Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer - Firewalls

This is a discussion on Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer - Firewalls ; A buddy of mine used to have a PC that didn't work through his employer's network but tapped straight into the internet (not sure how that setup worked, so just bear with me). Recently, they moved from a wired network ...

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Thread: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

  1. Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    A buddy of mine used to have a PC that didn't work through his
    employer's network but tapped straight into the internet (not sure how
    that setup worked, so just bear with me). Recently, they moved from a
    wired network to a wireless one. To our knowledge, that machine is
    still set up with a direct connection (he uses an external computer
    system and it doesn't work well with the netowork).

    A mutual friend of ours happened to mention the concept of a packet
    sniffer to him and now he's completely paranoid about using said PC
    for anything other than the strictest of business. A day gets boring,
    so you hit a few of your gaming forums, browse a bunch of news sites,
    and maybe doing some instant messaging (GMail ftw!), whatever. No,
    he's not hitting porn; he's bored, not a moron!

    I've tried explaining to him that the only reason they're going to be
    checking his traffic is if he's given them a reason to do so. He
    busts his ass for the company, is almost always on time, works OT at
    the drop of a hat, and is basically his boss's right hand man. Even
    so, he won't so much as crack open his GMail now to check it during
    the day out of fear of Big Brother watching.

    So I ask: How likely is it that his IT department is bothering to sit
    down and piece together his IM threads to find out about us talking
    about Dr. Who's season finale? Sure they COULD do that, but does any
    IT group turn that kind of stuff on by default, or is it only a "Yeah,
    this is Jones up in Finance. I want to keep track of Larry
    Riley...can you see what he's doing online?"

  2. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    CodeMonkey writes:

    > A buddy of mine used to have a PC that didn't work through his
    > employer's network but tapped straight into the internet (not sure how
    > that setup worked, so just bear with me). Recently, they moved from a
    > wired network to a wireless one. To our knowledge, that machine is
    > still set up with a direct connection (he uses an external computer
    > system and it doesn't work well with the netowork).
    >
    > A mutual friend of ours happened to mention the concept of a packet
    > sniffer to him and now he's completely paranoid about using said PC
    > for anything other than the strictest of business. A day gets boring,
    > so you hit a few of your gaming forums, browse a bunch of news sites,
    > and maybe doing some instant messaging (GMail ftw!), whatever. No,
    > he's not hitting porn; he's bored, not a moron!
    >
    > I've tried explaining to him that the only reason they're going to be
    > checking his traffic is if he's given them a reason to do so. He
    > busts his ass for the company, is almost always on time, works OT at
    > the drop of a hat, and is basically his boss's right hand man. Even
    > so, he won't so much as crack open his GMail now to check it during
    > the day out of fear of Big Brother watching.
    >
    > So I ask: How likely is it that his IT department is bothering to sit
    > down and piece together his IM threads to find out about us talking
    > about Dr. Who's season finale? Sure they COULD do that, but does any
    > IT group turn that kind of stuff on by default, or is it only a "Yeah,
    > this is Jones up in Finance. I want to keep track of Larry
    > Riley...can you see what he's doing online?"



    It varies from "almost certain because they're logging IM traffic
    automagically and proxying it to the internet" to more along the lines
    of what you're suggesting--auditing on an as needed basis if he's
    screwing up in something else. Depends on teh size of the
    organization, their risk tolerance, and IT infrastructure.

    It also depends on what he signed in terms of paperwork when he was
    hired.

    I will share this though:

    I know of a guy who worked for a large retail chain's front end
    development staff. He had exchanged ongoing jocular banter between
    him and a colleague that had a high incidence of Jerky Boys quotes.

    It came to management's attention some how and they were both fired
    for it. I don't have the entire story, so take that for what it's
    worth, but there's reason to be extremely cautious with this.

    Personally though, if my employer won't treat me like an adult and
    allow me casual and resonable access to a personal email account
    during the day, I don't wanna work for them.

    If you want to keep them from being able to read your personal email,
    that's where encryption and proxies come in.

    Best Regards,
    --
    Todd H.
    http://www.toddh.net/

  3. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    In article <84hc9rs3vo@e6g2000prf.googlegroups.com>, comphelp@toddh.net
    says...
    > Personally though, if my employer won't treat me like an adult and
    > allow me casual and resonable access to a personal email account
    > during the day, I don't wanna work for them.


    We documented a case of a worker sending 843 emails in one shift, they
    were warned 3 times and then fired. Most of the employees at our
    customers have little need for outside email, so it's easy to monitor.

    We can run a report in seconds that shows User, date, subject, number of
    emails per subject, number of emails per day, total emails per period,
    in/out direction, who to/from....

