How To Detect Mouse Jiggler and How Does It Work?

Mouse jigglers, designed with the intended purpose of preventing computers from going to sleep mode, could actually pose challenges related to productivity monitoring. Your employees may use this technology to blur the lines between active work engagement and idle time.

This is why mouse jiggler detection is still necessary for those who want to monitor employee activity and ensure active involvement in assigned tasks.

If you want to learn more about mouse jigglers, including how to detect if your employees are using this technology, this article is for you!

Key Points

  • Mouse jigglers simulate mouse movement to keep computers active, preventing sleep mode or idle status.
  • To detect this technology, set a time frame during which your employees must respond to your requests.
  • Other than that, try using monitoring software that tracks mouse movement and keyboard activity and generates reports on employee productivity.
  • You can also physically inspect work computers for new hardware or software installations.
  • Remember, enforcing stringent policies against using mouse jigglers fosters fairness and increases productivity.

But First — What Is a Mouse Jiggler?

What Is a Mouse Jiggler

As the name suggests, the primary purpose of a mouse jiggler is to simulate small, periodic mouse movements on a computer screen. It moves the cursor, which keeps the computer running and avoids states such as sleep mode or a status indicator that switches to “inactive” or “away” on an app.

In other words, mouse jiggling is like a subtle way to trick a computer into thinking a user is actively moving the mouse, while the truth is—no one is really active.

Mouse jigglers can come in the form of plug-and-play hardware gadgets or very simple pieces of software. If you suspect your remote team is using this type of technology, then you should understand how both techniques work.

Explore our extensive list featuring a variety of smart home gadgets introduced since 2008.

1. Hardware Jigglers

Mechanical Mouse Jiggler Undetectable Device - No USB No Software Required, Keeps Mouse Moving and Computer Awake - Cordless and Wireless Mouse Mover Works for 12-24 Months on AA Battery (Aqua)

Typically, hardware jigglers are dock-like devices that you plug into a power source and place under your mouse. When you step away from your computer, the jigller will spin or move to trigger the optical sensor at regular intervals.

This, in turn, keeps the mouse cursor on the screen slowly moving, creating the illusion of mouse movement. These movements are enough to keep the computer active, preventing it from locking the screen or falling asleep due to inactivity.

Since hardware jigglers are material components, they are quite visible in office work environments. You just have to be keen enough around your employers or IT personnel to spot them.

However, given that they do not connect directly to computers, these external mouse movers can be virtually tricky to spot when used in remote work environments. Although that’s the case, they do have one major drawback: employees must place the mouse on the device to engage it, which requires remembering to do so.

2. Software jigglers

Software jigglers

This second kind is a program or an application installed directly onto the computer. Software jigglers tend to be more affordable and take up less space. When installed, they will run in the background and wiggle the mouse cursor around when it isn’t in use.

Software-based mouse jigglers can be installed like any other software, and their activity remains mainly invisible to users. Additionally, most applications in this category provide customizable settings that allow the user to choose time intervals and preferred movements, sometimes even including keystrokes.

Unlike their physical counterparts, mouse mover software is typically easy for employers to detect. It’s because they leave a trail in the computer system that can be easily traced by a detailed analysis of the system files or installed software programs on the computer.

How to Detect Mouse Jiggler: 3 Ways to Deal With Them

If you suspect foul play, it’s time we shed some light on the different ways to detect mouse jigglers in your organization. They include:

1. Set Specific Time Frames for Employees to Respond

Introducing response time limits is a very simple yet effective approach to observe peculiarities in an employee’s periods of apparent inactivity. It involves setting a specific time frame during which your employees must respond to certain messages or requests.

Fortunately, you can easily do this through video calls, Slack messages, or other chat apps. If an active employee fails to respond on several occasions, it may appear that they are not by their computer.

This discrepancy between actual screen time and active engagement could signal the presence of a mouse jiggler. After all, mouse jigglers may make it seem like someone is on their computer, but the technology can not answer calls, click buttons, or reply to messages.

2. Physical Inspection

Another easiest way to eliminate mouse jigglers is to physically examine workstations and computers for new installations.

