This is some spooky software. Although it politely bills itself as an internet-monitoring product, under other circumstances you'd probably call Spector Pro 5.0 spyware. Get ready to swallow those scruples.

Spector comprises a suite of seven tools that record virtually everything happening on a PC, whether web surfing, instant messaging, programs being launched, email or keystokes. It can now also perform Snapshot Recording, which takes greyscale screenshots of the screen at set intervals that can be played back as a sort of a time-lapse CCTV image of what was on screen at that particular moment.

Spector records all keystrokes, but you can tell it to watch out for keywords and alert you when they're typed. And if that sounds dodgy to you, be reassured by the condition of installation that insists that the user of the PC being monitored is notified of that fact.

The results of the program's eavesdropping can be observed by another PC on the network, although making this feature work takes a bit of effort. You have to share the Spector Pro data folder on the PC being monitored – each time it uses a different (subtle) folder name. For reasons of reliability this data has to be stored locally. Having installed the viewer on the monitoring PC, you then have to browse to that network and save that location as a 'favourite'.

For obvious reasons, Spector Pro doesn't broadcast what it is doing, so the user can't even tell that the software has been installed – it doesn't appear in the process listing, host Registry or as visible files.

Spector Pro 5.0: Specs

  • 200MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP
  • 32MB RAM
  • approximately 10-20MB hard disk space for a typical day of recording
  • 200MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP
  • 32MB RAM
  • approximately 10-20MB hard disk space for a typical day of recording

OUR VERDICT

If covert surveillance is your game, Spector Pro 5.0 will suit you down to the ground, combining a powerful, comprehensive suite of monitoring tools with good reporting functionality. What's more, it enables you to control access to the internet with some finesse.

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