Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hotmail: Not Safe For Work?

CmdrTaco posted about 12 years ago | from the no-shocker-there dept.

Security 583

silentknight writes "According to MSNBC, web-based e-mail providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail may not be a haven for your private e-mail anymore. At least not while you're at work. SpectorSoft is introducing eBlaster, which aims to "secretly forward all e-mail coming and going through such Web-based accounts to a spy's e-mail". Corporations will most likely argue that, because of sites like Internal Memos, companies need to keep a tighter grip on the information that flows in and out of their companies. But attempting to spying on private e-mail?? In the words of Homer J. Simpson: "Butt out, Buttinsky"."

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Frosty! (-1, Troll)

Salad Shooter (600065) | about 12 years ago | (#4162824)

Lick my buttocks.

Ooh, goody... (0, Troll)

gleffler (540281) | about 12 years ago | (#4162837)

Yet another example of how we owe our lives and our souls (and our personal e-mails) to The Man(tm) while working on his clock. I agree that you're at work to work, but I feel that this is intruding just a bit too much for my comfort.


Re:Ooh, goody... (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | about 12 years ago | (#4162965)

Yet, when a doctor, or lawyer, or any other professional service performs "hours" (I put it in quote because everyone knows that they generally grossly overstate their hours), I don't have the right to monitor their PC during the hours that they are working for me. I find it an interesting paradox that so many people will proclaim the "Yeah, well if you're doing the hours for them!" when so many other examples show that to not be how it works.

If an employee isn't pulling their weight, warn them and then fire them. It's as simple as that. I understand corporations getting a little annoyed by weenies forwarding internal emails (which is reprehensible and they should be punished), but most justifications are for pathetic, over the shoulder monitoring.

Re:Ooh, goody... (4, Insightful)

Latent IT (121513) | about 12 years ago | (#4162989)

You're leaving out one major point -

When we (meaning the IT department at my company) monitors what users are doing, either on the internet, or anything else, they're not just doing it on company time...

They're doing it with company computers.

Re:Ooh, goody... (1)

gleffler (540281) | about 12 years ago | (#4163009)

If an employee isn't pulling their weight, warn them and then fire them. It's as simple as that.

I agree - there are people who can do two things at once.


Re:Ooh, goody... (2)

uncoveror (570620) | about 12 years ago | (#4163037)

The Spyware VS. Privacyware battle continues. I wonder if Pest Patrol [] will be able to tip us off that this crap is running, or even better, take it off our systems. I guess thespyware VS privacyware battle will continue to rage until both seem pointless.

Re:Ooh, goody... (1, Offtopic)

macdaddy357 (582412) | about 12 years ago | (#4163095)

Yes, bonded slavery has been replaced by wage slavery. Greedy businessmen think they own us. They would pay us nothing, and have taskmasters whipping us if they had their way. It is time organized labor got off its fat ass and protected the rights of all workers, not just dues paying members of their union. It seems that established unions have become just another business, and are no longer run by people who work in the industries they allegedly serve, or a lot more of us would join a union.

Lift and Smootch! (-1)

cut-N-paste Troll (584533) | about 12 years ago | (#4162843)

Lick my buttocks..

eBlaster (4, Funny)

tuxedo-steve (33545) | about 12 years ago | (#4162844)

That eBlaster software seems like a totally excellent way to increase the amount of spam you receive in your inbox per day.

Thanks,! You've made my week!

To be honest (5, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4162845)

The time you spend at work, you ought to be working, not sending personal email, making personal calls, or anything besides work-related stuff.

Now this becomes a little tough because we aren't automatons and have lives outside of work that need tending to. However, to expect that what you do within the walls of your company is private is laughable.

Just assume that everything you do there is under surveillance. Heck, all your thoughts are already belong to them.

Re:To be honest (5, Insightful)

nagarjun (249852) | about 12 years ago | (#4162874)

However, to expect that what you do within the walls of your company is private is laughable.

That's highly culture specific. For example, most Asian companies usually do not insist that *whatever* you do on company time is teh company's. Heck, I did not even sign a contract to that effect.

Re:To be honest (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162904)

>>> The time you spend at work, you ought to be working...

... and you shouldn't be thinking about what you will be doing for the weekend, and you shouldn't read a newspaper during your lunch hour, and you shouldn't have personal thoughts while sitting in the chair that the company provided for you. Yup, nothing personal is allowed while you are "on the clock".

These types of solutions are needed by companies who make work so much like work for their employees. Instead those companies should foster an environment where the employees want to contribute, and not have to be forced to contribute.

Re:To be honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162946)

and you shouldnt spend that time talking to friends - instead you should stand outside smoking for 15 mins every hour or two.
you should ignore your statutory 15 mins break every hour or so (depending on what country you`re in) too.

Re:To be honest (2, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4162948)

companies should foster an environment where the employees want to contribute, and not have to be forced to contribute.

Is it worth it? []

After all, you've already got them by the balls. You don't have to put up with low productivity.

Re:To be honest (2, Funny)

yatest5 (455123) | about 12 years ago | (#4162924)

Just assume that everything you do there is under surveillance

I really feel sorry for whoever has the videos of me cracking one off in the toilets then...;-)

Re:To be honest (2, Funny)

Schik (576085) | about 12 years ago | (#4162955)

Well, you shouldn't be "cracking one off", you should be working. To compensate for your slacking off, your company will take ownership of any an all "output" you create while on the toilet.

