Archive for the ‘Monitoring Discussion’ Category

Is it legal for employers to track employees with GPS?

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

GPS tracking at workplaces is a controversial topic among many, but in the United States courts have consistently ruled that workplace related GPS tracking is reasonable and is similar to surveillance video monitoring. GPS tracking can only be used to track employees who are at work, and for work related purposes. For instance, it is legal to ask why an employee’s cell phone showed that they were at a restaurant instead of on a delivery route at a time when they were on the clock. Using GPS tracking to monitoring employees should have a real business purpose, and the phone must be issued by the employer to the employee. Outside of business hours the tracking device should not be used.

GPS has evolved to be used in many ways in modern workplaces outside of just tracking and surveillance. GPS is often used in delivery and transportation workplaces because it can help management track where there employees are driving. It can also be used to guide and direct drivers to appropriate locations and adjust routes on the fly as needed. In other cases it can be used to find drivers or employees that are closest to a new job site and redirect them quickly. In law enforcement, the nearest police cars to the scene of a crime or emergency can be easily found. When it comes to legality of use, GPS must only be used for workplace related monitoring and business uses.

pocket pc gps

The courts usually favor employers in GPS tracking cases. In one case, an employee in New York was shown to be leaving work early on his employer issued cell phone. The cell phone had GPS tracking, and the employee was terminated. The case went to court and the judge upheld that the tracking was justifiable as well as the termination. The employee was also informed that the phone would have GPS tracking installed on it, and the judge ruled that the employee should not have expected privacy while working as a result of this. The judge ruled that the way the information about the employee’s whereabouts was collected (by the use of GPS) was justifiable and legal.

If there is a real question about the legality of using GPS, a business lawyer can always be consulted, but many work related tracking purposes are allowable, only if the phone is provided to the employee. GPS tracking cannot be installed on an employee owned phone for work related tracking purposes. Employers are also allowed to listen in to employee calls when they are at work and obtain record of calls made on the employer’s phone. In addition, it should be known that all phones can be tracked by law enforcement if they are on, even those without GPS, if law enforcement has a probable cause to pursue a suspect.

Computer monitoring by employers is also considered to be legal. Like cell phones, monitoring must only be installed on employer owned computers. Monitoring software can monitor any of an employee’s activities while they are on an employer owned computer including emails, web browser and software usage. Entertainment websites and other websites can legally be filtered from a web browser. Computer monitoring can be used by employers to improve productivity and keep compliant with regulations. It can also be used to collect evidence in the case that it is needed during a legal investigation or lawsuit. Employees may also legally be fired for computer misuse while at work, and this type of monitoring is so common that over two thirds of employers utilize it.

If you’re an employer looking to monitor employees, you may be interested in our computer monitoring software – Gecko Monitor. You can find out more about Gecko Monitor here.

Are Keyloggers Safe To Use?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

There’s a lot of negatively terminology associated with the term ‘keylogger’ and if you’re one of those people who actually needs to use one, it may be causing you concern. Are they or aren’t they safe to use? The short answer: yes, they are. But before I explain why, a short and very boring history lesson…

The term keylogger comes from the days of Microsoft DOS, when typing was the only thing you could do on a computer. Before you could use a mouse, DOS was the operating system of choice, and what you could do with it was limited. If you wanted to monitor a computer running DOS the only thing you’d need to watch is the keystrokes, to get a full picture of what was being done on that computer – hence ‘keylogger’.

Mircrosoft DOS

Now, at first these programs were used in a non-malicious way but hackers soon realised that they could use them to intercept and acquire sensitive information. Credit card numbers and passwords were the main catch, but they’d still need to be passed on and the keylogger would still need to be some how installed on the target system.

Fast forward a few years to the inception of Microsoft Windows and a few things happened that caused the situation to advance. First, the use of the mouse meant that now keystrokes didn’t reveal the entire picture, and second, the internet making an entry into the home meant hackers had a new way to access our lives and steal information.

