How Can I Tell Who Is Monitoring My Internet Activity?

By Herman Cruz

Monitoring Internet activity is a common practice at workplaces, governmental facilities, educational institutions and even at homes. This usual procedure helps promote productivity by keeping people from becoming distracted online and visiting inappropriate or potentially harmful websites. To monitor your browsing activities network administrators use Internet monitoring platforms that trace and record all the sites you visit through the network being monitored. If you feel that your Internet activity is being monitored improperly, there are two approaches you can take to tell how and who is monitoring you.

Task Manager Approach

Step 1

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and Esc" on your computer keyboard to launch the Task Manager dialog box.

Step 2

Click the "Processes" tab.

Step 3

Scroll through and examine the list of processes displayed beneath the User Name section to ensure that all processes are operating under your computer's name. If you find a process that has a different name, then you are being monitored by an external system.

Run Command Approach

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" menu and right-click the "Computer" option. Select "Properties" and look beside where it says "Computer name" to learn your computer's name. Bypass this step if you already know you computer's name.

Step 2

Click "Start," enter "run" in the Search area hit "Enter" on your keyboard. Type "cmd" on the Run dialog box and click "OK."

Step 3

Type "netstat" beside the command prompt and press the "Enter." Examine the results by scrolling through every result displayed on the Local Address column. Each result needs to have your computer name. If you find other computer names, continue to identify if it is monitoring software.

Step 4

Click "Start," type "run" in the Search field and press "Enter."

Step 5

Type "msconfig" in the text field displayed on the Run window and click "OK." The configuration utility will pop-up.

Step 6

Examine the list of programs displayed under the Services and Startup areas. Click on each tab individually to examine the programs displayed therein. Click on each program listed in the Services or Startup tabs individually to find the name of the program's manufacturer and get a brief description of its services. Scrutinize every program you find suspicious. Use your Web browser to find information about a program you don't recognize. If someone is monitoring you, the monitoring program will be displayed there.

Tips & Warnings

  • Asking your IT department directly is a good way to find out if you Internet traffic is monitored.
  • Don't attempt to disable or uninstall a monitoring program being used at your place of work or educational institution or you may be reprimanded, suspended or fired depending on the specific regulations.
  • If you find that you are being monitored by spyware, you'll need to use a spyware removal tool to remove the software monitoring you. You can use free tools such as Spyware Terminator.
  • Use an Anti-Virus program to scan your computer regularly for spyware programs. If you don't have an Anti-Virus program, AVG free edition is a viable way to protect you operating system.