Nov 24, 2011

5 Ways to Track Windows Hidden Activities and Claim back User Privacy

It’s not just the web browser that collects information and data on the use by the user. Windows also keeps records that may reduce privacy. Many of these “logs” are actually Windows resources to enhance the experience of using the system, and therefore, occur unnoticed by the user.

There is no official tool and easy to use for displaying this information but there are ways to read this data and even prevent the system to track your private activity.

1. Coping with Shortcut in Jumplist

The lists of shortcuts (Jump Lists) made ??its opening in Windows 7 as a more convenient and practical to access documents and software executed recently. To access the list, just click the right mouse button on the button representing an open application in Taskbar.

This resource can be very useful and will help the user save time. But you can expose data that some people may prefer to keep secret. By accessing the list of shortcuts Firefox , for example, you can see what sites are accessed more frequently.
You can manually delete the contents of these lists. Paste this in Address bar%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations and%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\CustomDestinations and delete all contents.
You can also disable this resource permanently. To do this, click with right mouse button on the Start menu and choose “Properties”. Then, in the guide “Start Menu”, uncheck the options under “Privacy”.

2. List of Programs executed by user

Each time a program runs on Windows, the system records the details of this operation in a registry key that has the name ” UserAssist”. This is not a list of the last 10 or 15 you run software, but many of them. And even though they are encrypted, can be decoded easily.
One of the tools available for this is called UserAssist, which need not be installed on the computer. After downloading and running, you can display more readable data stored in the registry. Among the information available, are including the date and time of the last execution of the software.

This is very useful for those who need to analyze or control the use that children make the computer or software which the employee has used in his work schedule. But the tool is not just for the “accusation” of user habits. Can also be used as a means of counterattack, allowing the user to delete data at any time. To do this, simply select the options Commands> Clear All.
Anyone who needs a more complete solution may appeal CCleaner, and list of software to clean windows that helps users to get rid of intrusive content.

3. USB Drives and External Storage

Let’s say that during the carelessness of an employee, an attacker could take advantage of an interval of absence to connect a flash memory company’s computer and copy confidential documents, removing it before the employee returns.
Apparently, a crime without a trace, right? False! Windows keeps track and the details of USB devices that were connected to the computer. With a forensic software as OSForensics, you can discover if a device has been used in the machine.

And now we have a story that can leave you more paranoid: it is virtually impossible to eliminate the traces left by connecting a USB device. In theory, reference is made to a USB device, for example, are all in the Windows registry. But they appear in so many places that ends up being impossible to eliminate all safely just delete it.

4. Mysteries of Prefetch Folder

When you open an application, Windows maps the areas of the hard drive has been accessed during the implementation process and some files associated with the software. Therefore, it is as if Windows let the program pre-loaded for future use and, the next time someone runs, the charging time will be much faster.
To review this list and spy, just run Windows Explorer and access the \ Windows \ Prefetch. Note that the user must have administrator privileges to view and modify the contents of this directory.

5. Time to amend Windows Registry

Ideally, you do should not mess with this functionality. The change could affect the performance of your system, leaving it more slowly. But if you want to risk it, you can simply delete the contents of the folder “Prefetch”.
As much as the user tries to delete or block some of the items described here, there is a property in the Windows registry keys that can not be modified: the time of the last modification made ??to the key. And since everything the user does in Windows changed, somehow, the registry, it becomes easy to use a tool like Aezay Registry Commander to discover what applications were used in certain periods.

Therefore, the more it strives to increase your privacy, there are always ways to find out how the computer has been used. But in general, it costs nothing to study a little about how these details in Windows. In the worst case, you get more knowledge about the operating system of Microsoft, which never goes in vain.


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