Internet monitoring software is software that enables a parent or observer to keep tabs on another user’s Internet behavior. In many cases, parents use Internet monitoring software to view, record and control the Internet behavior of their children. Internet monitoring software records websites the child visits on the target computer, as well as other Internet-based activities, such as Instant Messaging, sending and receiving email and accessing multimedia, such as YouTube.
Internet monitoring software has been in existence for quite some time. In the mid-1990s, applications began to emerge that were marketed to parents to help them limit their children’s access to questionable content. Early versions of monitoring software were not nearly as sophisticated and complete as the monitoring software available today.
Modern Internet Monitoring Software
Today’s Internet monitoring software may be very complex and sophisticated. For example, several Internet monitoring applications allow the parent to view the monitored computer screen in real time. The parent is able to view the child’s Internet behavior just as if they were watching the behavior on a TV screen. Other programs will take screenshots based on keywords entered into search engines. Other programs will take timed automatic screenshots of active windows.
All Internet monitoring software records online behavior in some way. Some applications use keyloggers. A keylogger is a program that records every single keystroke that occurs on the target computer. Other Internet monitoring programs will record everything from search terms to visited websites to Instant Messenger chats. Depending on the monitoring application, the program may be installed and managed remotely in many cases.
Stealth Internet monitoring applications will run undetected on the target computer so that the user of the monitored computer is not aware of the monitoring. Some monitoring programs allow parents to initiate actions on the target computer, such as logging off the current user or rebooting the machine. Some monitoring programs allow the parent to send messages to the child user, warning them that their online behavior is being monitored.
Are You Being Monitored?
Most Internet monitoring software is configurable so the parent is able to enter keywords, URLs and specifications according the age of the child. Most Internet monitoring programs allow parents to create profiles for multiple child users.
Though most Internet monitoring programs are marketed for parents to use to monitor and control their children’s online activity, these programs may also be used to spy on other users. Though most monitoring programs strongly advise against using their applications for malicious purposes, clearly the options are open for using such a program to catch a cheating spouse or for employers using the software to monitor the online behavior of employees. In most cases, however, employees are notified that their online behavior may be monitored, so the use of Internet monitoring software in the workplace should not come as any surprise.
Internet monitoring software is generally not expensive as most popular packages are priced under $100. Some monitoring software may be installed by disguising the installation program as an email attachment or associating the installation module with another program.
In any case, Internet monitoring software is widely used by parents and others to monitor the online behavior of users. Keep this in mind if you are one who tends to access Facebook on a work computer, or if you are doing anything illicit or sneaky. Internet monitoring software may be installed remotely, or by stealth means. Your own computer may even be monitored without ever triggering anti-malware applications, such as Norton Anti-Virus. In addition, many stealth monitoring programs are not even detected by the Windows Task Manager. Your online behavior may be monitored with Internet monitoring software!
Internet Monitoring Software for Mobile Devices
Internet monitoring software may also be installed to smartphones and mobile devices. Though a relatively new technology, monitoring programs are available for iPhones, Android-based devices, BlackBerries, iPads and other smart mobile devices. Many such programs run completely undetected by the monitored user.
WebWatcher Mobile is one application that enables remote monitoring of Internet usage and other behaviors on smartphones and mobile devices.