Posted by Brian McCullough
I’m definitely in a hardly working mode today. Since I’m sitting around waiting for the live broadcast from MacWorld, I’m in a time wasting/tech state of mind. (At least I don’t have to liveblog Steve-o’s address like the poor souls at Gizmodo)
I started looking for resources to help you browse at work without your boss finding out what you’re up to. As you probably know, 3 out of 4 companies use various software programs to monitor their employees’ online activity.
The bottom line to what I’ve discovered is that the person you most want to kiss up to in your office is your IT dude. You can basically do anything you want and get away with it as long as you have occasional use of the Sys Admin password, or else can bribe your network administrator to let you install certain things for you.
First thing you’ll want to do is configure your browser to not track your web usage. This is done fairly easily. (Options in Firefox; Internet Options in IE. Look for the security settings.) And remember to go in and delete your cache occasionally.
Next, I’d recommend using Firefox exclusively so that you utilize an array of privacy plugins.
Finally, grok this list of downloadable programs from Wired:
»Cover your clacks
If you suspect the man is logging your every keystroke, install Spyware Doctor 3.8 (www.pctools.com). It’ll expose Any program running silently in the background while you work. (Note: you may need an admin password to install the app. If your IT department refuses to help, try bribing them with a spool of blank DVDs.)
Prevent your boss from tracking your daily URL crawl with a Web-based program like The Cloak (www.the-cloak.com), which masks the addresses of sites you visit by redirecting your browsing through its domain.
»Change up your email
Don’t use your work email for anything other than, well, work. If you want to send private messages over your employer’s servers, set up an encrypted email account with a provider like Hushmail (www.hushmail.com).
»IM on the DL
With an admin password, you can download an encrypted service like PSST (psst.sourceforge.net) or a program like Encrypted Messenger (www.johnytech.com), which encodes most IM clients. The quick and dirty way: open an AOL IM account and use the Web-based chat service (aimexpress.aol.com). With all the Web activity at work, the chance that anyone will notice your texting is small.
»Get peace of mind
Still spooked? check out the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s guide to cloaking tools: www.epic.org/privacy/tools.html.
Of course, I don’t condone using the above tools to do evil. And you shouldn’t do anything that’s against your company’s policies. Data security is a big deal these days and you can get fired or worse if you cause a breach. Fair warning: doing bad things and getting fired is on you.