Re:To be honest (5, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 12 years ago | (#4162954)

The time you spend at work, you ought to be working, not sending personal email, making personal calls, or anything besides work-related stuff.

Which is fine until you point out that the flip side of this is that you'll only work your contracted hours and never think about work outside of work hours.

If a company is going to totally restrict what you do during work hours then they shouldn't expect any favours back - especially when a better job comes along as you'll be the first out of the door.

It works both ways, they make your working conditions pleasant and you reward them with loyalty.

Re:To be honest heil to reichfuhrer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162961)

microsoft is coming its the boots of the nzai machine the boots they are coming all seig heil the fuhrers, steve fat slobs and ballmer the fat fuhrer and uber fuhrer fuck bill gates if the fucking communist fag liberal assholes hadnt taken away my gnus i might be able to shot the fucking fascist scum but no, you had to pretndo in your volvo with your little dog and white picket fence its ugly and now you will all be seeing the swatstika and the DEATH of us and the records will be kept of our deaths in a MSFT database SQL server and fuck fuck.
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijtiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijDMMQtiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicXMMMMMMQjiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicSMMMMMMMMHJiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiSWMMMMMMMHJiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiii6WMMMMMMMNYiiiiiiiiJciiii iiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiii5WMMMMMMMN5iiiiiiiiJHMMSc iiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiii5NMMMMMMMW5iiiiiiiiJHMMMM MWSiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiicXMMMMMMMMNYiiiiiitKMMMM MMMMMW6iiiiiiiii
iiiiiii5WMMMMMMMMM MMMMN5ii5NMMMMMMMMSciiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiii6WMMMMM MMMMW5iiiiii6WMMMMMMMWSiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiSWM MMMMW6iiiiiiiitKMMMMMMMMXciiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiii cSMMWSiiiiiiiitQMMMMMMMMDjiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiii iiiic6ciiiiiiijQMMMMMMMMQjiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiijDMMMMMMMMQtiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiicXMMMMMMMMKtiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijQMMMMMMHJiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
ii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitKMMHJiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitYiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ii

Re:To be honest (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | about 12 years ago | (#4163044)

The time you spend at work, you ought to be working, not sending personal email, making personal calls, or anything besides work-related stuff.

Stuff that nonsense. This is exactly the kind of crappy mentality that made me become self-employed.

If my employer feels the need to treat me like a child, then I'll go work for someone else (which is what I have done, now I work for me). Stand up for yourselves people -- don't let your employers treat you like children! It's your

Re:To be honest (0)

Library Spoff (582122) | about 12 years ago | (#4163086)

yes it is your life - but it's *their* company. If you don't like their rules you can be sure they can find someone else to fill your sandals.

what about smoking crack on company time ? would u agree with that ? what's that?, it would slow down productivity ? you dont say...

every lunchtime our corporate network slows right down due to people checking email and you can't get a thing done. (like trying to read /.)

I agree it is an infringement on your liberties - but at the end of the day people take the piss.

I know I do and i'm not that bad...

I normally agree (1, Insightful)

ACNeal (595975) | about 12 years ago | (#4163046)

But the whole idea of salaried employees blur this. If I am a salaried employee, my private time and work time start to become blurred. I am expected to work at home at times, and so I should be able to do private things while at the office.

An hourly employee is being paid for everything they do at the company, and that time does explicitly belong to the employer.

A salaried employee gets paid for the work they do, more than their specific time at the office.


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163062)


ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4163070)

Especially those thoughts. Are you thinking them now, you bad monkey?

blocked at work (5, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4162846)

In the large company where I work, all access to Hotmail, Yahoo, etc is blocked at the firewall. This is because too many lusers kept downloading klez, hybris, (random vbs trojan), etc and executing them.

After this was done, all virus problems on the network dropped from one incident per 2 weeks to maybe 1 incident per 4 months.

As to the privacy issue, the easy solution is to NOT SEND PRIVATE E-MAIL FROM WORK (or at least use GnuPG or PGP!)

Re:blocked at work (3, Funny)

Zathrus (232140) | about 12 years ago | (#4162939)

Sigh... freaking morons.

The previous company I worked at did this as well. Pissed the hell out of me, since I could no longer get to my email and I prefer to not give out my work email out over the net to avoid the spam.

The really idiotic think is that they blocked sites like Sneakemail [] too, which is just a redirector service.

I can understand the need to block webmail sites, since there are too many idiots out there, but at least be intelligent about what gets blocked.

Re:blocked at work (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4163032)

"The previous company I worked at did this [block webmail] as well. Pissed the hell out of me, since I could no longer get to my email and I prefer to not give out my work email out over the net to avoid the spam. The really idiotic think is that they blocked sites like Sneakemail [] too, which is just a redirector service."

Yes, blocking sneakemail is just anal. The setup here doen't bother me too much because I use an obscure free webmail provider (20MB, IMAP4!!) that I will not name when posting from the office. Fortunately they only block the big webmail providers that most lusers use plus the instant messengers.

Re:blocked at work (1)

Fapestniegd (34586) | about 12 years ago | (#4162957)

It's a Ketstroke logger that then forwards them on.

How is any form of encryption going to work? You're not the only one to suggest this countermeasure, You were just the first.

