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I was wondering if employee's https session is secure or not. Can IT dept know data transfered through https? Not sure if the router in IT end can act like man in the middle and can decrypt everything then re-encrypt its own keys and send to original destination?

Besides that, what are being monitored by IT generally? Thanks

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3 Answers 3

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The IT department can potentially know what site you visited, how long, and how much data was transferred, but the contents itself would be encrypted.

The only way for them to actively know what you transferred would be to use a man-in-the-middle attack which is possible with a proxy; you should get a warning about the SSL cert, but most people ignore those and blindly click through.

Chances are, if they bother logging all this, they could know you were connected to a bank, they know how long you looked at the pages, and they know you transferred X amount of bytes of data. They don't know how much money is in your account.

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SSL encryption is pretty secure, I would not worry about the IT department reading whatever site you are visiting.

  1. Browser checks the certificate to make sure that the site you are connecting to is the real site and not someone intercepting.
  2. Determine encryption types that the browser and web site server can both use to understand each other.
  3. Browser and Server send each other unique codes to use when scrambling (or encrypting) the information that will be sent.
  4. The browser and Server start talking using the encryption, the web browser shows the encrypting icon, and web pages are processed secured.

You can also read this page for more SSL information, including diagrams about man-in-the-middle attacks.

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Both other answers are good and correct for most IT departments, but really - that is assuming they only control the proxies/routers.

Given that the IT department usually in control of your actual computer - there is nothing that you can do with it that they can't control/monitor if they really are determined to, e.g. by installing key loggers, screen capturers or even modifying your browser.

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Very true, but I would say that this is going a bit on the paranoid side. We can read people's email in the organization, see their screens, etc...but realistically, we don't have the time and people seem to think their lives are more interesting than they really are. Tech people are too antisocial to sit with a bucket of popcorn while watching you surf the web while you think no one's looking :-) Plus that's a lot of data to manage and monitor (keylogging, etc.) unless there's a legal requirement to do so or a clear policy dictating those procedures. –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 14 '10 at 22:04
    
It's far more realistic that unless you are being targeted for an investigation of some sort, it's far more likely that activities are being monitored at the proxy/router level. Micromonitoring your activities are possible but a PITA without reason to do so. –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 14 '10 at 22:05

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