At this point keyloggers went in two separate directions. In one direction, people who wanted to use them legitimately incorporated all the new features into them that would be necessary for monitoring a Windows computer (screenshots, websites, applications, etc). At this point the term keylogger became slightly outdated so they started being referred to as ‘Computer Monitoring Software’. These programs are very safe to use and are used in a whole range of situations; from monitoring the kids computer, to monitoring the office network.

The second direction was the one hackers went in. They’d incorporate keyloggers into viruses, that would infect your computer in a number of ways, hijack your passwords and/or card numbers then send this information back to the hacker via the internet. One example of how this would work would be hackers sending out millions of spam emails to random addresses with links in, when someone who isn’t particularly computer savvy clicks on a link the virus automatically downloads, infects the computer and starts running.

computer virus

But as internet security has improved, the above scenario has become harder and harder to implement. In today’s world, Windows internet security and anti-virus software combined makes it tough for hackers to work in this way, making keyloggers within viruses of this nature very rare.

To cut a long story short: Computer Monitoring Software is very safe to use, and there are plenty of large, popular companies out there that supply it. Keylogger Viruses, are not, but this isn’t something you’d search out and download yourself anyway, it would be a very unlucky chance encounter, just like with any other virus.

Of course, you may think we’re slightly biased! Considering we have our very own Computer Monitoring Software. To check out a free trial of Gecko Monitor click here

Using a Keylogger as a Backup Tool

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Because keylogger programs virtually detect and store every stroke, site, instant message and email that was sent on a personal computer, it also makes for an astounding (and in some cases a saving grace) backup tool for your system.

There are many different keylogging programs and most of them allow you to monitor all the activity that goes on within your PC. Some of the software and hardware will take screenshots, track emails and instant messages, record any passwords that were used and some of the more sophisticated programs even have the ability to record the microphone activity that happened on that computer. They will also work in the event that a virus makes it way into your system and destroys the memory and encrypted information.

In cases where your system may crash, having a keylogging system that has a detailed record of all your data is a good thing. Most of the hardware and software programs now come equipped with text editors. These are nifty components built right within the hardware that will automatically create backup copies of documents that you create on your computer. Therefore in instances where you are maybe working on a research paper or business proposal and accidentally click out of your document that you forgot to save, the program has automatically been recording every key stroke and has a hard copy saved for you.

Additionally, many USB keylogger programs will save your web browsing activities and also remember and recall any sites that you have visited or searches you have entered into the web. This is handy when you need to recall some research and forgot to write down the website. Or if you are one that likes to join or subscribe to pages and blogs, but have a short memory for all those passwords, keylogging programs will also keep a steady record of all the passwords to those accounts.

Backing up

The purpose of these programs is less about spying and more about logging your applications. The software will communicate to the hardware on the PC not only password information, but it also has the ability to recall and record the titles of their windows, along with every keystroke you made to get there.

With these programs the concern that you will lose any text at all is virtually non-existent. There are functions included referred to as email clients which will keep track of any emails you send or will also keep track of your drafts. It is necessary at times to be able to have the ability to copy and paste fragments of partial texts from a website you are on and these programs can also help you do that.

The clipboard functions are also a great addition because they allow the user to copy one piece text from your board at one time instead of the entire text as a whole. You can then copy only the information you want or need to your Windows clipboard and the program will store it and make a backup copy that you can refer to at a later date or if and when you lose or crash a system.

Backing Up Your Logs

With many of the keylogger programs backing up your logs is simple. Generally the program will give you detailed instructions on how to do so and it almost always consists of burning your log into a log folder or burning the information onto a CD or USB. In some cases you can burn or save it directly to the hard drive.  Take a look at our free trial of Gecko Monitor to see how we could help you with your backing up needs.

Are Keyloggers Legal? Or Illegal?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

There is much heated debate about the utilization of keyloggers and with so many individuals using them to track cheating spouses as well as companies using them to monitor employees behaviors and production, those for an against them being legal all have seemingly valid arguments. However, the question that needs to be answered has nothing to do with morality; it has to do with defining what the law states in regards to their use, as this is the only evidence that will be deemed acceptable should one choose to take a stance with a partner or employer.

