Just like NVR (Network Video Recorder) and DVR (Digital Video Recorder), I was wondering if there's a term / acronym for Desktop Monitoring Recorder? Perhaps DMR? I can't find any standard terms for this type of system.

I'm writing a system which is just like an NVR but records / monitors computer desktops instead. It's not a "screen thief" or "desktop spy" or any type of malware - it's a surveillance system, only for computers rather than cameras. In the end, it will do things such as primarily monitoring/recording screens, watching for mouse movement when the computer user shouldn't be there, and more. There are also other commands such as taking control of the screen, executing remote shutdown / restart, posting messages to the user's screen, and more.

Is there a particular standard term or acronym for the recording software side of this?

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    The most common term for such a system is "malware," because that's what it's usually used for: sneak it onto someone's computer and spy on what they're doing. I'm not sure if there's a name for such a program being used for legitimate purposes. – Mason Wheeler Jun 5 '13 at 1:50
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    It's for an organization to keep watch over its public computers - requires install of windows services and such. – Jerry Dodge Jun 5 '13 at 1:56
  • Watching what part? The physical access and operator usage patterns of the device (eg uses the terminal from 8-3 m-f, leaves for an hour usually between 12 and 1), or logical access and operator execution activity (eg. starts browser immediately, visits facebook for 20 minutes, starts word and opens a particular doc)? – JustinC Jun 5 '13 at 2:52
  • Well both, just like surveillance cameras, there will be certain triggers, such as abnormal bandwidth usage, mouse cursor moving when user is not expected there, etc. There will be many different trigger policies, but essentially can be watched in real time and recorded. – Jerry Dodge Jun 5 '13 at 19:45
  • Would you mind incorporating the discussion from comments into your question, through revision/edit? – JustinC Jun 6 '13 at 23:20

Over the Shoulder and Behind the Keys (OSBK) *

*contrived, no such system is known to exist by this name

  • Introduction to Audits

  • Past Announcement for a Presentation: Video Surveillance Technologies for Retail Security (VISITORS); retail video monitoring for among other reasons, loss prevention

  • Brochure: CISCO Video Retail Video Surveillance, contains intro to Cisco Smart+Connected Retail Network; I think IBM and Oracle have or could easily offer similar systems, not to necessarily single out Cisco.

Such systems exist, but as I have never been on the design end of such systems, I cannot suggest how the names came about. At essence though, they are fully integrated audit and control systems.

The operating environment featured a complete audit and control mechanism that monitored all system and user activity. In addition, a physical access control system and a high-resolution/low sampling rate camera system monitored the occupants or nearby onlookers of the computer.

However, because the system was for highly sensitive or secret information, they never recorded the screen directly (without explicit cause). This allowed some separation and protection from routine review of either footage or logs by access control personnel; yet, still provided full and precise forensic capability if the need arose.

When the need arose, it was merely a matter of synchronizing the two streams together during playback to recreate the conditions at the time in question and validate who, when, where, how, and what occurred. The why was often left to deduction or admission.

Why was it setup like this? The concern of system access and audit control was a separate concern from physical access. By keeping the concerns separate, each functional and responsible monitoring agent only had to be particularly vigilant and knowledgeable of their realm. Often times because the information was highly sensitive or secret, each monitoring agent did not have a 'need to know', and by keeping the aspects separate, it reduced the risk that they would inadvertently gain too much knowledge of the subject material being monitored.

As a user, I would find it difficult to accept working in conditions where real-time integration of all the monitoring information occurred without significant cause, and I suspect that it would be subject to greater risk of unchecked abuse or even misuse. I am not suggesting it is a bad idea, just that it would be a slim market, and reputation/trust would probably be an overwhelming factor.

  • Honestly, the intended use of this is for primarily schools, in computer oriented classrooms, where every student uses a public computer. I know such systems already exist, I was actually inspired by my teacher's abilities when I was in IT / programming classes. He could watch our screens, and if we were doing something we shouldn't, he would either message us, disable our machines, or take control. But, the actual development of this started when my boss wanted to be able to see what everyone's doing without having to physically walk around to everyone's office. – Jerry Dodge Jun 7 '13 at 0:18
  • For your boss, while I wouldn't be against him seeing what I was doing, his needs are probably only generally concerned with having an indication of what application had focus, perhaps what app or system process was consuming the most system resources, and perhaps augmented with an on-demand web cam that he could periodically make sure it was you and not your monkey-robot at the desk. The particulars of what you were doing or typing probably wouldn't matter unless you were actually using the monkey-robot in your stead would they? – JustinC Jun 7 '13 at 0:26
  • Bahhh... A Google search for "OSBK" only returns stock market results. Is this a term you invented or you found it somewhere? Nothing wrong if it's invented, I wouldn't be surprised if no term has been established for this yet. – Jerry Dodge Jun 7 '13 at 0:31
  • Definitely contrived. Sorry about that. I mentioned that in the opening text, in a way. The system(s) I described in very general terms are as secret as the data they protect. Looking at the Cisco example, they do not offer a friendly acronym, so I doubt the have settled on a name to market their system as, even if internally they gave it a clear designation. – JustinC Jun 7 '13 at 0:42

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