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How is it possible to monitor chats

 
Mike Anna
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Dear all,
First, thought Id post it at sockets/internet protocols, then I thought this would be a better forum.
I have posted this on sun forums Sun Forum too, without any help though.
I am just trying to understand how this is possible.
I couldnt find an appropriate forum for this question, hence I thought I could bring it up here and have some clarity.(because,may be atleast one of us has made something like this and could explain the working)

I always thought this was possible only on inter company chat apps (like Xodus) where you install the server in the intranet and hence can monitor and even log the interactions every employee has had with each other.

1)Is it possible for a network adminisitrator to log chat history ( from chat applications like yahoo messenger and gtalk ) ?

2) Now I am told that it is possible because a software can be configured at the router end and will log all IP packets that are going out with the header of Yahoo messenger or Gtalk. (which really led me to believe that it wouldnt be possible to log the chats an employee has using his gtalk feature IN Gmail). Is this true ?

How does all this happen ?

Any insight, highly appreciated.

Rgds
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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In general, an organization has one or more central connections to the Internet. Each one of these connections goes to a router, and is then connected to networks within the organization. Every packet that comes in and out of that organization goes through one of those routers, and the network admins, since they have full access to those routers, can read any of those packets. There is lots of nifty software available that sniff and sort packets based on every imaginable criteria: addresses and protocols, of course, but also keywords in text (i.e., the contents of webmail) and all sorts of other stuff.
 
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