The biggest contention for those who oppose these software programs is that on a large scale they do invade one’s privacy. Unfortunately many of the laws surrounding electronic devices do not have specific limitations or restrictions for using them and therefore, keyloggers are still considered legal in many parts of the United States and elsewhere in the world.

legal or illegal

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)

In 1986 Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as a way for the public at large to be able to keep their private information safe while at the same time allowing government agencies the license to monitor and record wiretaps, telephone calls and electronic data. The idea behind this act was to offer a balance between the privacy rights of citizens and to also allow the federal government to gain access to information relating to criminal and unlawful activity.

Since its initial passing, more acts have been passed in an effort to narrow the scope and better define what this act does and does not allow. Such amendments include the Federal Wiretap Act (FWA) and the Stored Communication Act (SCA). Neither of those acts includes making keyloggers illegal either.

Why it’s Still Legal to Use Keyloggers

Much of the confusion and discrepancies surrounding keyloggers comes down to how the acts are interpreted by the general public and the court systems. Even the federal government can’t agree on where the line should be drawn as far as what defines infringing upon one’s privacy rights. Most recently many court systems have attempted to interpret the protective acts in such a way that allowing the general public’s key strokes to be monitored should be seen as being unconstitutional and a definitive invasion of privacy.

The blatant conflict within defining these acts continues to cause a conundrum across the globe and in addition continues to cause conflict between employees and employers because the lines remain blurred, and the definitions and interpretations unclear. Many employees violently oppose employers spying on what they are doing even during work hours and feel that keyloggers are unlawful.

Because someone who installs keylogger software must have administrative rights on the system that it is being installed on, this gives them full access and license to do so as they see fit. Because employers can argue that there are legitimate reasons as to why activity on a computer needs to be monitored and surveyed, the practice of utilizing them is deemed as legal and in many cases, necessary. Companies have the right to protect their personal assets and information from being misused and shared and thus, using that argument alone will bypass any one employee from arguing that it is an invasion of privacy.

On an individual level, many parents utilize this software as a way to protect their children when they are online, which again is legal and recommended by people and professionals across the board. For the most part, those who use keylogger programs are doing so in a lawful and ethical way. The flipside is that with this software, there are many unethical and unlawful uses as well. Criminals are able to gain access to personal information, passwords and bank account information and therein lies the issues with those that are opposed to such software programs.

Canada Law and Keylogger Software

Much like the US Canada also have a Privacy Act that is in place and also like the US, their Privacy Act is written with many gray areas, making keylogger software definitely legal for private homes and employers. With the current acts and laws, as long as the person who installed the keylogger program is the owner of the computer or device that the software is being installed on, they have full and legal rights to utilize such software.

The laws and regulations become less arduous when individuals who are not owners of the computers or devices attempt to use them. If for example an ex-spouse or partner installs it on a computer or device without that person’s knowledge, a law suit can be filed and many have been brought up on criminal charges for doing so. In these instances it is because the installer is not the owner of the device and therefore infringes upon the computer owner’s privacy.

UK Laws and Keylogger Software

AS previously discussed, the laws and privacy acts also state that it is legal in the UK for individuals and companies to utilize keylogger software on any computer that they rightfully own. Many companies in the UK have a disclaimer in their employee manuals that specifically states that they have the right to monitor all employee activity in the case of suspicion and otherwise.

It is illegal only in instances where the information obtained is used in an unlawful way, for example as a way to collect passwords or using bank account information in an effort to steal personal funds.

If you’d like to download a free trial of Gecko Monitor, head to our homepage here.

Hardware VS Software Keyloggers

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Keylogging has gained a lot of popularity especially within the realm of businesses. Employers now want to keep track of what their employees are doing during working hours, and many companies have come to the realization that employee production has decreased since the onset of social media and online shopping. By utilizing keylogger hardware or software, the individual who uses it can easily see what those who are using the PC, laptop or mobile device is doing, which websites are being visited and other information such as the contents of any emails that are sent out or received.

