What does the Casper suite allow Admins to see?
September 19, 2012 2:37 PM   Subscribe

My office just announced that they are installing Casper QuickAdd to all of our laptops in the next week or so. I want to know what they are going to be able to see after I do the installation.

I honestly don't use my laptop for anything illegal or highly inappropriate, but I sometimes watch a netflix movie or my kids play a game. I want to have a very clear idea of what they can see and what they can't just because it feels weird to be watched. I'm not trying to do anything wrong (no porn or anything), it just gives me the creeps to know that there's someone looking over my shoulder.

So, can they see my internet browsing? Can they see my personal gmail email? Can they see me watch The Daily Show on Hulu while I eat lunch? Can they see me burn a CD or use Spotify?

What can they see?

Thanks. Anonymous just because it might look bad to my employers for me to even be worried about this. But again, it's really just because I don't like being watched (does anyone?)
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It allows the admins to control what you can and cant do. It will tell them what is on the machine. I am not sure if it tells them what sites you visit. They can see what sites you go to when you are at work though without having to even remotely be on your machine.
posted by majortom1981 at 2:51 PM on September 19, 2012

FYI, whenever you're at work and connected to their network, they can see all your internet traffic whenever they want already. Private browsing modes don't even protect from this because their router still receives the IP traffic.

So, you know, not that you're doing anything bad, but you should be aware that anything you do on a work network can be seen.
posted by InsanePenguin at 3:27 PM on September 19, 2012

Umm..not *everything* on a work network can be seen. If the connection is encrypted all they can tell is what IPs you are connecting to for the encrypted connection. So, if you setup a VPN at home that is encrypted, its a good way to have solid "private browsing" over your work network. I'm sure that in some instances they can decrypt the traffic, but I doubt they will.

As for the Casper software, I'm not sure... I regard my work laptop as not a zone of personal privacy.
posted by nickerbocker at 3:35 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

[If your answer does not reference this software it is probably not answering the question. Feel free to take side conversations to MeMail or ask your own question. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:45 PM on September 19, 2012

Casper Suite is not designed to spy on employees' behavior--while it has some features that could maybe kinda sorta be used for that, that's sort of incidental to what it does.

There's nothing that you asked about that would be monitored by Casper that your employer couldn't already figure out from monitoring network traffic. Even without installing anything on your computer, your employer can tell what sites you go to (so they can tell you're visiting Hulu and see your browsing) and they can also tell you're using Spotify (because the Spotify application has to communicate with the Spotify server to get music).

What they can't do just from monitoring network traffic is read your Gmail or see you burn a CD. It's very unlikely that they would be able to do either of these things without using software that actually watches and records what's on your screen. Casper doesn't do that, but they could use Capser to deploy a program that does. It's a bit impractical to record and review every single thing every employee does on their computer, so companies generally don't--more common might be automatically taking a screenshot every x minutes and using that to put together an analysis of what %age of the time you're doing work related stuff. (Even that is somewhat labor intensive, and would likely only be done by companies on the control-freak end of the employee monitoring spectrum.)
posted by phoenixy at 8:37 PM on September 19, 2012

Phoenix. Casper does let them see whats ON a machine. So if you say intall a pluginf for say neflix or something they will find out . IF you game on the computer they will know what game since it shows them a list of whats installed on the machine.

Also since casper suite uses vnc if they set it up right they can watch literally everything you do without you knowing.
posted by majortom1981 at 6:41 AM on September 20, 2012

If your IT group really wanted to spy on you, they would be using Apple Remote Desktop to administer your computer. Screen sharing is built in to OSX (look under system preferences -> sharing), and it can be set up so the user isn't notified when someone connects. ARD also allows administrators to view & search all files on your hard drive, remotely, without you knowing.

CasperSuite does allow "Remote Control" - I think it uses the built in OSX vnc tools to connect - but I can almost guarantee you that your IT group isn't installing Casper to spy on employees. If there is a way to search/view files on a user's computer using Casper, it isn't covered in training or documentation.

Casper's inventory service will allow them to see your computer hardware stats, purchasing & warranty information about your machines, as well as any applications that are installed. (So if you have a Hulu app installed on your machine they can tell, but if you are watching Hulu via a web browser they can't.) They will be able to see if your disk is encrypted with FileVault or PGP, and what the Time Machine or CrashPlan status is.

They'll be able to manage your system preferences - forcing a screensaver to come on after x minutes, installing OSX updates, displaying a custom message on the login screen, etc.

They'll also be able to distribute software - either without you knowing (so if a new version of Office comes out & they deploy it automatically), or through the "Self Service" app (where you can go out and install software with a click). Like phoenixy mentioned above, this *could* be used for evil - ie they could install a tracking software on your computer.

You can me-mail me if you have more questions.
posted by wearyaswater at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2012

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