Overview of Computer Hardware Monitoring Tools
Hardware monitoring tools can be used to intercept, capture, analyze and decode network traffic, user activity on a local or remote system, or to audit login activity on a computer system.
Hardware network sniffers physically bridge the connections between a host and the internal network of a company or the internal network to the Internet. Major businesses and governmental organizations use hardware-based network sniffers, such as the Tern EE TCP-based embedded stand-alone capture board, to capture and sort through gigabytes of network data per day.
Keystroke loggers are simple universal serial bus (USB) or serial port hardware devices to monitor the keystrokes and mouse movements of a user on a single computer system. They are most often used by corporate espionage experts to steal login information or passwords to a secure system but are also used by security personnel to track inappropriate use of a system. Most devices are about as small as a USB flash memory device and can be hidden easily to avoid detection by the user.
Remote desktop tools allow a user to connect remotely to a hardware system via a network. While some remote desktop devices, such as Go2Meeting or Cisco Webex, allow two-way interaction between users, others are used for one-way hardware monitoring to establish security and accountability of computer hardware. Remote desktop devices capture the real-time use of a hardware asset and can also covertly activate hardware monitoring tools such as web cameras and microphones to provide additional monitoring capability.
Physical Security Monitors
Physical security devices, such as hardware-based access control systems, closed-circuit television systems and intrusion alarm systems, provide an additional level of computer hardware assurance and monitoring. Virtually all large-scale corporations and governmental facilities implement complex networks of these hardware information monitoring systems to collect data for real-time response and later security audit.