    We normally check for 30 external emails per week or more for people
    that have no business using external email addresses, above that and
    they are warned/fired.

    With this and web filtering/monitoring, most places see an increase in
    productivity, as high as 30% after the first couple weeks of enacting
    the policy.

    --
    - Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
    - Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented worker" is like calling a
    drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"
    spam999free@rrohio.com (remove 999 for proper email address)

  4. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    comphelp@toddh.net (Todd H.) wrote in
    news:84hc9rs3vo@e6g2000prf.googlegroups.com:

    > Personally though, if my employer won't treat me like an adult and
    > allow me casual and resonable access to a personal email account
    > during the day, I don't wanna work for them.


    Who owns the computer? You? Or your employer?

    If it's not your computer, then you have no right to dictate how
    it's to be used.

    Where do people like you get the idea that you have a _right_ to
    use the company computer they way _you_ want to?

    Brian
    --
    http://www.skywise711.com - Lasers, Seismology, Astronomy, Skepticism
    Seismic FAQ: http://www.skywise711.com/SeismicFAQ/SeismicFAQ.html
    Quake "predictions": http://www.skywise711.com/quakes/EQDB/index.html
    Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?

  5. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 02:55:51 GMT, Skywise
    wrote:

    >comphelp@toddh.net (Todd H.) wrote in
    >news:84hc9rs3vo@e6g2000prf.googlegroups.com:
    >
    >> Personally though, if my employer won't treat me like an adult and
    >> allow me casual and resonable access to a personal email account
    >> during the day, I don't wanna work for them.

    >
    >Who owns the computer? You? Or your employer?
    >
    >If it's not your computer, then you have no right to dictate how
    >it's to be used.


    I fully agree, but that's not the point.

    Todd said "if my employer won't treat me like an adult and allow me
    casual and reasonable access to a personal email account during the
    day, I don't wanna work for them"

    That's a fair statement to make, as long as it is made openly. One
    doesn't *have to* work for a certain company, and a certain company
    doesn't *have to* hire him. It takes two to tango.

  6. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Root Kit wrote in
    news:5a82a456p25f1t2qjdngrfcovqeqgjh141@4ax.com:

    > On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 02:55:51 GMT, Skywise
    > wrote:
    >
    >>If it's not your computer, then you have no right to dictate how
    >>it's to be used.

    >
    > I fully agree, but that's not the point.
    >
    > Todd said "if my employer won't treat me like an adult and allow me
    > casual and reasonable access to a personal email account during the
    > day, I don't wanna work for them"
    >
    > That's a fair statement to make, as long as it is made openly. One
    > doesn't *have to* work for a certain company, and a certain company
    > doesn't *have to* hire him. It takes two to tango.


    Point taken.

    It's just that I see so much on TV, etc... of people whining when
    they get in trouble for doing personal stuff on the company
    computer, as if it was their God given right that was just tread
    upon.

    But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    because they can't have access to their personal email from the
    work computer?

    On a related tangent, it just seems to me that too many people
    don't respect other's property.

    Brian
    --
    http://www.skywise711.com - Lasers, Seismology, Astronomy, Skepticism
    Seismic FAQ: http://www.skywise711.com/SeismicFAQ/SeismicFAQ.html
    Quake "predictions": http://www.skywise711.com/quakes/EQDB/index.html
    Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?

  7. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Leythos wrote:

    > We can run a report in seconds that shows User, date, subject, number of
    > emails per subject, number of emails per day, total emails per period,
    > in/out direction, who to/from....
    >

    out of curiousity, what software are you using for that?
    M

  8. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Mon, 11 Aug 2008 12:35:10 -0700 (PDT), CodeMonkey
    wrote:

    >A buddy of mine used to have a PC that didn't work through his
    >employer's network but tapped straight into the internet (not sure how
    >that setup worked, so just bear with me). Recently, they moved from a
    >wired network to a wireless one. To our knowledge, that machine is
    >still set up with a direct connection (he uses an external computer
    >system and it doesn't work well with the netowork).
    >
    >A mutual friend of ours happened to mention the concept of a packet
    >sniffer to him and now he's completely paranoid about using said PC
    >for anything other than the strictest of business. A day gets boring,
    >so you hit a few of your gaming forums, browse a bunch of news sites,
    >and maybe doing some instant messaging (GMail ftw!), whatever. No,
    >he's not hitting porn; he's bored, not a moron!
    >
    >I've tried explaining to him that the only reason they're going to be
    >checking his traffic is if he's given them a reason to do so. He
    >busts his ass for the company, is almost always on time, works OT at
    >the drop of a hat, and is basically his boss's right hand man. Even
    >so, he won't so much as crack open his GMail now to check it during
    >the day out of fear of Big Brother watching.
    >
    >So I ask: How likely is it that his IT department is bothering to sit
    >down and piece together his IM threads to find out about us talking
    >about Dr. Who's season finale? Sure they COULD do that, but does any
    >IT group turn that kind of stuff on by default, or is it only a "Yeah,
    >this is Jones up in Finance. I want to keep track of Larry
    >Riley...can you see what he's doing online?"