It seems the best solution for this would be to see if it running on your machine, and if it is, hook up an alternate input device. From the looks of the product It probably doesn't log voice input (i.e Dragon or ViaVoice) Not that these are robust enough for real work, but they might be for personal email.

Re:blocked at work (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4163054)

"It's a Ketstroke logger that then forwards them on. How is any form of encryption going to work?"

The keylogger probably detects that hotmail is open and then monitors keystrokes to the web browser. Now this suggestion is security by obscurity, but it's better than nothing. You could just type your e-mail in word and then encrpyt and then paste into hotmail. They keylogger probably won't log Word-created documents as e-mail.

Re:blocked at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162972)

Bah, forget it. I'm not feeding a box I don't trust a disk with my private key on it, much less even type out my passphrase on that machine. (Keystroke logging, remember?)

Re:blocked at work (2, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4163084)

"Bah, forget it. I'm not feeding a box I don't trust a disk with my private key on it, much less even type out my passphrase on that machine."

You are encrypting to send to someone else. No private key is required. If you really need one, generate a new key for work purposes.

Re:blocked at work (1)

martyn s (444964) | about 12 years ago | (#4162987)

What about keystroke loggers? I doubt PGP or any other software encryption will get around that.

farewell, slashdot, I knew ye well (2)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | about 12 years ago | (#4162848)

With eBlaster, managers can find out if "the mice play while you're away".

I'm sure I won't be missed...

Targeting Parents (1)

Bloodmoon1 (604793) | about 12 years ago | (#4163002)

On Spectors' web site for this, they seem to mostly be targeting parents. Taken from their site: "As a parent, you no longer have to wait until you get home from work to find out what your children have been doing on the Internet. If you have to be away for business, you don't have to wait days or weeks to see what your children have been doing online. You can now find out from anywhere in the world!" Good to see parents now not only not spending time with their children, but now also spying on them. Plus I'm sure they're trying to play of the paranoia that seems to be striking most parents in the "wave" of recent abductions that are actually fewer than last year, but that's another topic.

Just Use Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162849)

It doesn't have a functional web browser, so you can't even use web based email to begin with. Security through lack of functionality.

l33t j03

Re:Just Use Linux (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 12 years ago | (#4162926)

Doesn't have a functional web browser? What do you call Mozilla? Galleon? Konquest? Netscape?
Opera? The only browser it doesn't run is IE (you call that functional?) and there are some reports of IE running on Linux under wine!

BTW I did set up a Linux box running Debian at one place I worked. The machine was made out of parts salvaged from several junked computers so it cost the company nothing. My excuse was I wanted to evaluate Linux as a platform for a future internal project.

It took a little while to figure out how to set up proxies so I could reach the internet over the company network (MS friendly firewall) but it worked fine. I doubt that any spy ware intended for windows machines would work on Linux (and I could have just set up an internal firewall to try and lock any out).

One word : (5, Informative)

M1000 (21853) | about 12 years ago | (#4162855)

Won't work. (2)

FreeLinux (555387) | about 12 years ago | (#4163011)

eBlocker, like so many other key logger programs, intercepts the email, web sites, etc before it reaches the network. So hushmail won't help.

Two Words (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163029)

CIA Operated.

Re:One word : (2)

walt-sjc (145127) | about 12 years ago | (#4163057)

Won't help you if you are using IE due to this flaw [] since you can spoof hotmail or any other SSL based site and noone will be the wiser. It allows for a trivial "Man in the middle" attack. Some nice security guys on BugTraq providede a nice tool for spying on all SSL sessions. Note that Microsoft doesn't seem to even care to fix this flaw that basically makes SSL useless as a privacy tool.


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163088)


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162857) [] []

it's their world... (1)

Ransak (548582) | about 12 years ago | (#4162859)

If you use a company PC and bandwidth, you play by their rules. Sad, but true.

Re:it's their world... (2)

SirSlud (67381) | about 12 years ago | (#4162919)

Hrm. Well the company doesn't go anywhere without my body and my mind. Does that mean I get to dictate the terms of use of these two things?

No. Remember you're the one who says because its their PC and their bandwidth (which they can only afford by virtue of the work I do for them, so really, they are mine) that it goes by they're rules. And who's they? Oh yeah, us.

I think you'll have to support your point a little more. There isn't any reason why your point is intrinsically true, especially given that the PC and bandwidth can only be purchased because of the work I do. I'm not going to roll over just because some people mistakeningly equates the ownership of property with absolute power of their use, and doubly so in a corperate envioronment where the equippment has only been purchased because of the employees.

Re:it's their world... (0)

andrew_0812 (592089) | about 12 years ago | (#4163045)

What you say is basically true. The company can only afford their assets because of the work of the employees.

But it is still the company's assets, not yours. I know that some companies are employee owned, and that you may have stock options or whatever, but the assets still belong to the company, which is controlled by whatever leading body your company may have, President, Board, Dictator, whatever. Yes, the work that you do gives them a product/service to sell so that they can afford to buy computers and internet services, but if you don't abide by company policy regarding these issues, or other ones, then they will let you go, and find someone else that will. Then you are no longer putting money in their pocket. Now if you are so indespensible that they can't get rid of you, then more power to you. Email all you want. But for the rest of us, it comes down to one simple point, The company is paying you for your work. This does not include lunch, going to the bathroom, or sending email. Luckily, most companies understand that people aren't machines, and they have to have time to go to the bathroom, take mental breaks, and interact with each other on non-work topics. It all depends on your company. I work for a company that doesn't mind personal email, telephone calls, or internet surfing, as long as you don't do it too much. If you have to send personal email from work, I suggest you make sure that you work for a company that allows that.

