A recent New York Times article titled “How Your Boss Can Use Your Remote-Work Tools to Spy on You” has led some people to worry that Splashtop can be used as a tool for managers to spy on their employees. This is not the case. The Q&A below explains and gives tips on how to keep your computers safe and protect your privacy.
Questions & Answers
Can Splashtop be used to spy on remote workers?
No. Splashtop is a remote access tool that enables remote workers to access and control their office computers.
Could someone use Splashtop to remote into my computer while I’m using it to spy on me?
When a remote session is established, a large notification will pop up letting the user know that the computer is being remotely access. So, if you are using a computer and someone else remotes into it, you will see a pop up letting you know. Many other remote control solutions do not have this security feature.
Keep in mind that the only way someone could access your work computer is if 1) they have a user account within your organization’s Splashtop account, and 2) the account administrator set their access permission to be able to access your computer.
If I’m remotely accessing a work computer, could someone in the office see what I’m doing?
You can prevent others from seeing what you’re doing by enabling the Blank Screen feature. This will “blank” the screen of the remote computer while you’re accessing and controlling it so people physically in front of the workstation are unable to watch you work.
Splashtop users are able to toggle the blank screen on/off while in a remote session, as well as the lock remote computer’s keyword and mouse to prevent tampering while you’re working on the computer.
Does Splashtop monitor my web traffic?
No, Splashtop does not monitor your web traffic while remotely accessing a work computer.
However, if the remote computer is on your company’s network while you’re remotely accessing it to browse the internet, your company can still monitor your internet activity as if you were using the office computer in person. Companies would need to do this with a separate tool as Splashtop does not provide any web monitoring tools.
What if my company is already using monitoring software on my work computer?
The article notes that when you use remote access software such as Splashtop, “everything you do within the window of that application happens on the computer in your office. This means the IT department or company managers also have the same sort of computer access they have at a physical office”. If your company has installed software on your work computer such as ActivTrak or SentryPC to track the web pages you visit, software you install, or other activity, then that tracking on your work computer will happen regardless of whether you are sitting in front of it in the office or remoting into it from home.
What are some best practices Splashtop users can follow to prevent from being spied on?
Here are some tips you can follow to protect your privacy while working remotely:
- Ensure Blank Screen is enabled
- Enable the lock keyboard and mouse features to prevent tampering by others during a session
- Verify that only you and/or others with clearance have permission to remotely access your computers. Check with your Splashtop account administrators to ensure that access permissions for all computers are updated.
- Set secondary authentication options, such as device authentication and two-factor verification to prevent unauthorized users from remoting into your computers under your account.
- Remember that if you’re remotely controlling your office computer, any software your company uses to track your activity on your office computer can still be used, just as if you were using the work computer in-person.