My office is a normal one with many PCs connected in LAN. I want to bring few videos that I have downloaded over there when I am free. I want to use pen drive and copy it. I do not intend to do any harm by stealing their intellectual property but I just need my downloaded material which is over 4 GB. I want to know whether there are any chances of getting tracked if I copy my downloaded material because normally pen drives are not allowed in office. I am having Windows 7 on my PC.

Note: Again I would repeat there are no negative intentions behind this. I just need my training videos no more. So do not start downvoting me or close my question without realising my intentions.

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    Well, I figure there's a reason why pen drives are disallowed? – Pylsa Aug 3 '11 at 16:23
  • Yes because they can't trust employees. But in my office internet speed is too good. I live in India and in India this is rare. At home it is not possible for me to download all these training videos. With much effort I have collected them and I need those at home to train myself. – TCM Aug 3 '11 at 16:25
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    Yes, it can be tracked. Its more common to just prevent users from using USB drives. – TookTheRook Aug 3 '11 at 16:35
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    I would just ask for permission. If you are downloading materials to you can learn to do your job better on your own time, I can't think of too many employers, who would be against that. – KCotreau Aug 3 '11 at 20:32
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    If company policy doesn't allow it, you are playing with fire. If you play with fire, don't be surprised if it burns. On that note, it never hurts to ask. It shows initiative. – surfasb Aug 3 '11 at 21:10

Technically, if it is the company's computer, they have the ability to track your every movement, if they want to. This doesn't mean they do, just that they could. My recommendation is to check with your manager or whoever is in charge and see if they mind you doing it. If there are no bad intentions, then they might give you permission to do it.

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    +1 Can't hurt to ask. If they say no then no issue. If you are caught, there may be some severe actions taken. Some policies indicate that use of removable data devices is good for termination. – Dave M Aug 3 '11 at 17:17
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    I also agree with asking, but your first line may, or may not, apply outside of the U.S.. In the U.S., that is certainly the law, but there are almost certainly other countries, that give their employees more privacy from monitoring. – KCotreau Aug 3 '11 at 20:34
  • Very true, I do not know the policies of India so it may be different than the policies that I follow in the U.S. – bmbaeb Aug 4 '11 at 16:27

Using group policy, your machine can be configured to not allow USB drives or other sorts of revmovable memory devices. The use of such devices can also be tracked.

There are also many network management tools that allow the blocking and tracking of all that goes on on the office computers.

If it is against policy, there are probably allowed exceptions, and if your need is as innocent as you claim, there should not be an issue.

The thing to remember though is that these are not your computers, they belong to the company, and the company has the privilege of deciding what does and does not occur on those computers, and the operating systems of today offer your company vast and powerful tools for ensuring you do not act against policy and that if you do, they are informed of it.

UPDATE response to comment: Group policy and any good monitoring tools will report whether the LAN is connected or not. They will simply save the logs until when they can transmit them back to the administrators.

Your best option is to talk to your supervisors. Any good sysadmin will not be fooled by your methods of circumventing their protections, and even if you successfully hide what you're doing, the fact that you're hiding it will probably not remain hidden and will raise suspicions on it's own. Let your supervisor know, then when IT asks why you did what you did, your supervisor will be able to tell them it was with his permission.

A good sysadmin will find out. You should work within the structures defined by the business unless you really don't care whether or not you get fired.

  • What if I disconnect LAN and then try pendrive? If they have used group policy then I won't be able to copy it but atleast they won't know that I inserted pen drive into USB slot? What are your views regarding this? Also if group policy is applied, I will need to tell my head only. – TCM Aug 3 '11 at 16:38

I am using my own keylogger (just simple AutoIt script) which track not only the keypress, but also every change in active window title. I tried copying bunch of files, and yes, they do show up in my log. So, technically, it is very easy to track whatever you do, including using the flash drive. I know your pain, I live in Indonesia where even a 60 kBps (note the B) is a very good speed for average home user. Sometimes I deliberately come to the office at night and initiate a huge download to take away in the next morning. But, I did it because the admin allows me. Do check the policy of your office about this. If they buy an internet package with limited quota, whatever you're downloading outside your job is freeloading, which the admin probably won't like, much less your manager. However, if the video you're downloading will increase your job productivity, or better, can be shared with your coworkers to increase their productivity, I see no reason why a short chat with upper management won't give you the access

  • Worth to mention that, depends on the relationship, manager may not appreciate guessing the working-hours spent on find tutorials and videos. To many, this is threated as a 100% spare-time practise. – Independent Dec 16 '13 at 21:35

Simply put, yes.


Hak5, a great tech video podcast, did a small segment once about how Windows keeps a log of all USB devices ever connected to a computer. You can watch it here: http://hak5.org/hack/usb-device-tracking

So regardless of whether your company is actively trying to track/block USB devices, which they very well might be doing, Windows takes care of the tracking all by itself. Yes, the video references Windows XP but as far as I know this also exists on Windows 7. If someone can verify that would be great!

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