Ok -- (1)

Hayzeus (596826) | about 12 years ago | (#4162862)

That kind of sucks. I've been putting this off, I guess, but does anybody know of a good web-based email client that runs with apache on linux (that doesn't require php)and that I install with minimum effort?

Re:Ok -- (1)

thegodshatetexas (314257) | about 12 years ago | (#4162867)

Instant Web Mail... Easiest webmail client I have ever installed

Re:Ok -- (1)

guacamolefoo (577448) | about 12 years ago | (#4162921)

Very, very fast. No goofy features, just send, receive, compose.

More pimpified:


Re:Ok -- (2)

flonker (526111) | about 12 years ago | (#4162892)

This isn't a direct answer to your question, but if you want to be secure in your email, you should be using HTTPS, (or some other secure protocol).

BOFHs everywhere have been doing this for ages using proxy servers and/or ethernet sniffers. POP3, SMTP, IMAP and all those aren't safe either.

Re:Ok -- (2)

Phroggy (441) | about 12 years ago | (#4162988)

This isn't a direct answer to your question, but if you want to be secure in your email, you should be using HTTPS, (or some other secure protocol).

If you're using Apache, just set up mod_ssl, and your webmail package shouldn't care if the connection is encrypted or not. The Web server handles that.

Re:Ok -- (1)

Lafe (595258) | about 12 years ago | (#4163020)

I recommend SquirrelMail [] . I use it myself, and am quite happy with it.

Make all changes retroactive, technology-wise (4, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | about 12 years ago | (#4162863)

The best way to make people rise up against this is simply to encourage employers to try to apply the goals and reasoning of software like this against traditional communication services.

How many people you think would be cool with their employer listening in on their personal phone calls, and opening all their personal mail that gets sent to the office?

Apply it to everything, and people will understand that this is an encroachment on what we currently have, not a reasonable measure for dealing with a newish technology.

Re:Make all changes retroactive, technology-wise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163058)

Most already do.

Why are you getting personal mail sent to the company?

Re:Make all changes retroactive, technology-wise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163072)

And we get to hear the executive-level employees of the company..?
How about if I'm a shareholder? Can I hear it then?


Love me two times, biatches! (-1)

Grape Smuggler (569838) | about 12 years ago | (#4162864)

Lick my buttocks...

this can be monitored already (3, Informative)

prisen (578061) | about 12 years ago | (#4162878)

Not really anything new here; "The Man" can see what I'm doing right now, where I'm going, whether or not I'm logged in to a site (including my username and password), how long I've been on a certain page, etc etc etc - And he doesn't need a kiddie script to do it. That's just part of working for the DoD or any other institution that has full monitoring instilled in their computer use policy, I guess.

Hotmail Not Safe For Work? (1, Funny)

haukex (229058) | about 12 years ago | (#4162879)

What, really? Oh no! Someone should've told me earlier!

Our only hope is (4, Interesting)

Dirk Pitt (90561) | about 12 years ago | (#4162886)

that the market will take care of these privacy invasions, and people just won't work for companies that get a rep for doing BS like this.

I mean, legally, I have to side with the companies. Their machines, their time, their liability. The can do what they want. does suck, and I'd hate to work for anyone that would think they needed to read my private mail. My only hope is that more and more people will leave companies that do that to work for smaller companies, or start their own, and that these smaller companies will begin to resist the temptation of corporate assimilation. I see it beginning to happen now, there are some fairly large, privately held consulting companies that foster a great atmosphere for their people. The more I see big companies doing things like this, the more hope I have that this renaissance of the small business will grow.

VPN (1)

Admiral Lazzurs (96382) | about 12 years ago | (#4162890)

This is why VPN was created so we can all VPN into home and use that connecting to get to hotmail.

Heh (4, Insightful)

zapfie (560589) | about 12 years ago | (#4162891)

Their computers.

Their network.

Their time.

Their money.

'nuff said.

Re:Heh (5, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 12 years ago | (#4162929)

OK, then the following changes will take place:

1. Pay for all my work clothes.

2. Pay for my fuel expenses going to work.

3. Pay me for all the unpaid overtime spent in the office *and at home*.

4. Pay me rent for using my home as temporary office space (see item 3).

5. Pay my cable modem/DSL bill for VPN'ing over the weekends.

Re:Heh (5, Insightful)

Dan Crash (22904) | about 12 years ago | (#4162932)

Their toilets.

Still think you don't deserve any privacy?

Re:Heh (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | about 12 years ago | (#4163052)

As long as you don't expect to have the right to use it when you want:

Think Jim Beam []


Re:Heh (2)

SirSlud (67381) | about 12 years ago | (#4162975)

Funny, I'd like to see how they (and what you really mean is us) can afford computers without my work? Its ironic, because I thought one of the tenants of capitalism was that by investing my work and effort into something (the company in this case) I can claim instrinsic ownership of the fruits of that labour, which would seem to include a partial ownership of the tools we use to achieve our goals (doubly and doublessly more legally so if you own stock in your company, right?)

