This article was written to inform people about WebWatcher keylogger, its legitimate use and its potential for misuse, and how to detect and remove it.
WebWatcher: Who Is Really Keeping an Eye on You?
Often software programs that help to monitor or control a user are essential in today's society. From the small business owner who needs to understand where productivity seems to fail to the parent who simply wants to keep the child safe while online, there are hundreds of software solutions to this problem, and WebWatcher is easily one of the most popular. For some users, though, programs like this are a frightening prospect. After all, not only can the individual who installed the program literally spy on your online activities, but it can also be misused in a number of other ways, and understanding exactly how it works may lead to the need to remove WebWatcher from your machine.
What is WebWatcher?
The program itself was designed as parental control software. The overall goal was to let parents keep an eye on their kids while they're online, and it uses a pretty extensive line up of services to do just that. They can take a careful look at any sites the child has visited, read the emails that have been sent or received, take a look at the instant messaging history, view screen shots from any given session, look at what has been typed into any program, and monitor almost everything from any location. The reality here is that the program uses keystroke capturing technology, just like today's most advanced keyloggers do. While the intent behind this program clearly isn't malicious, the reality is that it uses much of the same technology other rogue programs do, and it can easily be used to spy on anyone's activities, not just those of a child. Entering bank account data, credit card numbers, or anything else into a computer that has WebWatcher installed could prove dangerous. Here are just a few of the more concerning aspects of this program.
Keylogger Technology: Your computer can only take the data you enter, then convert it into fulfilling your requests, and that's part of the bigger dangers with WebWatcher. The program literally allows you to see every piece of data they enter from a remote location, which means that the information is being stored on the company's servers, giving almost anyone within that company or any hacker access to the information entered on the screen. What's more, though, is that the individual who installs the software can create filters and even alert words to help them understand what's happening with that machine which, again, may give more than one party access to the information you enter on a daily basis, no matter what program you're using.
Invisibility: Naturally if you're watching someone, the last thing you want is for them to know you're watching them, and WebWatcher prides itself on invisibility. They recently added a feature that allows them to evade the current antivirus and antispyware technology installed on a machine before WebWatcher is installed, and that can spell real problems if you're trying to find this program. It doesn't' appear in the process list or the system tray, and it certainly doesn't pop up in common places like the Desktop or the Add/Remove programs function. Because there are no actual files to find, it's hard to know whether or not this technology is watching you. It can even circumvent a firewall program, making it a bit more frightening at any level.
Potential for Misuse: WebWatcher is monitoring software, and it does exactly that. The serious problem here is that not just parents install this to check on their children. It's advertised to employers who want to keep an eye on employees, spouses who want to ensure their partners aren't cheating or looking at dating/suspicious sites, and anyone else who requires monitoring technology. Understanding who is truly looking at what you do each day on the computer is a terrifying prospect. Say, for example, you have a disgruntled employee who installs it on your machine at work so he or she can steal your confidential client information. Likewise, imagine you have an unscrupulous party who has access to your machine. Your identity and credit card information could be gone in an instant. There's very little reason anyone needs this kind of access to your machine.
The Final Verdict
For many, WebWatcher removal is the only real option in this situation. The simple reality is that while it can be helpful to some parents, it can also be a serious danger to your safety and security, and that kind of risk in today's society is absolutely unacceptable.
In order to determine if the program is installed on your machine, you'll have to do a bit of digging because of the invisibility feature. One of the only ways to detect and remove the program is to run a reputable antispyware software solution like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 2.0. In some cases, it may take running the computer in safe mode to completely remove WebWatcher from your system, but it's certainly well worth it given the potential for danger in this case.