Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

will work be able to view my internet activity? I do have the facility to use VPN on my work laptop so I can check work emails etc from home, but I have to constantly keep signing into this as it tends to log you out, so i don't think this was switched on either. There wasn't anything bad just rightmove website etc - but i'm paranoid!

share|improve this question

If it's a work-provided laptop, they would be in their legal rights (assuming you are in the U.S.) to check any and all activity on that laptop.

Technically speaking they can definitely see your web surfing activity. Depending on what 3rd party software and/or corporate spyware they installed, if any, the would probably need to actually take it from you to examine it for this.

If you were on the VPN it is easier for them to check, as depending on how your network settings were configured it's possible you were browsing through the VPN.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for this - sorry I actually meant to say I appreciate they would be able to find out my activity if they took my laptop from me, it's more that they sometimes do internet activity reports on computers when you are working in the office - I assume they can do that because it's through their server. I was using the internet on my home broadband just using their computer - so would they be able to see my internet activity without taking my laptop from me? – user48415 Sep 3 '10 at 16:51
They probably do a report in the office through a proxy server. It would take more effort for them to see your activity at home, unless you were connected to the VPN at the time. It's also possible they have spyware installed to track this, which is not uncommon especially in larger companies. – JNK Sep 3 '10 at 16:52
excuse my ignorance - does spyware track all activity even when using personal internet connection. can they track this without physically looking through my laptop? – user48415 Sep 3 '10 at 16:57
It's possible, yes. The spyware would be installed on the PC without your knowledge and run in the background at all times. It could conceivably connect to a central server to offload once you are back at work. – JNK Sep 3 '10 at 16:59
My friend, if they want to they can install an application that will monitor every single keystroke you make and send it back to headquarters. (Fortunately nobody's likely to actually do this, let alone sift through the data!) Basically, if they have an application installed you don't know about, they can monitor anything they want. – Shinrai Sep 3 '10 at 19:13

If the VPN was on then the traffic went through your work network and they may record traffic, or may not. Every site you go to gets written in your browser history as well as multiple locations on disk. You also have to worry about cookies, flash variables (flash cookies), monitoring software your company installed.

The best thing to do would be to not use your work laptop for personal activities as they most likely monitor it.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .