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berend

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#67553 3-Sep-2010 13:28
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Hi All,

Any suggestions for companies that provide a internet filter like Watchdog does? This is for a school, and we simply want to have a filter so we avoid (legally) embarrassing situations.

Thanks,

Berend. 

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freitasm
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  #376266 3-Sep-2010 14:16
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Depending on how the IT is configured you could start by using a third party DNS, something like http://www.opendns.com for example, and create an account with them.

This allows you to "filter" DNS requests and block access to some site categories (social networks, gaming, gambling, adult, phishing, etc).

Of course this has to be done with some strong policy on computers connected to your network to prevent users changing hosts files.

This is not 100% though. If you can't find an ISP with this service then you should start thinking of running a proxy and filtering this kind of access...





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slister
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  #376271 3-Sep-2010 14:20
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You do realise that watchdog is free for schools?

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  #376272 3-Sep-2010 14:22
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michaelmurfy
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  #376281 3-Sep-2010 14:52
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+1 for OpenDNS - Used it for quite a few customers now, it's actually quite handy.
People might argue that the speeds are crap etc, but it's actually not bad at all.




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  #376283 3-Sep-2010 14:59
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freitasm: If you can't find an ISP with this service then you should start thinking of running a proxy and filtering this kind of access...



I'd say strongly, do this anyway. Anything else is trivial to work around.




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  #376286 3-Sep-2010 15:13
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OpenDNS + Untangle - just started playing with Untangle and impressed so far.





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berend

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  #376289 3-Sep-2010 15:18
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slister: You do realise that watchdog is free for schools?


Nothing is free, but yes for taxpayer funded schools it appears free. This is not for a government school though.



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  #376313 3-Sep-2010 16:10
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Snap - http://www.snap.net.nz
They give you the option of opting in for the Watchdog Filter ;)




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marpada
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  #376339 3-Sep-2010 17:13
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I would not trust much in those DNS blacklist as I guess they can be easily cheated by using a free proxy. My suggestion is a opensource firewall/proxy like it was suggested above.

berend

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  #376346 3-Sep-2010 18:07
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marpada: I would not trust much in those DNS blacklist as I guess they can be easily cheated by using a free proxy. My suggestion is a opensource firewall/proxy like it was suggested above.


I don't think opensource/freeware is going to cut this. Clearly as a school you need to make a better effort. Watchdog does deep inspection, so just looking for a commercial provider that does these things.

freitasm
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  #376351 3-Sep-2010 18:29
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marpada: I would not trust much in those DNS blacklist as I guess they can be easily cheated by using a free proxy. My suggestion is a opensource firewall/proxy like it was suggested above.


As I said, this only works if you implement policies and you manage the computers - so users wouldn't have administrator access, wouldn't be able to change browser settings, etc.







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jbard
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  #376354 3-Sep-2010 18:32
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I am currently in my last year of school, and believe me an openDNS filter or anything of that sort does not even come close to cutting it, in fact it just makes the kids dig deeper into the computer to find a way around.

This year my school changed to watchdog, which certainly better but not fool proof, some of the year 13 web and computing classes broke through to get onto facebook - and once one students knows how to get through it spreads like wild fire :)

michaelmurfy
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  #376400 3-Sep-2010 23:59
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freitasm:
marpada: I would not trust much in those DNS blacklist as I guess they can be easily cheated by using a free proxy. My suggestion is a opensource firewall/proxy like it was suggested above.


As I said, this only works if you implement policies and you manage the computers - so users wouldn't have administrator access, wouldn't be able to change browser settings, etc.





Incorrect, a transparent proxy you can place in front of a Internet Connection, usually this would be a box running something like Smoothwall, IPcop or something else. From here users can't bypass it on that network since all traffic flowing to the internet will be put through the Proxy.

If OpenDNS was also running on the router, there is hardly no way of blocking this since the router usually deals with the DNS Queries. If a user decides to use their own DNS like Google DNS then that will combat OpenDNS.

If OpenDNS + a Transparent Proxy was used this makes a really good blocking service, and should be the way to do things, since if a outside laptop connects to the network the rules will be put in place therefore blocking anything you wish to block.

And if that wasn't enough, OpenDNS does blocking of Proxy Services such as hidemyass. There will be the odd one that will decide to find a way to bypass a transparent proxy, but for the average user this will be very hard to bypass.

With having a Transparent Proxy you are also free to add other rules, such as times when people can access the internet, certain sites to whitelist during these times etc.




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Ragnor
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  #376408 4-Sep-2010 01:49
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As mentioned Maxnet and Snap offer filtering via WatchDog.

You should also implement content filtering at the gateway/firewall for the school, Sonicwall have some good stuff.

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