This isn't a war, with a whiteline in the middle with an us and a they. We are us, and its sheep thinking such as yours, devoid of any true analysis of the reality of the situation that does us a disservice and simply ensures apathy reigns supreme.

For that matter, can I bring in my own computer to work? Should they get to spy on that? Consider what you say carefully, because you sound like you're simply regurgitating a way of thinking that doesn't have to be a part of our lives if we dont want it to be.

the system (5, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | about 12 years ago | (#4163012)

So it's feudalism at work; democracy on your own time.

Your words could apply just as well to someone justifying plutocracy as the logical system of government for a nation -- the wealthy landowners get to make the decisions, because they literally own the country. Somehow, in these modern times, we've decided that that's just not acceptable anymore. Why do we still put up with it at work?

They're welcome... (5, Funny)

Zathrus (232140) | about 12 years ago | (#4162893)

... to read each and every one of the 300+ spam emails I get daily to my Hotmail account.

yes, they can do whatever they want (2, Insightful)

blastedtokyo (540215) | about 12 years ago | (#4162894)

The company owns the bandwidth, PCs, internet gateways, etc. etc. If the company doesn't trust or can't trust (because of legal liabilities) their own employees, then some IT fool will buy this thing.

Of course this article is quite irrelevant for slashdotters. We should have our certificates, machines we can VNC to, encrypting proxy servers, etc.

But, ironically, it'll probably be the arrival of widespread wireless (be it 3G, a mesh network of 802.11, etc.) that provides a little privacy. Imagine, if you want to send a private email, just change your Wireless connection to be your public ISP-type network, send your mail, and voila. You use your ISP's network instead of the corporate one. Both parties are happier.

Private e-mail ? (2)

stevenbee (227371) | about 12 years ago | (#4162900)

The computer i use at work is the property of my employer, provided for work-related purposes only...
Likewise, the bandwidth I use is restricted to those activities necessary for me to carry out my duties.
I have specifically agreed to limit my use of thecomputer and network in this manner as a term of my
continued employment. Why would I expect any kind of privacy in this case?

Interested to know what people think about this.

Solution? (5, Interesting)

f00Dave (251755) | about 12 years ago | (#4162903)

Use ssh or WinVNC (like I do) or somesuch to remotely access your home system, and run your personal stuff THERE. At work, the only non work-related software I run is WinAMP, WinVNC client and a web client. At home, I run an email client, IRC, ICQ, Kazaa, etcetera....

So long as the employer doesn't mind you connecting to your home machine (and you can encrypt that connection, somehow), then what you do with it is your own business.

Of course, you can still paste memos over VNC/ssh, so this just defers the problem somewhat. ;-)

For parents? (1)

BlackMesaResearchFac (593320) | about 12 years ago | (#4162913)

Fowler said the software would be useful for parents who want to watch their children's e-mail activity in the early afternoon hours, when children are home from school but parents are still at work.

Yeah just what kids need, their parents reading their e-mail. As if they didn't have enough to deal with.

Sure, in some cases this could actually be an asset (as in if you're afraid your kid is going to run off with some 40 year old child molester) but otherwise parents should let it be.

Besides, if they really knew their kids they'd be able to guess their password ;D

Not Neccesary. (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | about 12 years ago | (#4162914)

This really isn't neccesary when you can get programs such as keygrabber for windows, and if somebody's sneaking around on linux, they're either easy to track, or they're too good.

Just don't abuse it (0)

rczyzewski (585306) | about 12 years ago | (#4162915)

We really don't have the time or energy to look at every users web usage. However, we do make sure we have the tools to prove abuse if we need to get into a legal issue. Supervisors and coworkers can pretty much tell if you are abusing your company's Internet resources. I think many users don't realize what the IS dept. is able to track on them. Just like with every moral, ethical, and legal issue: if you feel guilty doing it, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

Bad management... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162922)

If employees are spending that much undo time at personal email at work, I think this speaks far more about the poor quality of the managers and the low morale of the company itself, than of problems of the employees. As such, it might even be useful to have a tool to determine if managers should go based on the rise or fall of such email traffic :).

Far more often than having your boss actually read your personal email every day, companies snoop to archive this sort of information so that if they need to they can review and use it later. This possibility for abuse in this regard is endless.

Great. (2)

infinite9 (319274) | about 12 years ago | (#4162933)

My present client simply blocks all web based mail sites at the firewall. So I just send whatever I want through their corporate email system. Even mail relating to my other clients or negotiations for other contracts. If I really need security, I'll use encryption or simply give them a call. If they don't like what they'r reading or how I'm using their email system, they can either provide me with access to my yahoo email account or bite me.

It's just like my house. Anyone can look through my windows. But I can't be responsible if they're horrified by what they see. :-)

Re:Great. (1)

nochops (522181) | about 12 years ago | (#4162960)

No, you can't be responsible.

The point is they can be responsible if they look through your windows and see you murder someone and they fail to call the police.

Competition (1)

alsta (9424) | about 12 years ago | (#4162938)

All this does is add competition to already available solutions for spying on employees. Such as hardware filters for keyboards or perhaps firewalls that log this kind of activity.

What I would like to know is what kinds of companies perform this kind of spying on their employees. I'd like to quote from Office Space;

"When I make a mistake, I have 8 different people comin' by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of loosing my job. But you know Bob that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired."

