Teamviewer Farewell

This isn’t really a “biggest and bloatedest” post, but it is in the same kind of vein, since it involves leaving behind a company that I once really enjoyed.  This time it’s the great remote-access utility, Teamviewer.  I was first introduced to TV long ago when I was doing remote computer assistance (an Uber of computer helpdesks – way before its time).

As time went on, TV got more and more advanced.  They added many new features specifically for providing helpdesk services, none of which were really useful to me.  All I needed was remote desktop access and sometimes file transfer.  I didn’t need chat, or ticket logging, or video capture, or lots of other things.  So I guess in a way, TV did become big and bloated.

But the software itself was impeccable.  Very well-written code and always in touch with current Microsoft security and coding practices.  It’s software that I would buy, but unfortunately, it wasn’t really for sale.  TV’s business was business users and consumers were trusted to use the software for free for personal use.  That sounds really good and fair, right?  It is, but I did feel a little guilty about it.  Not because I was using it for business use, but just that I used it SO much.  I would love to buy a license, but the cheapest you could get was a $50/mo subscription.  Ohhh, I hate subscriptions.  And $50/mo is not really reasonable (to me) for personal use.

So I kept using it for free, until one day I started getting notices that TV detected I was using their software for business use.  I don’t know exactly what they noticed that seemed suspicious.  I have a couple ideas, but I don’t know for sure.  If I choose to really think about it, it’s worrisome that the software is actively watching what I do to catch me doing business operations.  Anyway, I ignored the warnings, because they weren’t applicable.  When I rebuilt my computer and connected to it remotely, I got a much more severe warning.  It declared that I was using the software for commercial use and my connection would be terminated within minutes.  Subsequent connections also got cut off as well. 

I filled out an online form to appeal their judgement, which they said would be responded to in about a week.  But I pretty much knew that my time with Teamviewer was over.  It was time to find another remote access utility.  And the one I eventually chose was the free one built into Windows – Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Connection.  I was a little hesitant to implement it because of the reputation RDC has for being vulnerable to attack.  However, taking my time and considering the risks made me more comfortable in the choice.

For most RDC breaches, attacks are made using common account names and weak passwords.  Neither could be true in my case.  In fact, my configuration is more secure than Teamviewer.  With TV, an attacker needs two pieces of data: the computer ID and a password.  To attack me, you need an IP address, a custom port number, my username and my password.  That’s twice as many elements needed, and the potential values are vast.

So, that’s how I now waste the day away when I’m at work.  I’ve disabled Teamviewer, so that’s one less attack vector for my computer, which to be honest, always spooked me.  TV has not had any account breaches that I know of, but their user database would be a goldmine for hackers.

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