Keylogging is offered in hardware and software, prompting those who want to use it to ask which is better. Both types can be effective and as with anything else, both have their strengths and weaknesses. When comparing whether to use keylogger hardware or software, keep these things in mind.

hardware keylogger

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using the hardware lies in the fact that unlike software keyloggers, hardware keyloggers are virtually undetectable. When the software is used there are options for those who may suspect they are being monitored to deactivate the programs by installing anti-spy or eraser software or programs. With hardware keyloggers, these anti programs will not detect that there is keylogger software built into the system and therefore there is no way to deactivate it.

With software keyloggers there is also a risk that the person who is active on the device may intentionally or accidentally put in the password that you have chosen to monitor the software; in these instances the software will automatically deactivate itself and the monitor will no longer have access to the activity on that computer or device.

Because of these ‘flaws’ it takes much more diligence on the part of the person utilizing the software to consistently check to make sure the software is performing the way that it should and that it hasn’t been compromised or deactivated. For some this proves to be too much work; for others it is not an issue. This aspect comes down to personal preference and the amount of time on wants to spend monitoring the functionality in addition to the activity on the device.

Another benefit of utilizing hardware in lieu of software is that should there ever be a power outage or if the device it is installed on somehow gets unplugged, the non-volatile memory will continue to track all the activities that are happening. When software is used, because it doesn’t have the non-volatile component, once the device is unplugged or there is no power feeding it, the software can no longer monitor the activities until power is restored or it is again plugged in.

Because the hardware keylogger is portable it can be used on multiple computers at one time. When software is utilized, it is specifically downloaded to one computer and therefore only the activities of that computer can be monitored. Having the hardware version allows the owner to move their portable device from one computer to another at any time, which means the functions are not as limiting as with the software.

Unlike software keyloggers, there is nothing to download when monitoring activity and instead the hardware works and records activity via a host server. The added benefit of this is that no type of malware can interfere with the monitoring of the hardware; this is not true of software which does need to be downloaded, and therefore brings with it more risks.

Fortunately the newer keylogging software is catching up with the times however and now much of it can also record things like digital images and record emails and send them back to the user’s hosting site. However, the programs that do have these capabilities also require that much of the computer hard drive space is consumed, and depending on the software, it is fairly easy to detect. The result is usually that the software will slow down the performance of the computer overall. This is not the case with hardware keyloggers.

But more advances are being made to software and it is much more affordable than the hardware versions of keylogging. For this reason many individuals and companies still choose to use the software version. Take a look at our own keylogger software; Gecko Monitor

Windows 8 Keylogger – Gecko Monitor Upgrades

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Gecko Monitor has been growing in strength over the past 6 months. Thank you to everyone who has supported to us through development and too everyone who has used the software.

As Windows 8 hits stores and PC’s around the world, and more and more people upgrade to Microsoft’s new operating system, we thought it best to begin upgrading Gecko Monitor to make sure our Keylogger is 100% compatible with the new incarnation of Windows.

Although Windows 8 works similarly to previous versions of Windows (apart from the addition of the new style start menu) there are some minor alterations, especially behind the scenes. The main feature of Gecko Monitor that needed upgrading to be comprehensively compatible was the Keylogger, which has been upgraded to offer improved stability and functionality.

We are also in the process of adjusting the trial length of Gecko Monitor to a longer time period, to allow users to test the features more before purchasing the software. If you’d like to download Gecko Monitor and see the software in action, head to our home page here:

http://www.geckomonitor.com

More new features will be announced here on the blog in the the not too distant future. At the moment the team behind Gecko is looking at microphone recording, web cam monitoring and Skype integration. Check back soon if any of that excites you!

Spying On A Cell Phone

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Gecko Monitor is our very own Computer Monitoring Software, that can be used to stealthily monitor a computer while you’re away. But what if you want to take things a step further? If you own the phone (whether it’s a phone you give to your kids, spouse or employee) you’re legally allowed (in most states) to monitor it. So if you have pesky kids who have knack for causing trouble, or an employee who’s been seen sleeping in his car when he should be out on the road, then you might want to look into spying on their cell phone.

