Is your workplace tracking your computer activities?

By: Kevin Bonsor

Log Files

Your computer is full of log files that provide evidence of what you've been doing. Through these log files, a system administrator can determine what Web sites you've accessed, whom you are sending e-mails to and receiving e-mails from and what applications are being used. So, if you are downloading MP3 files, there's more than likely a log file that holds data about that activity.

In many cases, this information can be located even after you've deleted what you thought was all the evidence -- but deleting an e-mail, or a file, doesn't erase the trail. Here are a few places where log files can be found:


  • Operating systems
  • Web browsers (in the form of a cache)
  • Applications (in the form of backups)
  • E-mail

If the hard drives of an employee's computer and a system administrator's computer are connected, a system administrator can view the log files remotely. The administrator has to have access to the drive to check files remotely. Otherwise, a system administrator can check the computer before an employee comes in or after the employee leaves for the day.

You might be surprised at how many companies are monitoring employee activities. In the next section, you'll find out just how widespread this practice is.