Make sure you don't use the phone either... (3, Insightful)

beamz (75318) | about 12 years ago | (#4162966)

While I understand that a computer is company resources, I believe that responsible use should be acceptable and big big brother should not be there listening.

Blocking or intercepting email is more or less the same as listening in on a phone conversation. Yes, I know this horse has been beaten to death here but it's still ridiculous.

If you're not allowed to make personal phone calls then I can understand them not allowing or even monitoring personal computing use but for communications, email should be a protected medium.

What gives you the right to privacy? (2, Redundant)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4162967)

And what's the big deal here? You are at work. You are being paid to do what your employer wants (within the law). You do not have the right to use your employer's equipment for personal business unless you get permission. If you don't like your employers policy, quit.

There is no such thing as a "right to privacy" in the United States. Check out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You won't find find it along with other "rights" people say they have like, 'right to free health care', 'right to Social Security' and the often touted, 'right to party!!!'.

This is the start of a GOOD thing! (kinda) (1)

mustangdavis (583344) | about 12 years ago | (#4162968)

I have heard (and seen) small companies use email as a means of transmitting credit card numbers for purchases they get over the web because they are either too lazy or to cheap to set up a PGP based email system.

Although it may take a very unfortunate incident to really make people listen to me on this issue, forcing companies that need to keep their information private is a GOOD THING!

Customers trust companies to keep their information confidential, so they should do just that ... and sending coorporate information to hotmail is NOT the way to do it!

Although I do not agree with spying into people's email, I do like the idea of scaring companies into investing into a more secure method of transmitting their customer's PRIVATE information ... this is the first step into forcing cheap companies into doing so.

To all cheap bastards trying to run an e-shop: If you can't afford to buy a linux box, a small ISDN line, and PGP software to keep private customer information secure, GET OFF THE WEB!

As and admin (1)

Kushy (225928) | about 12 years ago | (#4162970)

I block most web based email systems... I have to... not because I want to be a a$$hole to my users, Its because no matter how many memos, emails, yelling at them...

They are downloading virus' to the network and causing me grief. Because then everyone get involved, and it becomes a huge mess just because someone wants to send something that should be done from home anyway?

Adult users, corp users should know better.. but i've been doing this for many years now, they act and treat the systems just like children... There are a few good ones don't get me wrong, for the most part they got from 35 years old back to being a giddy teen with a crush on someone...

So yes as a matter of fact I do think companies and admins should know what is going on at a users desk, it will save a lot of time and money for the company... and folks that's what's its about...

If a user bitchs (Like the one last week did) well I dont' have a computer at home, point there cheap ass to ebay.... and keep your personal crap where is belongs at home.

Well done, but not needed. (2, Interesting)

mwjlewis (602559) | about 12 years ago | (#4162971)

Why shouldn't a company monitor your personal email? I really don't see any problem at all with it. Ask yourself this: WHY ARE YOU THERE, WHY ARE THEY PAYING YOU? *To Do your Job*.

Why are you doing your personal matters on their network, computers, bandwidth?

At one of the offices I Admin, I have two terminals set up in the breakroom with access to the public email sites (yahoo, hotmail, various popular ISP's), and only from those IP's (on their own subnet /30) can they get to those sites. Those workstations are also locked down, but have games and other break related software on them. All the users know that they are monitored on the "business" network for the sites they browse and the communications they make. Everyone is content with this. There is the option to use the break room computers, and if they want to do it on their machine (yahoo, hotmail, etc) they just plain can't. (unless you ssh/telnet(sniffed)/rdp/ica/pc-any to another computer off the network.)

Hotmail safe? What a joke. (2, Interesting)

October_30th (531777) | about 12 years ago | (#4162973)

"Hotmail is phenomenal if you get there within the right time frame," said Kevin Mandia [] , a former Air Force investigator now working as a consultant with Foundstone Inc. "You can actually see people as they travel, checking messages from different computers. You can really track people effectively."

Reflections of a Transgendered Cow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4162976)

Big Tex was the prize bull on Mr. Tucker's ranch, having won the
blue ribbon at many a state fairground. He was a incredibly large hunk
of rippling muscle that would have sent even the most fearless rodeo
cowboys running in fear. Mr. Tucker made sure that Big Tex sired many
calves on his ranch, and kept hoping for more prize cattle. But none
matched Big Tex's power, appearance, or assertive nature. Yes, he was
the king of the ranch.
Unknown to Mr. Tucker, though, Big Tex also possessed a very keen
mind. Big Tex knew that he was something special...the stud of the
cattle...and used his reputation to have his way with any cow he came
across, often brutally forcing his way upon the female beasts.
One day, while maneuvering his massive, dark brown bovine body
across a field at the ranch, Big Tex noticed an especially alluring cow
named Sue Bell chewing her cud seductively beside a tree.
"I've never conquered Sue Bell," Big Tex thought to himself, as
his pace quickened in the direction of the tree.
Sue Bell, raising her large eyes toward the oncoming and excited
bull, immediately turned and began to march away.
"She can't escape me that easily," Big Tex thought, as he closed
the distance in a steady gallop, her reddish coloring making him all the
more aggressive.
Big Tex finally reached Sue Bell and rared up on his hind legs onto
her back, prepared to make the frightened cow his latest in a long line
of conquests.