Spying on a cell phone has become a lot more common place since the popularity of smart phones has spread globally. Smart phones make it very easy for cell phone spying, since they’re in essence mini computers. Older phones didn’t have the capabilities for installing software, but with operating systems like Android, Windows 8 & iOS, a huge range of software is available, and the range of applications developers can produce is huge.

Phone Spying

Cell phone spying software (for lack of a catchier name) is easily downloaded and installed on the target phone. A quick visit to the developers website is all that’s required to download and install the software, and once installed the applications will run in complete stealth in the background of the phone, uploading the logs and reports to the web for you to view at any time.

What can be monitored is incredible. Incoming and outgoing text messages are automatically stored for you to read at a later date, as are recordings of every call and voice mail. GPS is used to track the location of the phone at all times, showing on a map the exact location of the person. Web browser history and anything taken with the phones camera is also automatically saved. But perhaps the most extraordinary – or perhaps worrying – feature of cell phone spying software is the ability to simply switch the phones microphone on at any time at listen live to the persons surroundings. Think of the possibilities.

All of this will be automatically uploaded to your account online, so that you can log in and look through the reports whenever it suits you.

If you’d like to check out the most popular phone spy software on the market, take a look at Mobistealth. You can read our review of Mobistealth here. If you’re interested in monitoring a computer download our free trial of Gecko Monitor here.

What is Computer Monitoring Software? A Quick Guide

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Computer monitoring software isn’t a new concept; however as technology advances on the Internet and people become more adept are searching, the need for this type of software particularly for household with children has vastly increased.

Essentially a computer monitoring software program will allow the owner or registers of a laptop or desktop to monitor all the activity that happens on that computer without the user knowing that their activities are being recorded and monitored. This is the same software that is also known as parental software which many parents have put on their computers that are used by underage children as well as other family members.

Once the software is installed, the program will monitor all online activities as well as filter the content. It also has settings that allow the owner of the computer to block particular sites from gaining access to the computer, and controls can be set so that certain cites cannot be accessed by those using the computer. Generally the controls placed are those sites that are at high risk of containing viruses and sites that contain adult material such as pornography.

Computer monitoring software often gets confused with other software programs that fall under the spyware programs. There are vast differences between the two and in order for particular software to fall under monitoring software one of three key elements must be present:

  • The person who installs the monitoring software must be the owner of the PC or laptop that it is being installed on.
  • The owner has permission from other family members or users of that computer to install the software.
  • Whoever installs the software is the parent of an underage child.

Computer monitoring software is not only used by parents, but is also vastly used in many workplaces where the business owner or owners want to regulate what their employees can access and what programs can have access to their PC’s. These monitoring software programs will recognize key words that directly contradict what that employer will allow their employees to search for. When an employee tries to search for things that should not be accessed they will be brought to a screen that states something like “Unauthorized to view this website” or something similar.

Considerations Before Purchasing or Installing Computer Monitoring Software

There are hundreds of available software programs and not all are created equally. You should devote some time to researching the many that are available so that you invest in one that is affordable, is easy to install and navigate and that will do everything you need it to do. There are many programs available online that is free, while others will charge but have more bells and whistles available.

Things you should take into consideration are:

  • Compare pricing and capabilities of the software
  • Be sure that the software you buy is the latest version
  • Make sure that it is compatible with your operating system
  • Purchase one that has stellar customer support services as you will probably have questions along the way. Also ask what their turnaround time is for addressing your questions or issues

Interested in learning more? Check out our very own Gecko Monitor. Gecko Monitor’s advanced systems comfortably and easily allow parents to monitor all of their computer’s and user’s activities while online and our program works equally as well for employers who want to monitor their employee’s activities.

When choosing a program consumers need one that is easy to install and that is easily navigated and Gecko is not only is affordable, but it is the easiest to install and manage on the market. Once the program is installed and the user assigns a password, all activity on the computer can be quietly monitored to ensure the safety of all users.

