Can my company track my laptop if I've reinstalled the operating system?



  • I was given a laptop by my company. I reinstalled everything and now I occasionally open Whatsapp web in the background to reply to messages. Most of the times my laptop is connected to the Company's Wifi. I wanted to know if they can see my Whatsapp texts or not?

    Note: They've provided me an OpenVPN to access the Database server, which I often use while working. However, I also have an option to use Amazon Workspace instead of that VPN. Which option will suit me best in terms of security?

    My major concern is that if they can read my text, emails and if they can track my location.



  • There are two questions here.

    First of all, just because you reinstalled everything (that is, format the disk and reinstall the OS) doesn't guarantee that the computer will be free of any persistent rootkit (think Computrace).

    Besides, the computer may be connected to a corporate domain, meaning that when you're logging in to that domain, policies may kick in and install stuff in the background as part of the normal corporate software update/provisioning scheme.

    Most of the times my laptop is connected to the Company's Wifi. I wanted to know if they can see my Whatsapp texts or not?

    As long as you are visiting HTTPs sites the traffic is encrypted so they can't see the messages in clear. But they still can see lots of things, plus many types of traffic like DNS are typically unencrypted so anybody who is sniffing on the wire can figure out the patterns of your online activity, like what sites you visit.

    If you are curious you can install Wireshark on your computer and sniff your own traffic to better understand the data that is flowing out of your network interface.



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