Suddenly... all went black for an instant, and Big Tex found
himself lying down in a pile of hay in a barn. Looking around, he did
not recognize his surroundings.
"What happened? This place doesn't look familiar," he thought as he
gazed around.
Climbing to his feet, Big Tex realized that his body felt wrong.
He was shorter than normal, and he could see that his body was now milky
white with at least one black spot on one of his legs.
His legs! His legs were now much less muscular, and he felt
generally weaker all over.
He was shocked and involuntarily let out a loud "Moo".
"What's wrong with my voice! It's never sounded so high pitched
and delicate."
All of a sudden Big Tex felt an unfamiliar movement just below his
"Udders!!!I have udders!!!" his mind screamed in revulsion.
Spying an old mirror laying against a wall of the barn, Big Tex
trotted over, noticing a strange sway in his rear parts as he walked.
He also noticed that something seemed to be missing from between
his hind legs.
"It can't be missing!" he thought in horror. "What I think has
happened, couldn't have happened!"
Big Tex reached the mirror and almost regurgitated some cud when he
saw the image reflected back at him. A cow! A VERY female cow was
staring back at him.
She/he had long lashes highlighting big delicate eyes. He could
see the large mammary sack hanging underneath him with the very obvious
udders poking downward. And, of course, the very heart and soul of the
prized bull was missing, replaced by the very female part of the cow
anatomy that he coveted so much. But he didn't covet it in this way!
"I can't be a cow," he thought. "I'm a bull! I've got to change
back somehow."
Just then a large man walked into the barn carrying a bucket. He
was obviously a farmhand. He grabbed a stool from the corner and pulled
it up next to Big Tex in his sleak new cow body.
"Oh no!" Big Tex thought. "I know what he has in mind, and I can't
go through with it."
The bull/cow started to lunge away, which angered the man, who
proceeded to steer Big Tex into a cramped stall.
"In my other male body I could have gotten away from him, but not
in this weak carcass," Big Tex thought.
The man placed the bucket under Big Tex.
"Here it comes," the new cow tensed.
The man grabbed the udders and began pulling on them. Big Tex was
surprised by the sensation as his udders stiffened under the caress of
the man's hand.
"Hey, this feels kind of good," Big Tex thought. The sound of the
warm milk hitting the metal bucket made the experience even more
pleasant for Big Tex.
"Maybe I could live like this, for awhile at least."

Six months later, Big Tex found that he did enjoy being "one of the
cows" as they huddled together in the fields munching grass. He also
found that he liked the attention he received from the bulls, and
realized that cows enjoy mating much more than bulls, something he would
have never dreamed.
Finally, Big Tex found himself to be the proud mother of a strong
young calf, possibly the future stud of the ranch.
He could not imagine ever going back to being a bull.
Life was udderly delightful!

Re:Reflections of a Transgendered Cow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163033)

I am taking a nice big shit whilst reading this. I'm also trying really hard not to eat my shit. Ooo. oh boy. How sad. Would you care to lick my creamy bartorks? My testicle piercing is starting to itch. I truly hope I won't accidentally tear them off. Its times like this when I truly feel like grabbing my dick fuzz in one hand, and ripping it all out at one go. Doesn't that make you wheeze? Ooo! oh no. There goes the dinner plate. What dinner plate you say? Oh. I don't think you're ready for that. Care to taste my salty and wrinkled shit-encrusted ballsack? Why yes, I do enjoy crapping my pants and squishing it by sitting down and gyrating my sexy hips.

oh no.

Stop that! (2)

zulux (112259) | about 12 years ago | (#4162981)


Slashdot isn't safe for work.

Stop. You! In the cubacle - stop reading. You're being logged and will be delt with. Soon.

-Your Loving Managment

Blast this! (1)

joncarwash (600744) | about 12 years ago | (#4162994)

Interesting how they do not go into details how this product works.. I wonder if it will work through a secure connection (SSL-encrypted)? It doesn't even seem to mention if the product is a trojan horse-like program on the client computer or a firewall-like intercepting device.

Anyway, if the boss wants to read all of your SPAM, maybe you should just sign him/her up for all the SPAM lists your hotmail account is on. This way you don't even have to purchase the software to view all correspondence.

You Bet Your Ass We Monitor! (5, Interesting)

DnemoniX (31461) | about 12 years ago | (#4162996)

I am an IT manager for a local government agency. We monitor all internet usage on a regular basis. for the most part it is rather boring. This also means that if sombody uses Hotmail or some such at work it gets logged. By state statute here all documents that are created on our equipment, i.e. you type an e-mail. It becomes public record. that means any Joe Blow off the street can send in a request for copies of any and all e-mails that we have on our system. This causes a few interesting problems. So I do a couple things. 1. I do not backup the e-mail system. All users are aware of this. 2. Zero retention on deleted e-mail. 3. A signed Acceptable Usage poilicy for each user. They are all aware of the possibility of being monitored. Does this stop people, no! We have had to take action on abuses several times. Like the guy that wouldn't stop surfing porn at work, he worked in the cube and there are several women that work in that office. Bad judgement. Last week things got worse. I noticed a user surfing a little porn so I checked the logs, I was a little surprised, he was accessing a Sex Offender Database. He was looking himself up! Turns out this guy is a registered sex offender in the neighboring state. I looked up what he was convicted of and it was RAPE. Also 90% of the workers in my building are female. We would have never known any of this without monitoring our system. Our lawyers are working on what to do with him now. People can bitch all they want about Big Brother, but ever consider sometimes this is bigger than one person feeling bad? Think about how you would feel if your sister or mother worked in that office and something happened. Wouldn't you have wanted us to do something about it? Take off the blinders and step off the soap box, because until you are the one responsible you don't know shit.

