There are many legitimate and valid reasons why programs that track keystrokes and website visits may be installed on certain computers. Parents may be concerned about which sites their young children have exposure to or schools may try to curb access to questionable sites. But there are also potentially harmful applications when these programs are installed without your knowledge or consent. Is it possible that a program like Webwatcher is tracking your online movements?
What is Webwatcher?
Webwatcher is a parental control software program, which is designed to allow parents to read email and instant messages, track keystrokes, take pictures of the screen, and monitor which websites have been viewed, all from a remote location. It is geared towards parents who want to ensure that their children are safe while surfing online. If they do visit questionable sites or make contact with strangers, parents are notified and can take appropriate action.
Webwatcher can be a great tool for parents, who cannot physically be with their children all the time. However, this technology can also be used for less altruistic purposes. It becomes problematic when it is installed on your computer, as an adult, without your knowledge. If someone has access to your computer and a few moments alone to download the software, then they are able to put Webwatcher on your computer and monitor it from any location. They no longer need any direct access to your computer, and they will be able to view websites you visit and other data you enter, which can include personal or financial information.
Is Webwatcher Installed on My Computer?
Because children tend to be more tech-savvy than their parents, Webwatcher is designed to be invisible. Children do not know that their being monitored, giving parents an accurate account of what their children do and see while on the internet. The program is not on the list of running processes in the Task Manager, nor are there visible files. Webwatcher is able to get around firewalls and antivirus programs, which means children will not accidentally find it when running a virus scan or searching for other files. Webwatcher is so effective at running without detection that it meets safety standards of worldwide intelligence agencies and various law enforcement agencies have used the program as an investigative tool.
While this is beneficial for parents who wish to monitor their childrens online activity, it makes it virtually impossible to detect its presence on your computer. And while it is beneficial for parents of young children and teenagers, as an adult computer user, it becomes an invasion of privacy that can have potentially damaging consequences. If Webwatcher is installed on your computer, you may notice a slowing in performance. Like rogue programs, Webwatcher also resides in the virtual memory and will divert more of your computers resources to its operation. This leaves less for your programs, making even simple tasks slower. If you check your CPU usage when you have no programs running and find that you are using much more of your memory capacity than you should be, then that is a good indication that there is a rogue or hidden program in your system.
What if Webwatcher is Installed on My Computer?
As mentioned, Webwatcher may cause a slowdown in your computers performance, but if used as intended, it is perfectly safe for your system. Unlike rogue programs, Webwatcher does not usher in malware, adware, or spyware or cause technical difficulties in your computer. You wont notice an increase in pop-ups. This is why it is ideal as a parental control tool. If it is installed on an adults computer without consent by someone with negative intentions, then it allows access to all of your information. The websites you visit can be tracked, and if you use online banking services or vendors, then it is a possibility that the person monitoring can see your financial information and use it for their own gain.
How Does Webwatcher Become Installed?
Unlike rogue antivirus programs and other forms of malware, Webwatcher has to be directly installed on your computer. That is, you do not pick up a virus through a trojan and inadvertently download Webwatcher. Someone has to be at your computer and download the software directly. From there, it can be monitored from any computer. Parents are typically the ones who download Webwatcher because they are concerned for their childrens safety. When used for purposes other than parental concern, Webwatcher can be installed by anyone with access to your computer, such as spouses, employers or employees, or friends.
If you suspect that this program is installed on your computer, then it is advisable to take steps to remove Webwatcher as soon as possible. To prevent it from being downloaded, it is always good to use caution by limiting access to your computer if appropriate or protecting it with a password.