We offer a free two hour trial so you can get to know the program and then make an educated decision as to whether this is the computer monitoring program for you, your family or your place of business.

Gecko Monitor also offers many unique features which include:

  • Monitoring of any and all printed documents constructed on the computer
  • Compiles screenshots of all activity and sites visited
  • Easy to use and understand time stamping system
  • Emailing documentation and reporting to the email you assign to the program which offers reports and alerts
  • Complete monitoring of all files which are opened, deleted or saved
  • Guaranteed monitoring that is hidden and can unhide with password/secret key combination

To download a free trial of Gecko Monitor click here.

 

Monitoring a Cheating Spouse – Cell Phone & PC

Friday, October 19th, 2012

If you have your suspicions about a cheating spouse there are now more ways to catch them out than there was ten years ago. These days the world is intrinsically connected in way that can be dangerous for those trying to hide something. So if you do have your suspicions the best way to get the truth is to start monitoring their devices.

Whether or not you should monitor a spouse is a different issue and may be one that doesn’t play well on peoples morals, but that debate is a lengthy one that will never have an agreeable answer, so we won’t go into it now. If you feel that monitoring your spouses devices is the route you need to go down then read on.

Man on Cell Phone

The two devices in question are the mobile (cell) phone and the computer or laptop. In the 21st century both can be monitored with ease. The mobile phone can be monitored by simple programs that you install when you have a few minutes alone with the phone. Mobistealth is the leading phone monitoring software which you can purchase and prepare from your own computer when no one is around. Then, when you have a few minutes with the target phone you simply type a link into the phones browser and the software gets installed.

Phone and computer monitoring programs both work in complete stealth, so as soon as the application has been installed no one will know about it. With Mobistealth you can log into your members area to see the logs and look over what has been monitored. You’ll be able to listen to phone calls, read texts, see picture messages and even see where your spouse has been using GPS tracking. You can read a review of Mobistealth here.

Monitoring your spouses computer is just as easy. Using an application like Gecko Monitor, all you’ll need is 10 minutes alone with the computer to set up the software, after which everything runs in stealth while monitoring things like keystrokes, websites visited, applications used, documents typed and emails sent. You can view all of this either by logging back into Gecko Monitor or by having the reports sent to you remotely via email.

With both of these programs installed you can be sure to find out the truth about a cheating spouse, and have the proof to confront them with. You can download a free trial of Gecko Monitor here.

Monitoring Your Childs Computer – Ethical & Moral Implications

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

One of the questions I receive on a regular basis is to do with the ethical and moral issues of monitoring another persons internet activities. It’s definitely a hot issue and one that deserves consideration. For me, it depends on the person and the situation, and today we’re looking at monitoring your own childs computer.

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer in this – everyone’s moral compass points in a slightly different direction. The first thing to bare in mind though, is the law in your area. Nine times out of ten the law says you can monitor a computer IF you own it OR if you have the owners permission. You will almost always be able to monitor your own child’s computer, but it’s always a good idea to check up first.

Child at Computer

Another consideration is the reason you’d like to monitor your child’s computer. If the reason is resolvable without using monitoring software, then you might what to take that route rather than risk the fallout of using the software. An example of this may be playing too many games. If though, you think your child is getting into something more serious (pornography or dangerous chat rooms are a couple of examples) and they’re denying it or not talking to you about it, then monitoring software may be the way to go.

As mentioned before, you have to make your own mind up as to whether you are doing the right thing by your child. If you think the activity their doing behind your back could be worse for them in the end than the argument or loss of trust you may get from monitoring them, then use the software.

If you do decide to use monitoring software, you can install the software on the computer when they’re out quickly and simply. Once this is done you can either check the reports on they’re computer whenever they’re out, or get the reports emailed to you remotely. Gecko Monitor can monitor screenshots, keytrokes, websites visited, applications used, document activity, printer activity and more, so you can see exactly what’s been going on on the target computer.

What do you think of the moral and ethical implications of monitoring your child’s computer? Would you do it? And under what circumstances? Let us know in the comments. If you’d like to download a free trial of Gecko Monitor click here.