What is Bossware?
We can say that Bossware is a way for companies to control your workers. They can use it to know their movements on the Internet, what applications they use, what files they have on the system… In short, control as if they were in front of the computer and could use the mouse to see everything.
To understand the rise of corporate spyware we have to talk about the context in which we find ourselves. We live in a time where remote work is very present. In many cases it has come suddenly but it has done so to stay. And of course, many companies distrust their employees, what they can do during working hours.
Basically what they do managers or managers of a company is sneaking spyware. They use tracking programs to get all kinds of information. This is called Bossware, which comes from the word boss in English (Boss). But of course, this can really threaten the privacy of workers, who are not aware of it.
Sometimes it is more sophisticated software, which can record all kinds of movements. Sometimes the worker may know that he has that program spying on him, but other times they have no idea. An example of something basic is knowing how much time you spend on a certain individual task, while something more advanced is able to report what websites you visit or what programs you have opened.
How does it work
But how do you sneak a Bossware? Here it is necessary to indicate that there are different methods. Generally it is something very simple, since it is enough to install a program in the system. An example is when a company delivers a computer to the worker so that he can carry out his duties. In that device they have previously installed software that will be in charge of registering the movements, for example.
But you can also tell the worker to install that application on the computer on their own. That is, you are going to have to install certain software that is going to start tracking everything you do, see the time you use an application, etc. It can even be a part of the employment contract and it is the worker who accepts this point and has to install it.
Now, these two cases that we have mentioned are known by the worker. Whether the company previously installs that software or it is the worker who installs it, they will know that they are recording information. But there is the opposite case, in which the company can sneak a Bossware file and start spying without the worker’s consent.
How do they do that? We are also faced with two possibilities. One of them is that they deliver a computer with Bossware installed but do not notify them and another that, at some point, they tell the worker that he needs to install a application for work and that is the moment in which they also sneak in software that is going to record information.
From that moment it will be collecting data about the worker. You will be able to inform the company of the time you spend on a task, open programs, etc. Also, and this is what generates the most controversy, there are versions that have the possibility of showing the company everything that the worker types on the keyboard. Of course, this way they could know if you spend part of your time browsing the Internet or talking to people through certain platforms, for example.
Is this really necessary? The truth is that many companies opt for this method and the workers themselves accept it. It is considered a way to ensure work efficiency, knowing exactly how many hours an employee works or seeing the use of certain programs that are part of his tasks.
That information can be leaked
The problem is that, regardless of whether this method is lawful or not by the company, that information could leak. It is personal data of the employee, sometimes the browsing history or even the keystrokes he makes. All of that could be stored insecurely and used by an attacker.
Therefore, all this information could be used for bad purposes Even if it’s not from the company. Perhaps even this puts the organization at risk, since essential information could be leaked, such as a new product they are developing, an offer that is made public before it is launched, etc.
At the end of the day, Bossware is nothing more than a type of software that will collect all kinds of data, information on the use of the computer and even history. It’s as if malware is collecting all of this and sending it to a server controlled by the attackers, except in this case the company is collecting the information. But of course, if that leaks it would be a problem.
What to do to avoid or detect it
For avoid company spywareIn general, the ideal option is to refuse the company to install this type of program. Legally they are obliged to report it, so in some way the worker is going to accept this in the terms of the contract. If you want to avoid this and you know that the company is going to spy on you or is already spying on you, you should talk about it with the organization.
However, you may be affected by Bossware and not even know it. Maybe you suspect it and want to verify if your company really controls everything you do with your work computer or not. You can detect it in different ways, although it may not always be easy:
- read the contract: The first and easiest method is to read the employment contract. If that Bossware is legal, the company is obliged to report it in the terms that you will have to sign.
- View installed programs: You can also see the applications installed on the computer. If it is a program that is not hidden, it should appear the same as applications such as the browser, text editors or any other tool.
- Check system processes: In addition, another possibility is to analyze the system processes. Do you see any strange that should not be? You can always search the internet for information and see what it is due to and check if it might be spyware from the company.
In short, as you have seen, Bossware is basically spyware installed by the company to control the workers. We have explained how it works and how you can detect it if it is installed on your computer without your knowledge.