Re:You Bet Your Ass We Monitor! (1)

nochops (522181) | about 12 years ago | (#4163069)

Good for you, and your employer. More people need to read and understand this. Someone mod this up, please.

Oh please, save us from the Bad People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163079)

for we's too dim to handle such a sichuashun in the real world! please, mista eye-tee man, keep a sharp eye!

Blocking hotmail (2)

slutdot (207042) | about 12 years ago | (#4163007)

We have a very strict standard for e-mail. All e-mail that comes into our network belongs to the company, not the employee. If it's using our servers, it's ours. Granted, we don't allow managers to indiscriminately view an employee's mailbox without HR approval but we will do our best to protect our assets.

I block all web-based e-mail from our proxy - like another poster said, it prevents users from downloading viruses. I work in the medical field and we have to protect patient data so there's also the added risk of someone sending confidential material out of the company through a webmail account without our ability to take corrective action because of the lack of proof. Originally, I had to block hotmail because MS Proxy Server used to crash whenever someone accessed Hotmail so our company policy was actually born out of protecting our proxy server.

Is hotmail selling my Email address? (2)

brejc8 (223089) | about 12 years ago | (#4163023)

I have been getting a lot of spam lately on an address I only give out to my friends.
They all seem to keep it in their hotmail and yahoo address books.
Is that the spam leak?

Privacy is far from a right in the workplace (2)

Zeddicus_Z (214454) | about 12 years ago | (#4163024)

Err, excuse me, but since when have we had the expectation of privacy when using company resources?

You send email via Outlook and your company's Exchange server. It's logged (or at least monitored), for legal reasons.

You Web-browse on your company Workstation during lunch. It's logged (or at least monitored), for legal (and HR) reasons.

You send IM traffic across the company network to an external friend via ICQ. It's logged (or at least monitored), for legal reasons.

You send email via Hotmail using a company Workstation, out a company NIC, across the company Cat5, through the company switches and routers, out the company gateway and upstream to you company's service provider. It's logged (or at least monitored) for legal reasons.

Personal use of company assets on company time. Unless you have an absoultely rockin' Acceptable Usage Policy (from the employee's point of view), you're "up shit creek without a paddle".

You can bitch and moan about this kind of thing all you want, but it comes down to one thing. Is use of Web-based mail against the AUP policy you signed when you commenced work? If it is, and you do it anyway, you're screwed.

Sheesh, you'd think it was rocket science or something...

It's easy to eavesdrop on LAN (work, school, ..) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163034)


Need I say more?

And the moral is: Use SSL! (1)

jnievele (469461) | about 12 years ago | (#4163035)

Why do all these webmail-users use plain HTTP, anyway? Use HTTPS and nobody can spy on you - it's that simple.

And if $Webmailer doesn't support HTTPS, switch to one that does, because Webmailers that don't use HTTPS don't give a damn about security anyway.

I hate to say this but.... (1)

HowlinMad (220943) | about 12 years ago | (#4163040)

But attempting to spying on private e-mail??

Why are you using private email at work? This is more than liekly against company policy. Simple solution, do not use private email at work.

Internal Memos Website (4, Funny)

irix (22687) | about 12 years ago | (#4163050)

Man, that site is hilarious! You can't make stuff like this up [] :-)

For those looking for a ssh client in windows (2)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 12 years ago | (#4163056)

Putty [] is an amazing little win32 ssh client (does telnet and a few other things as well). For me, if I am working on windows and need to check my mail, I ssh out to my linux box and fire up pine. No muss, no fuss. It is worth checking out the license link... Simon, you ROCK!

I just use ssh (2)

AssFace (118098) | about 12 years ago | (#4163067)

I have a shell where I host my web pages and such... or at least theoretically where I would host them were I to have any.
I ssh into that and use pine while at work, and then when I am home I use pop3 to yank it down.

this has worked well for me and I'm gonna stick to it. it isn't free like hotmail, doesn't have a slick web interface... or at least a web interface - but I like it well enough.
(it is like free to me because I would have this account whether I were using the e-mail or not)

Plus you assign dual copyright to Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4163075)

of anything you send through Hotmail - it's in the T&C.

In the famous words of thousands upon thousands (3)

Pac (9516) | about 12 years ago | (#4163087)

Who, is his right mind, ever thought Hotmail was a haven for commercial or otherwise private information, when not a month goes by without a new flaw in their security or a new loophole in their privacy policy comes to light?

I know that Slashdot tends to be anti-MS... (2)

frleong (241095) | about 12 years ago | (#4163096)

But the headline pretends that only Hotmail has this problem. This is not new as *ANY* http transmission that is not encrypted via SSL is prone to this problem, since all the boss needs to do is to setup the proxy server/firewall to dump everything passing through, even without this particular software.

Additionally, that e-Blaster software even traps and logs the keystrokes of the workstation: not even SSH or any other software that requires typing your password will help you here. If you're using your company's computer, and you are subject to their rules. ***END OF THE STORY***

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>