Any other IT out there having end users bring in these little bastards? They are small USB devices that detect as a mouse in Device Manager, and simulate a mouse movement every few seconds to prevent screen savers and other security features from activating. Since I can’t really put out a policy that prevents USB Mice from working, I’m at a loss for how to shut these down? Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome and appreciated!
What do you have access to in terms of data? I do coding and some ML for a living, and I’d probably do the following:
- Gather data on mouse movements from users that are known to be active.
- Hook up said device, gather mouse movement that registers only using device.
- Encode data for X,Y, and time since last event in milliseconds
- Use this data for training, build support vector machine or other discriminator to tell the difference between #1 and #2.
This is probably not the answer you’re looking for.
I don’t understand the entire premise here: what function do these jigglers serve? What are they trying to accomplish?
This is a totally new thing to me.
Make it appear you are working while you are really at the pub?
I guess it makes it look like you are working instead of on you phone avoiding working. If that is the case, it doesn’t seem like a trusting environment.
Can’t people tell if you’re working by looking at the tasks you actually accomplish? Or is it impossible to measure worker output?
I mean, at my job, if I was goofing off a lot and not working it would be clear by me not getting stuff done. Oops, got to go, boss is coming…
In a lot of environments, especially ones where privacy is a concern, the settings on when a screen saver or other type of display obfuscation trips is really short. Here, for example, it’s 7 minutes. If you don’t move your mouse around then after a few minutes the display slowly dims to alert you it’s starting. If you aren’t around for that, it will go to a blue count down screen for the next 4 minutes or so, and then the workstation becomes locked.
We actually educate our users to lock their workstation when they walk away, but some users just really hate this set up and so they buy these devices ($18 on Amazon) and then they can walk away from their workstation and come back and get right to it.
Despite the fact we have a badge reader plugged in so all anyone has to do is wave their badge and it unlocks their session and gets them right back in inside of 5 seconds. That’s just not fast enough for some people, I guess.
Also despite the fact that anything someone does on their account they are responsible for, so really what I am trying to do is protect people from themselves.
We solved the problem of people walking off and leaving their workstations unlocked by sending scandalous emails from their terminals to large groups of people. Stuff in the vein of “I was just thinking about everyone here… and I love you all!! Hugs and kisses!”
And in the environment in which I work (classified stuff) it’s technically a security violation if you walk away from your computer and don’t lock it. I’ve seen people get bugged about it (including me!) but have not seen anyone actually get dinged for not locking though.
Can’t you just fire anyone found using them?
Assuming you can’t, do these devices have unique pid/vid/serial numbers or do they copy actual mice? Though I don’t know if you can block specific usb devices based on vid/pid.
You’ll also want to block anyone from accessing the Caffeine download page if you do find a way to disable the jiggler.
In fact, assuming your colleagues there are allowed to download and run executables (Caffeine doesn’t need to be installed to work), I think it’s kinda funny they all blew $18+ on hardware to accomplish what a couple-dozen-kilobytes piece of freeware does. . .
Yeah, I ran into Caffine and a few others as well, and I agree - they could have just used them and we’d probably still not know about it. I did block all the domains I could find that allow for such things, but I’m sure there are just as many (if not more) that I missed!
Find a couple people doing this and shame them publicly. Then the next week, after they’ve been warned, find someone doing it and fire them. That will fix the problem.
Maybe slash their tires, too. Really drive it home!
edit: that wasn’t intended to be a pun, but there you have it.
This thing? That’s so crazy.
I’ve never even heard of these.
Not that exact one, but yeah, that same idea. Just crazy to me.
Hardline but fair.
Yep. If it’s a breach of security policy and a security risk, I’d go that way. Issue a couple of formal warnings the first week and send an email to employees reiterating the policy and mentioning the formal warnings (no need to name and shame).
Then, if they don’t get it, get someone in front of HR for breach of company policy the second week and have them defend their actions.
No real need to name the warned (I’d advise against that, and I think HR likely will too) and nobody might actually get fired that second week, but it needs to be clear the policy is not there to be gamed and you are protecting the company as the other employees are required to do.
Employees are not entitled to do whatever they please at work.
Just to play devil’s advocate:
If you accuse someone of placing an unauthorized USB device on a computer, how do you know a different user didn’t place the device?
If it’s highly improbable that someone else could have accessed the computer and placed the USB device, then why is there such a restrictive lockout policy?
I use a mouse wiggler at home, as I use two computers, and one is basically a “dumb terminal” that some of the time is SSH’d into a cluster of machines that I’m running hours-long analysis on. I often run those tasks off hours or on the weekend, when I’m not “officially” working, but I’d never get things done if I didn’t nudge along not-yet-automated analysis.
If I don’t run the wiggler, every time i want to glance over at my work machine (from playing games on my PC, for example) I have to log back in only to see the job isn’t finished. When I asked if the lockout time could be altered since I’m 95% work at home, my IT folks said was was company policy, but if I googled “wiggle mouse” they were sure I could find some level of relief. Then the guy winked at me and I went on my way.
If it makes you feel better, I shut my laptop screen when I walk out of my office (at home), automatically locking it, and I don’t run the wiggle program when I go into the office.
Heh. We did this too. “Mmmmnom nom nom on your perky earlobes.” “I LIKE BICYCLES!!!1”