Monday, July 15, 2024

Companies are cracking down on mouse jigglers


Vaydeer Mouse Jiggler in use.Vaydeer

Ever since the proliferation of remote work, there’s been a growing demand for ways for employees to appear productive to their managers when away from their computers.

But now, we’re starting to see some high-profile cases of companies cracking down on this kind of workplace deception. Bloomberg reports that Wells Fargo recently fired over a dozen employees last month who used “mouse jigglers” to fake productivity. The fired employees were in the bank’s wealth and investment management unit. They were “discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating the impression of active work,” according to disclosures filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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So far, there is no information on how long the employees were using the technology before getting caught or if the terminated employees were caught using the mouse movers while working remotely or on-site. The strategy used by the bank to come to this conclusion remains unclear. These mouse movers simulate mouse movements, so your computer will always appear active to software that monitors activity.

The prevalence of mouse jugglers raises questions about how well current monitoring tools assess actual productivity in specific roles. Hopefully, more information will become available on how the employees acquired jobs requiring their productivity to be measured by mouse movements and why such monitoring was necessary.

This technology is nothing new, but it became increasingly popular during the pandemic. Since many remote jobs persist to this day, the monitoring tools have improved, making it more difficult for workers to fake effectiveness. The technology is readily available for less than $20 at Amazon and can fake keyboard inputs, making the monitoring software think someone is at their desk.

Wells Fargo requires its employees to go to the office, but it didn’t need them to begin until early 2022. It’s easier for remote workers to fake productivity, but even so, there is software that will ensure they are at their desks and working. As these two technologies continue to improve, time will tell who gets the upper hand.

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