How to Detect Remote Desktop Snooping


The Remote Desktop tool is a convenient way to get support and interact with other users on the Internet. It enables someone to view and sometimes control another person's screen. This is often done for technical support purposes to allow support agents to assist a customer they cannot directly interact with. However, sometimes remote desktop functions can be used for malicious purposes, such as spying on another user. It may be necessary to attempt to locate any software that enables it and remove it.

  • Click on "Start" then access your "All Programs" list to see if there are any programs installed that you didn't install yourself, or any programs with suspicious names. Many programs may have "VNC" in the title, for "virtual network computing," so if you see any programs like "RealVNC" or "TightVNC" that you didn't install (and if someone sharing your computer in the home didn't install), they may be an access point for another user to spy on your screen.

  • View all of the icons in your taskbar. This is the set of icons located next to the clock that displays icons for all your running programs. If there is a remote desktop application currently running, it may show up in the taskbar. If you see such a program running, you can usually right-click on the icon and close it from there.

  • Access Windows Firewall by going to your Control Panel, then clicking on "Windows Firewall." In the window that pops up, click on the "Exceptions" tab and scroll through the list of programs. If a program has a checked box next to it, it means that the program is free to run. If you see an unfamiliar program, or a VNC program running, you can uncheck the box to remove control from the program, and additionally, its remote user.

  • Right click on your taskbar and select "Task Manager." Click on the "Processes" tab and scroll through the list of processes. Look under the "User Name" category. You should only see your name on the list. If you see anyone else's name, this means they are accessing your computer. If you see someone else's name, click on that process and click "End Task." This will stop the program from running.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some applications, like a firewall, will ask you for permission every time a new applications attempts to start up. Consider making use of a free firewall to monitor what programs are running at all times.
  • Never give out your private information, passwords and login information to anyone online, because this information might help other people install malicious applications on your system.

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