Question employer wifi. how do they know who's phone it is?

luckydriver

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Aug 6, 2010
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so if employees all use work's free wifi how does work tie in and dig out who a specific phone belongs to. assume no work apps/functions being done on the work phone. all personal stuff.
 
Well they would know your device name and information such as your MAC address.

edit: is it SUPER easy to figure out who's phone is who's? no. Can they figure out who's phone it is if they really wanted to? yeah probably.

Best to not be doing anything too sketchy on your phone over work wifi.
 
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kanewolf

Titan
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so if employees all use work's free wifi how does work tie in and dig out who a specific phone belongs to. assume no work apps/functions being done on the work phone. all personal stuff.
It would depend on how they have their firewall configured and where that device accesses. Some websites still don't use HTTPS. They could know spatially where the device is located by which access point it connects to, etc. There is lots of crumbs left.
 
It also depends on the company policy. If it's a work phone, you may have signed a form, attaching that device to a user profile, in which case it's possible they can monitor a lot of what you do on the phone, whether personal or work related. They may even install apps to do that. Examples being MS365 or Citrix Mobile

There is also the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy which a lot of companies use. So you bring and use your own phone, but the company have apps installed that can monitor usage (depending on the app).

Some companies don't allow BYOD because it can compromise corporate security, IP, or customer data. So they only offer work phones, in which case you have to expect they will monitor all usage.

It's worth reading the company policies for usage of company devices. It's normally very clear what you can and can't do, how they monitor you, and how that information is recorded.
 

luckydriver

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if you bring your own phone is what i was more thinking . no apps ever on the personal phone nor work email used on personal phone. is your phone number sent back to the network?

i know they can see every site etc but i just began thinking that no sites i go to identify me. so they would have to go around the office and look at brand of phone and look at your MAC on your phone to get a positive ID it seems.
 
If they have free wifi with no restrictions I doubt they care. Anyone park in the street or in the parking lot and use it.

Unless you did something to call attention to yourself they like won't waste the time. You start running torrent or something that the company can get in trouble for they likely will care. Surfing some legal porn likely they will ignore.

There really is no way they can tell much. You can get a prepaid phone and never activate it and it will run fine on wifi. Almost impossible to tract the mac address especially if you pay cash....and most stores will not release information without a warrant anyway.

Now if they have a fancy wifi system of AP and a fancy controller the system can triangulate pretty close but then they have to come and physically look for you.
 

luckydriver

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thats what blew my mind when they started this years ago you had to fill out a form and get a password etc and have a reason to get on the wifi. a month ago they sent out email that its not a visible newtwork but just enter 'companyname' and you have free wifi to join

this from a place that makes us do monthly knowB4 drills online every month and all kind of other security reminders etc. for them to have free wifi for anyone with the name of the wifi is really shocking

i know zip about security but the stuff on our network and what we have access to (govt databases etc) must not be in any danger or they wouldnt give out the wifi..

right? :)

for the record the only naughty thing i do is play candy crush but i do that on the company machine anyway so no biggie. but it got me wondering how they know who does what if its open like that.
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
if they are smart, they have the public wifi 100% completely separate from anything business related. sounds like they are, thus they don't seem worried about its use. i'm sure there is some filtering in place as is common practice.

there is a reason so many companies, governments, hospitols etc are getting infected with ransomware. it is the employees doing stupid stuff on the network, bringing in bad stuff. hence all the knowb4 stuff. they are hoping a little education will go a long way with safety. hopefully, everyone is paying attention to it so they actually learn how to avoid the problems that are all over.

but knowing the average user is blindly clicking away and not thinking much, they offer the wifi to keep people doing the stupid stuff on their own devices and off the company network where there is real damage that can be done. personally, i'd not have any net access for the average user, unless it was 100% needed for their specific job. but then i'm stupid and think people should actually be at work doing... i don't know..... WORK MAYBE!!!
 
Sep 8, 2019
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Question? Can the employer see more personal stuff like email addresses and time and dates of emails I send out? Using a personal phone not a work phone. Obviously they cant see the content of my emails.
 
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al92

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As an IT guy at an employer, we can at the very minimum get the Device name. So if we see an employee has googled something inappropriate on a mobile device, we can check against the IP to find out that it was googled from, say 'Sam's iPhone 7' or whatever. We could also if needed request a log of every site that device has visited on our wifi network.
 
Sep 8, 2019
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As an IT guy at an employer, we can at the very minimum get the Device name. So if we see an employee has googled something inappropriate on a mobile device, we can check against the IP to find out that it was googled from, say 'Sam's iPhone 7' or whatever. We could also if needed request a log of every site that device has visited on our wifi network.
When I send a personal email can you see my email address or the address I send messages to?
 
All depends on the email system and how you are accessing. The fundamental SMTP even the email contents are exposed. Web page encryption or some of the other email access programs prevent this.

They may not be able to see anything at all other than the ip you are talking to. They can not really be sure it is email or just web surfing if you are using https to access the email.

Again it depends on the details of what you are calling email.
 
Its been a while since I look at details on gmail but from what I remember they use TLS (ie https) to encrypt the session. All you would see if you attempted to intercept data is that there is a connection to a IP owned by GMAIL. Everything else would be fully encrypted.

There are options to encrypt the actual contents with another level of encryption but I think that is more to prevent google from getting the contents
 
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