But before you do this, ensure you caution employees from installing unauthorized devices or apps on company computers or laptops. Do not forget to clearly communicate the measures you’ll take in case you find anyone using these devices.

To carry out a physical inspection:

  • Occasionally, conduct a mini-investigation within your office to check for any new installations on the employee computers.
  • While at it, look out for any unusual devices connected to the computer’s USB port or unknown software or apps installed.
  • Be vigilant and take into consideration anything that does not match the standard workplace tools or programs.

Keep in mind that while this approach can be effective, it requires regular checks and could be time-consuming, especially in bigger working environments. Additionally, since your team isn’t allowed to install other software, they can find it more challenging to update their devices or get the software they need. You need to have a plan to counter such concerns.

3. Use Software Monitoring

This mouse jiggler detection strategy involves using specialized software tools to monitor and track mouse activity patterns within a computer system. It not only tracks mouse movement but also keyboard activity to show you active and idle time while employees are on the clock.

Most software monitoring solutions include various features such as:

  • Mouse click tracking
  • Live video surveillance
  • Screen recording
  • Random screenshot capturing
  • Keystroke recording

In addition to that, you can customize the system to generate reports or raise alerts whenever it detects unexpected or suspicious behavior. This way, you get a complete picture of how your employees are working and how productive they are.

You should know that there are certain software that employees might use to try and outsmart workplace monitoring software. However, with the best monitoring software, you can still spot such employees, even if they appear to be actively working throughout their shift.

Know How People Are Using Mouse Jigglers

Know How People Are Using Mouse Jigglers

Ever since the turbulence of the pandemic tremendously changed the work environment around the world, most people started working from home or in flexible office setups. With that came the mouse jigglers, which have quickly become a trend in most workplaces.

Since most remote employees believed that time on the computer didn’t directly translate to productive work, they started using mouse jigglers. Employees may choose to use mouse jigglers for a range of reasons, including:

  • A user has to complete a work task that requires watching or reading a whitepaper, datasheet, or manual but doesn’t want their status to show inactive while they do so.
  • An employee needs to prevent their work computer from going to sleep while they download or upload a file or are completing other time-consuming tasks.
  • They need to take a moment away from work for an extended period but don’t want to get caught taking an unapproved break or trigger an inactivity alert.

You may find some of these intentions valid since the device helps rather than interferes with work. However, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether your employees are using the device to do better work or to take an extra break. This is why mouse jiggler detection is still necessary to avoid challenges related to productivity monitoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Software Detects Mouse Jigglers?

Some popular software tools designed to detect mouse jigglers include ActivTrak, Teramind, and Hubstaff. They not only track mouse movement but also observe keyboard activity patterns within a computer system. In addition to that, you can customize the software to generate reports or raise alerts whenever it automatically detects any activity mimicking.

Can Employers Track Mouse Movements?

Employers use productivity trackers on work computers to monitor every employee’s activity. Most of these trackers monitor mouse movements and keystrokes. Some also use the web camera to capture the employee themselves, and others will snap occasional screenshots of what the employee is working on.

Is It Legal to Use Mouse Jigglers at Work?

The reality is that there’s no law against using a mouse jiggler. However, the use of these devices at work is against most workplace policies and may be viewed as a form of dishonesty.
This is why some organizations monitor their employees; some organizations watch more closely than others. You could put your job in jeopardy if your employer finds out you are using one of these devices.

Will a Mouse Jiggler Keep Teams Status as Active?

Mouse jiggler moves the cursor on your computer every once in a while and avoids states such as sleep mode, thereby keeping your Microsoft Teams active. They usually come in the form of plug-and-play hardware gadgets or very simple pieces of software.

Bottom Line

So, there you have it! That was all we had on how to detect mouse jiggler. Though anyone can use mouse jigglers, the technology has become somewhat popular among remote employees, especially after the surge of work-from-home jobs. It’s now a bit like a game of hide-and-seek, but with appropriate technical knowledge, you can ensure that your work environment remains as transparent and productive as possible.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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