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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs System
My laptop gets used by many people for many things, so it's handy to know what people are using it for. For example, it was recently used by a work experience student in our office who decided to search for porn on the internet -- a serious problem seeing as it is my laptop, and my job on the line. Everyone probably knows that one can use the Recent Items feature in the Apple menu to see what's been used lately on the machine.

What people often don't remember is that there is also a Recent Items menu in most programs. If you're in the habit of letting others use your machine, when you get it back, check the Recent Items menu in the Apple menu. If it has been cleared, it pays to open Preview and QuickTime and check their Recent Items list for any non-desired activity.

This is not foolproof, of course, as there is a Clear Menu option for most Apple-produced products. Nevertheless, although probably not the most effective way of monitoring other persons' activity on your computer, for simplicity and ease, this should be your first stop.
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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs | 9 comments | Create New Account
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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: foilpan on Sep 05, '06 07:43:43AM

an even easier solution is to configure a loaner laptop/desktop with settings locked down to the bare minimum. that way occasional users should be able to do what they need without jeopardizing your job.



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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: scolson on Sep 05, '06 08:30:54AM

As an add-on to this, having a seperate user account that others use gives you some deniability that you did it and allows for some degree of evidence against others.



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Try Onyx
Authored by: simbalala on Sep 05, '06 07:55:03AM

It has a "Recent Items" under its Cleaning Menu (Misc. Options).



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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: foilpan on Sep 05, '06 08:42:50AM

i forgot to mention that relying on the "Recent Items" list is pretty much useless, since anyone can clear it at any time. likewise, whoever uses your laptop can clear all the browser histories and caches.

a locked down account and/or separate mac is a much better approach to dealing with this problem.



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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: pub3abn on Sep 05, '06 08:43:52AM

What you really need is some sort of background process that will record to a log file: programs run, sites visited, files downloaded, file system changes. Hopefully something that would run invisibly as root, and which they would not have permissions to mess with.

If anyone has the motivation and know-how to produce something like this, it would be useful to me at work, as we have had occasional incidents (apparently) of malicious and suspicious activity going on.



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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: dsouth on Sep 06, '06 10:55:01AM

The process accounting system can do some of those things. View the manpages for `accton` or `lastcomm` for more info. By defualt process accouting is off and the standard accounting directory doesn't exist under MacOS, but the executables are present.

Note that if you turn paccting on, you'll need to manage the accounting log files -- they can grow quite large over time.

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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: siMac on Sep 05, '06 08:49:45AM

Even better, loan your computer but not your account.

If you loan your computer to someone set them up with their own non-administrator account (limited if you feel that's necessary), that way when you get it back you can simply delete the account and any possibly dodgy files they may have downloaded in one fell swoop.



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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: hessi on Sep 05, '06 09:25:19AM
I wonder that noone mentioned disposable guest accounts until now. And no, you do not have to have Leopard for that one, even Tiger can do something like this.
I spend a few hours working on it (and planning on presenting it on this side), until I found out there is (of course) already a solution:

http://www.bombich.com/mactips/scripts.html

There are simple solutions like "refresh-default-homedir.sh" and more sophisticated like "login-diskimage.sh", which is exactly what I had in mind.

So, whatever someone does on your Mac (or, well, you do...), noone will ever find out about it.

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A simple way to check user activity on loaned Macs
Authored by: tommyw on Sep 05, '06 09:53:02AM

I have Visitor and Kids Accounts on my machine. Neither are admin and neither can change settings. I run Contentbarrier on both accounts, the Visitor has no restrictions but logs all net activity, the Kids one has a full set of net restrictions and also logs activity online.



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