10 Obvious Signs That Your Boss Is Secretly Monitoring Your Computer Remotely

person sitting front of laptop

In the modern workplace, the intersection of technology and employee monitoring is both a practical reality and a potential ethical dilemma. As businesses increasingly rely on digital tools and remote working setups, the ability to monitor employee activities remotely has become more feasible and, in some cases, more aggressively pursued. While monitoring can be justified by various legitimate business interests, including safeguarding intellectual property, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, and enhancing productivity, it also poses significant privacy concerns. Below are 10 signs, you’re being monitored.

1. Unusual Software Installations

Remote monitoring often hinges on the use of specialized software designed for surveillance. This can include commercial remote access tools like TeamViewer and LogMeIn, or more discreet monitoring software capable of tracking keystrokes, screen activity, and even webcam access. Employers might argue the necessity of such tools for IT support, but their capability for detailed tracking extends beyond troubleshooting technical issues. Employees should regularly check their installed applications list in the Control Panel or System Settings and inquire about any unfamiliar software.

2. Cursor Movements and Unprompted Actions

If your mouse cursor starts moving independently, or if applications and files open and close without your intervention, it’s a strong indication of remote control. This might be experienced during remote IT support sessions, but if it happens without prior notification or consent, it raises immediate red flags. Such control is not just monitoring—it’s active manipulation of your workstation, which is generally not necessary for most administrative or support tasks.

3. Background Noise or Delays During Phone Calls

Audio glitches in VoIP applications like Skype, Teams, or Zoom might be signs of interception. Advanced surveillance setups can include the capability to record or listen in on calls. Echoes or unusual delays could suggest that your audio is being processed through an additional layer—likely recording software—before reaching its intended recipient. Persistent issues of this nature, especially if not linked to known poor connectivity or other technical issues, warrant further investigation.

4. Consistent Patterns of Behavioural Feedback

When your boss or other supervisors make comments or ask questions about your browsing habits, application usage, or even specific keystrokes, it suggests the presence of detailed monitoring. Such surveillance can capture everything from the websites you visit to the messages you type. The specificity of feedback on your activities that aren’t visible or noticeable through casual observation can be a telling sign of background monitoring tools at work.

5. Changes in Network Settings or Unexplained Network Activity

Monitoring software often requires significant data transmission between the monitored device and a controlling server. This might manifest as new, unfamiliar network connections in your settings, or unexplained increases in network activity when you’re not actively using your internet connection. Tools like Wireshark can help track down what data is being sent and to which addresses, which might help identify unauthorized surveillance transmissions.

6. Performance Issues and Slowdowns

Monitoring software, especially when poorly implemented, can drain system resources. A suddenly sluggish system or inexplicable CPU spikes can indicate hidden processes. Monitoring software might not only be active in recording but also in real-time data transmission, which intensively uses CPU and network resources. Regular monitoring of your system’s performance metrics can help spot anomalies that suggest background activities.

7. Strange Files in System Directories

Unusual files appearing in system directories or strange logs that don’t correlate with known user activities can be alarming. These files might be logs saved by monitoring software, containing records of user activity designed to be read remotely by an administrator. Becoming familiar with the typical contents of your system directories can help you spot these intrusions.

8. Security and Privacy Settings Reconfigurations

If your computer’s security settings are modified without your knowledge—such as changes to firewall rules, antivirus settings, or user account privileges—this could prevent you from noticing or interfering with active monitoring processes. Regular checks and logs of these settings can indicate tampering and help maintain control over your system’s integrity.

9. Unusual Administrative Activities

Notifications about administrative activities you didn’t authorize or perform can be disconcerting. This could range from installing new applications to modifying system settings or updating software—all of which could facilitate or hide monitoring activities. Keeping a log of your own administrative actions and regularly reviewing system logs can help you detect unauthorized changes.

10. Discussions About Non-Work Related Activities

If conversations with your superiors veer into details about your personal or non-work-related activities conducted on your work computer, consider it a potential red flag. Such discussions could base on insights gained from surveillance tools, especially if these activities are otherwise private or would not have been known without access to your computer usage data.


Understanding these signs and regularly auditing your computer for unusual activities can help safeguard your privacy while adhering to workplace policies. Employees should always be informed about the extent and methods of monitoring in their workplace to maintain a transparent and trust-based professional environment.

Betsy Wilson

A true science nerd and pediatric nursing specialist, Betsy is passionate about all things pregnancy and baby-related. She contributes her expertise to the Scientific Origin.