad, mmm'kay...

Also, there was email sent out a few months ago listing the highest hit sites and fordforums.com was #2 on the list! They threatened to block it so I've had to cut down and re-route my traffic through a different internet gateway.

But to answer you, yep ANYTHING you do on a computer can be tracked. The only people who are truly safe from monitoring are the sysadmins who implement it!
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:36   #8 (permalink)
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Good point 3Toed. Your best friend at work should be the sysadmin.
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:38   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Venom XR
Tracking web use is easy. Most companies these days secure corporate Intranets (internal Internets) with a firewall. Part of the firewall is a Web Proxy, means all requests to the Web must be submitted to the proxy, which then does the job of fetching the information from the web site and passing it back to you. That proxy will keep a log of every request - who made it, when they made it, where they made it to, how much data the request required etc. These logs will kept and stored, so if they need to trace your usage from previous weeks/months, etc they can.
That sounds like us.

I thought there'd have to be something like that, which is why I don't go places like boredhousewives.com.

What about going in through another server. If I come here via Hotmail, does work's server or whatever it is just show I've connected to Hotmail for x minutes (more like bloody days over Xmas slowdown)? The MSN banner shows above FF with a note that I'm visiting a site outside Hotmail, while the Hotmail page that I came here from sits under this window.

And what happens if I then go to whatever.com from here? The MSN banner disappears. Is that going through work's or Hotmail's server and where are the records?
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Old 02-13-2002, 20:58   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by EA S


That sounds like us.

I thought there'd have to be something like that, which is why I don't go places like boredhousewives.com.

What about going in through another server. If I come here via Hotmail, does work's server or whatever it is just show I've connected to Hotmail for x minutes (more like bloody days over Xmas slowdown)? The MSN banner shows above FF with a note that I'm visiting a site outside Hotmail, while the Hotmail page that I came here from sits under this window.

And what happens if I then go to whatever.com from here? The MSN banner disappears. Is that going through work's or Hotmail's server and where are the records?
I imagine when you go to sites like FF 'thru' Hotmail, you're not actually using Hotmail as a proxy. Instead, Hotmail sits inside one frame, while FF and other sites are loaded into another frame. Your browser still has to connection FF and retrieve everything, so it will still go through your proxy and be logged.

I think when your sysadmin means they can't track what you're doing beyond Hotmail refers to email, as the Hotmail servers doing the sending/receiving so your proxy doesn't see where emails are going to or coming from.
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