How To Detect Corporate Spyware? Find Bossware On PC, Phone

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Having a good job is a dream for many, but it could turn into a nightmare when you find out that your company is spying on you. Employee monitoring is legal as long as the employee knows about it. However, some corporate offices use bossware to secretly spy on their employees without their consent, which is totally illegal and unethical.

If you feel that your company is using spyware to secretly spy on you then you must do something about it. However, the bossware or employee spyware are undetectable and hence you cannot detect them easily. But don’t worry in this article I am going to show you how to detect corporate spyware or bossware on your PC or phone. So let’s get started without wasting any time.

Table Of Contents

Quick Summary 
Corporate spyware or bossware refers to an employee monitoring program used by organizations to keep track of their employees. These are legal as long as the employer has the consent of the employees. You can detect corporate spyware that has been illegally installed on your device by using a good antivirus program, or through permission checks. To remove a bossware from your phone or computer you can again make use of a reputable antispyware app or factory reset your device.

What Is A Bossware Or Corporate Spyware?

corporate spyware

Corporate spyware or Bossware refers to software or tools that are used by companies or organizations to monitor and gather information about their employees. This can involve monitoring employee internet usage, communications, time theft, or other behaviors such as monitoring employee emails.

Corporate spyware is often deployed with the intention of gathering sensitive information without the knowledge or consent of the employee being monitored. However, it raises ethical and legal concerns, particularly in terms of privacy and employee rights.

Are Employee Monitoring Software Legal?

Yes, employee monitoring software are legal. However, the legality of employee monitoring software depends on the jurisdiction. It’s typically legal when respecting privacy laws, obtaining employee consent, and maintaining transparency. Employers must navigate privacy rights and local regulations.

Signs You Are Being Monitored At Work

Before we move on to how to detect employee monitoring software on your computer or phone let’s see some of the signs that tell you are being monitored at work.

1. Unusual IT Activity

Frequent system access by employers or unauthorized installations by them might suggest monitoring tools.

2. Surveillance Cameras

Most employers use surveillance cameras to monitor their employees. So visible cameras in work areas can imply monitoring.

3. Unusual Network Behavior

If you are facing slow internet, restricted website access, or filters on your device then it might hint at monitoring.

4. Personal Device Restrictions

If there are strict policies against using personal devices at the workplace then it might relate to monitoring.

How To Detect Corporate Spyware On Phone Or PC?

There are various ways to find hidden corporate spyware on your device. Since employee monitoring software can be installed on both PC (Windows & Mac) and phones, we will have a look at how to detect corporate spyware on both devices separately.

How To Detect Bossware On Phone?

1. Run An Antivirus Scan

The best method to detect bossware on a phone is to use a reputable antivirus program. Antivirus apps like Avast can detect and remove known malicious software, including bossware. Make sure to keep your antivirus app updated for better detection capabilities.

2. Check Permissions

To find an employee monitoring software you must review the permissions granted to your installed apps. If an app has excessive permissions that seem unrelated to its functionality, it could be a sign of bossware. For instance, if a flashlight app requests access to your contacts, messages, and location, it’s suspicious.

3. Look For Cell Phone Spyware Signs

When detecting cell phone spyware, monitor signs like abnormal battery drain, data spikes, overheating, unfamiliar background processes, and app glitches. Also, look for other signs like sluggish performance, excessive app permissions, unknown installations, and unexplained notifications. If you suspect bossware then seek professional assistance or use anti-spyware tools for a thorough examination.

How To Detect Bossware On PC?

1. Inspect Background Processes

For Windows users, press Alt + Ctrl + Del to access the Task Manager. Navigate to the Processes tab to review potential employee monitoring software running in the background.

detect bossware on windows pc

On a MacBook, open Utilities and launch the Activity Monitor. These corporate spyware often consume substantial CPU and RAM resources, making them fairly noticeable under Activity Monitor.

activity monitor

2. Use AntiVirus Program

An antivirus program can help you detect hidden bossware on your PC just like on a phone. You can make use of the built-in antivirus program on your computer such as Windows Defender or make use of a good third-party program.

3. Check Auto-Start Applications

One way to identify potential bossware on a computer is by examining the list of auto-start applications. If an employer has installed monitoring software then it will start automatically when the computer boots up or when a user logs in. By reviewing the list of applications set to auto-start, you can identify any unfamiliar or suspicious programs that might be indicative of bossware.

On Windows

Open Task Manager > Startup tab to view auto-start apps.

detect employee monitoring software

If there’s an unknown app having auto-start permission then you can disable it. Also, you can search on the internet to tell if the suspected app is a bossware or not.

On Mac

Click Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups. Next, select your account, and click the Login Items tab to view the auto-start apps.

detect corporate spyware mac

How To Remove Bossware From Your Device?

1. With The Help Of An Anti Spyware Program

When combating corporate spyware on your device, three main methods are available. The first involves employing an anti-spyware program designed to detect and eliminate spyware, including bossware.

You can start by scanning your device using a reputable anti-spyware app. Once the scan is complete, review the results to identify threats; if corporate spyware is found then follow guidance to remove or quarantine it. Also, you must follow the program’s security recommendations and keep it updated for current threat identification.

2. Uninstall Spyware Manually

Once you have detected the spyware, you can manually uninstall it from your device. Some spyware may take administrative permissions on your device so you may not be able to uninstall them using the regular means. In that case, you may have to disable the administrative permission of the employee monitoring app before uninstalling it.

3. Factory Reset

The last option you have is a device factory reset. If nothing else helps, a hard reset will help you get rid of spyware installed on your device. However, before going on with this step make sure you back up your important data because a factory reset will completely wipe off your device.

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How To Detect Employee Monitoring Software? Final Verdict

The employer has the right to monitor their employees in the workplace. However, it does not mean that they can spy on employees without their consent. If you believe that your workplace activities are being monitored without your knowledge then you have the right to take legal action.

However, before taking any big step you must confirm that there is actually a bossware installed on your device. To detect employee monitoring spyware you can look for various monitoring signs such as device overheating, quick battery drain, unusual device behavior, etc. Also, you can use an antivirus program to detect bossware on your computer or phone.


Is It Legal For Companies To Use Bossware To Spy On Employees?

No, using bossware without consent is illegal and violates privacy and ethical standards.

How Can I Detect Corporate Spyware On My Phone?

Run antivirus scans, check app permissions, and watch for unusual signs like battery drain or overheating.

What If I Suspect My Computer Has Bossware?

Review auto-start apps, use antivirus tools, and monitor for unusual background processes to check if there’s actually a bossware installed on your computer or not.

About the Author

Ankit Prasad, an engineer driven by a passion for digital safety, founded SpyDrill to simplify cybersecurity. With a modest approach, Ankit shares insights on parental control and monitoring apps and effective protection measures. His aim is to empower users with practical knowledge, bridging the gap between technology and everyday understanding. An advocate for digital literacy, Ankit's commitment to demystifying cyber threats underscores his dedication to creating a safer online environment for all.

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