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LogMein – What is it?

Nishat from India writes:

Can you please give me an idea about LogMein software. What is its function & how does it work?

LogMeIn, and other remote login software, allows you to remotely control and access a computer from a variety of devices. LogMeIn has versions for Windows, Mac, iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android devices and via the web. 

So, why would you want to use this kind of software?

Many people have PCs at work which they can not take home or with them when they go on a trip. This software allows you to use another device to control that PC remotely with full access to everything that’s on the computer. Let’s say you had to take a business trip down to a supplier to oversee a project, but didn’t have the logistics program on your phone (the only device you have with you). Instead of calling the office, having someone else try to log into your computer and navigate software they don’t know  – with YOUR passwords – you can log in remotely on the phone and have your fully functional desktop computer streamed to your device.

For home users the greatest use is having access to everything on your home computer when you’re out and about. Say you’re in the office and want to look up the contact information for your daughter’s girl scout troop leader to let her know that you’ll be late dropping her off today. You can log in through the logmein website, open up microsoft word on your desktop then view the document containing all the troop information.

What are some of the downsides/dangers of these type of programs?

1) Some companies do not allow/won’t approve if this software is installed. It allows users to remotely log in, after all,  so security rules governing who can access information is called into question. Always check your company policy before installing any program like this.

2) Security concerns focus mostly on the strength of your password and security system used by the software. Most remote desktop software’s security will make all communication encrypted and secure, but if your password is “abc123″ it’s not as secure as it should be. You may also be viewing this information in a Starbucks in public and may not be the best place to be reviewing confidential your-eyes-only company information.

3) Hacks/cracks/backdoors. With any remote login software there is always a risk that the software can have a bug in it, which once discovered, could let unauthorized users in. This is true for any software run on your computer, but is especially dangerous when the entire purpose of the software is to let people log in remotely.

Is the risk worth the reward? That is a personal and company decision to make, but being able to access a work system on vacation from your phone while waiting in line with your daughter at an amusement park is a lot better then having to come home from a trip early for 10 minutes worth of work.