    Sounds like your friend has a job he's doing well at it. Why don't
    you find something else to amuse yourself other than risking his job
    by chatting with him while he's at work?

  9. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Root Kit writes:

    > On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 02:55:51 GMT, Skywise
    > wrote:
    >
    >>comphelp@toddh.net (Todd H.) wrote in
    >>news:84hc9rs3vo@e6g2000prf.googlegroups.com:
    >>
    >>> Personally though, if my employer won't treat me like an adult and
    >>> allow me casual and resonable access to a personal email account
    >>> during the day, I don't wanna work for them.

    >>
    >>Who owns the computer? You? Or your employer?
    >>
    >>If it's not your computer, then you have no right to dictate how
    >>it's to be used.

    >
    > I fully agree, but that's not the point.
    >
    > Todd said "if my employer won't treat me like an adult and allow me
    > casual and reasonable access to a personal email account during the
    > day, I don't wanna work for them"
    >
    > That's a fair statement to make, as long as it is made openly. One
    > doesn't *have to* work for a certain company, and a certain company
    > doesn't *have to* hire him. It takes two to tango.


    Absolutely.

    --
    Todd H.
    http://www.toddh.net/

  10. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Skywise wrote:
    > It's just that I see so much on TV, etc... of people whining when they
    > get in trouble for doing personal stuff on the company computer, as if
    > it was their God given right that was just tread upon.
    >
    > But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    > because they can't have access to their personal email from the work
    > computer?


    Well, it certainly isn't a god-given right, but you keep your employees
    happy (and thus more productive) if you allow them to stray every once
    in a while. Provided they get their work done, that is.

    cu
    59cobalt
    --
    "If a software developer ever believes a rootkit is a necessary part of
    their architecture they should go back and re-architect their solution."
    --Mark Russinovich

  11. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers writes:

    > Skywise wrote:
    >> It's just that I see so much on TV, etc... of people whining when they
    >> get in trouble for doing personal stuff on the company computer, as if
    >> it was their God given right that was just tread upon.


    I agree with this point.

    >> But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    >> because they can't have access to their personal email from the
    >> work computer?

    >
    > Well, it certainly isn't a god-given right, but you keep your employees
    > happy (and thus more productive) if you allow them to stray every once
    > in a while. Provided they get their work done, that is.


    Yup.

    For anyone that's worked in such a draconian environment, a fascist
    policy and technical controls that prohibits an employee accessing
    some personal email during the day tend to be just one symptom of a
    much larger trust problem.

    For many tech workers, it'd be akin to prohibiting a personal cell
    phone on the premises, or having a strict prohibition against the
    taking of any personal calls on the work phone line.

    That's not to say there aren't job roles where such prohibitions are
    required, or tend to attract workers that wouldn't get their **** done
    otherwise. My work, however isn't in such space.

    Best Regards,
    --
    Todd H.
    http://www.toddh.net/

  12. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Mon, 11 Aug 2008 12:35:10 -0700 (PDT), CodeMonkey wrote:

    > So I ask: How likely is it that his IT department is bothering to sit
    > down and piece together his IM threads to find out about us talking
    > about Dr. Who's season finale?


    In Belgium, if the IT department wants to check up on you, they are
    obliged by law (CAO nr. 81) to inform the employee(s) about this
    /before/ they start checking up on him/her/them. Not informing them is
    considered illegal and an invasion of privacy.

    Of course, the IT department is permitted to collect anonymous data. For
    example, they can screen which sort of attachments are being
    sent/received or look at which URLs are being accessed, as long as this
    is done "global" and not on a personal level.

    So, you might want to check what the law in your country says before
    asking such questions in an international newsgroup...

    --
    s|b

  13. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    In article ,
    into@oblivion.nothing.com says...
    > But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    > because they can't have access to their personal email from the
    > work computer?
    >

    We fire people for personal use of company networks, they understand and
    don't use it.

    --
    - Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
    - Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented worker" is like calling a
    drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"
    spam999free@rrohio.com (remove 999 for proper email address)

  14. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    In article <84fxpaz104@e6g2000prf.googlegroups.com>, comphelp@toddh.net
    says...
    > For anyone that's worked in such a draconian environment, a fascist
    > policy and technical controls that prohibits an employee accessing
    > some personal email during the day tend to be just one symptom of a
    > much larger trust problem.


