capsule review

eBlaster Mac 2010

At a Glance
  • SpectorSoft eBlaster Mac 2010

    Macworld Rating

It’s a sad fact, but true, that you sometimes have to don the high-tech spy gear in order to learn the truth. Whether you have an employee you suspect of misappropriating your company’s confidential information or updating his personal porn collection on company time, or if you’re worried about who your children are friending or chatting with, there comes that unfortunate moment in time when your only choice is to hide in the shadows of someone’s hard drive to capture the facts. SpectorSoft’s eBlaster Mac 2010 is a powerful tool for surreptitiously monitoring every keystroke someone makes on their computer. Simple to use and easy to install, eBlaster can start delivering you activity reports in a matter of minutes.

The eBlaster setup process walks you through a few basic setup options; you provide an e-mail address for reports to be sent to, choose whether or not you want to have iChat messages sent to you instantly, and choose a password. You can also change the default hotkey sequence, which lets you access eBlaster’s settings and reports while using the monitored computer.

By default, eBlaster sends hourly reports while there’s activity on the monitored Mac and sends nothing if there’s inactivity for a user-configurable amount of time. Reports include entire instant messaging transcripts, a catalog of Web sites visited and e-mail activity, and complete logs of every keystroke typed. A new feature allows you to provide a list of keywords that you want monitored and reported. What makes eBlaster great is that, unlike its sister product, SpectorPro, all reports are sent via e-mail from the computer being monitored, so you don’t have be at the computer or even in the same country to track what’s going on with a monitored computer.

Much of what’s new in eBlaster is either under the hood or an enhancement to an existing feature found in eBlaster 2009 ( ). eBlaster is now a 64-bit application, which is unlikely to give you goosebumps, but should make eBlaster purr when it needs to. Additionally, eBlaster is now able to natively track conversations taking place in the Adium chat application, which means that you no longer have to spend your time sifting through pages of keylog transcripts in order to get Adium transcriptions.

It’s important to note that because eBlaster logs everything that goes on with a monitored computer, the e-mail reports you receive could and most likely will contain information that shouldn’t be readily available to everyone that has access to your computer. For example, using eBlaster I was able to reconstruct enough information to log into someone’s Web banking account, Facebook account, and Webmail accounts, all with no problem whatsoever. Which raises another important note, eBlaster can be a dangerously powerful tool in the hands of those with dark motives. So it’s best to make sure that your Admin password is secure.

Macworld’s buying advice

eBlaster is a powerful tool for collecting information on any and everything taking place on a monitored computer. While I have to admit that the idea of having to gather this kind of information does make my skin crawl a bit, I’m also aware that these tools are necessary. And when you need to surreptitiously monitor what’s happening on another computer you won’t find a better application that eBlaster.

[Jeffery Battersby is an IT Consultant, Apple Trainer, (very) smalltime actor, and regular contributor to Macworld. He writes about Macs and more at his blog.]

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Monitors everything that happens on your computer
    • Sends reports via e-mail
    • Doesn’t require that you be physically present at the computer you’re monitoring

    Cons

    • Monitoring can be intrusive
    • Information sent via e-mail could expose sensitive information
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