    And for many companies, it's not a trust issue, it's a COST issue. We've
    documented many cases where about 3% of the workers waste real hours per
    day doing "Personal" internet things instead of working.

    You're right about it being a symptom, it's a symptom of how few ethics
    some people have, how people have adopted the mindset that the Company
    OWES THEM A JOB.....

    When you're at work, work.

    --
    - Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
    - Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented worker" is like calling a
    drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"
    spam999free@rrohio.com (remove 999 for proper email address)

  15. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    In article , mak@nospam.com says...
    > Leythos wrote:
    >
    > > We can run a report in seconds that shows User, date, subject, number of
    > > emails per subject, number of emails per day, total emails per period,
    > > in/out direction, who to/from....
    > >

    > out of curiousity, what software are you using for that?


    We use GFI Mail Essentials at most locations, great product for
    monitoring emails. We also log all emails (full contents) for medical
    clients.

    --
    - Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
    - Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented worker" is like calling a
    drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"
    spam999free@rrohio.com (remove 999 for proper email address)

  16. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote in
    news:g7s5k0U4puL1@news.in-ulm.de:

    > Skywise wrote:
    >> It's just that I see so much on TV, etc... of people whining when they
    >> get in trouble for doing personal stuff on the company computer, as if
    >> it was their God given right that was just tread upon.
    >>
    >> But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    >> because they can't have access to their personal email from the work
    >> computer?

    >
    > Well, it certainly isn't a god-given right, but you keep your employees
    > happy (and thus more productive) if you allow them to stray every once
    > in a while. Provided they get their work done, that is.


    Hence it is a privilege, not a right.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying employers should be that
    strict. What I am saying is that employees need to understand
    their place in such a situation.

    Yes, I browse at work. I try to restrict it to my lunch time,
    and try to restrict where I am going. I never do personal chat
    or email of any kind. Typically, it's just catching the news
    or browsing wikipedia or the like.

    I simply respect the trust my employers have in me and I don't
    abuse it.

    Brian
    --
    http://www.skywise711.com - Lasers, Seismology, Astronomy, Skepticism
    Seismic FAQ: http://www.skywise711.com/SeismicFAQ/SeismicFAQ.html
    Quake "predictions": http://www.skywise711.com/quakes/EQDB/index.html
    Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?

  17. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 17:56:00 -0400, Leythos wrote:

    >And for many companies, it's not a trust issue, it's a COST issue. We've
    >documented many cases where about 3% of the workers waste real hours per
    >day doing "Personal" internet things instead of working.


    Did you also take into consideration the possible loss of productivity
    caused by unmotivated workers?

    Not everything that's countable counts and not everything that counts
    is countable.

    >You're right about it being a symptom, it's a symptom of how few ethics
    >some people have, how people have adopted the mindset that the Company
    >OWES THEM A JOB.....


    BS. It's just about the straight line between job and private life
    loosening up.

    Ethics is a subjective matter which changes over time.

    >When you're at work, work.


    Okay. So when at home I accidentally get to think of my job or maybe
    come to think of a good idea that's job related I can claim an extra
    pay for that or take a day off.

  18. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 22:31:55 GMT, Skywise
    wrote:

    >I simply respect the trust my employers have in me and I don't
    >abuse it.


    A good rule of thumb is: Don't do anything you wouldn't want your boss
    to know about.

  19. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 17:56:00 -0400, Leythos wrote:

    >And for many companies, it's not a trust issue, it's a COST issue. We've
    >documented many cases where about 3% of the workers waste real hours per
    >day doing "Personal" internet things instead of working.


    In many companies real hours are "lost" from smokers going to the
    smoking area for a break. It's a cost / benefit issue.

  20. Re: Likelihood of IT using a Packet Sniffer

    Skywise wrote:
    > Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote:
    >> Skywise wrote:
    >>> It's just that I see so much on TV, etc... of people whining when
    >>> they get in trouble for doing personal stuff on the company
    >>> computer, as if it was their God given right that was just tread
    >>> upon.
    >>>
    >>> But I have to wonder, would a person not take or quit a job just
    >>> because they can't have access to their personal email from the work
    >>> computer?

    >>
    >> Well, it certainly isn't a god-given right, but you keep your
    >> employees happy (and thus more productive) if you allow them to stray
    >> every once in a while. Provided they get their work done, that is.

    >
    > Hence it is a privilege, not a right.


    If you carefully re-read my post, you'll notice that I didn't say it was
    a right.

    cu
    59cobalt
    --
    "If a software developer ever believes a rootkit is a necessary part of
    their architecture they should go back and re-architect their solution."
    --Mark Russinovich

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