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Topic # 153537 30-Sep-2014 12:21
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A friend of mine has a teenager who is pretty handy when it comes to cracking passwords ;) Sadly he then goes about downloading all kinds of viruses and malware with the games he wants to play and the laptop becomes unusable to the parents.

I've suggested letting the kid keep the one he's mangled and buying a new one for the parents, but what's out there to keep him off the new one.

There have been similar threads in the past which have gone done the 'proper parenting' path, can we please not do that with this. I'm genuinely interested in what can be done to lock down a laptop over and above typical Windows passwords.



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  Reply # 1144141 30-Sep-2014 12:37
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Does the laptop not have sufficient malware/antivirus protection?

I may make an unhelpful suggestion here but easiest is to just buy a Mac or install a unix based os - from a malware recovery point of view, I find restoring from backups/reimaging easier on a non Windows machine. The young one can then have a Windows VM to play all the games he wants.

Being a teenager once, I could easily find my way round all the parental locks/passwords easily, I doubt the effectiveness of the preventative measures

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  Reply # 1144144 30-Sep-2014 12:51
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Other option would be to lock dos the Internet itself... Their are some pretty good parental control sites that you can subscribe to... Think of the opposite of a geo unblocker, a DNS portal that limits access to dodgy sites :)

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  Reply # 1144146 30-Sep-2014 12:55
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Image laptop when clean (and semi frequently thereafter) then restore from the image as needed?

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  Reply # 1144147 30-Sep-2014 12:58
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Teenager needs his own computer, perhaps a second hand gaming desktop off Trademe?

 

 

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  Reply # 1144150 30-Sep-2014 13:09
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How is he cracking them?
If it is just password guessing, then get the parents to set better passwords and not put them in while he is watching.
Also you can follow this guide:
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/72240-account-lockout-threshold-invalid-logon-attempts.html
which will lock the account after however many attempts you set for the time you set. This limits the amount of times a password can be guessed.

Good solution is the above, take the control off the laptop itself and onto another device like the router or a website. 
Some netgears seem to have built in setup for openvpn or similar services for doing internet filtering.
http://au.pcmag.com/networking-reviews-ratings-comparisons/feature/8931/the-top-wireless-routers-for-your-family







Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  Reply # 1144161 30-Sep-2014 13:17
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All of the above are options but the first two suggestions I'd make are non-technical.

Whatever they do, the main problem is that their son will have more time and motivation to break into it than his parents have to protect it.

First, they need to stop him getting physical access to the laptop. If he can't get to it then that cuts down his options for breaking into it.

Second, they need to start on the parenting issue. My kids would sincerely regret that sort of behaviour.

Third, they need to get an easy to use backup and restore solution.

Fourth, they can then work on hardening the laptop if they still need to.

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  Reply # 1144165 30-Sep-2014 13:24
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Given how easy it is to remove even the local administrator password on a Win PC, may need to password lock the BIOS so booting off a CD/DVD is not possible.





My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


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  Reply # 1144166 30-Sep-2014 13:25
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As the sometimes proud owner of two destructive teenage mutant females myself BIOS locking with a strong password and then remembering to actually sleep the computer when not in use was the only way to keep them off my laptop. I'm sorry, but if a kid (no matter how smart) can crack them easily, even with software, they're not strong passwords. I can think of 10 examples of decently strong passwords that are easy to remember off the top of my head. B0unC3_B411... 4lPH4m4l3... rude ones are also fun.






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  Reply # 1144167 30-Sep-2014 13:30
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Some brief answers....

Antivirus I believe is Norton's and I recommended buying MalwareBytes a while ago but I dont know if it's happened.
Imaging the laptop would be an idea but they are non-techies, so I was wondering if there were better options than passwords and they dont really want to keep re-imaging.
How he is cracking them I dont know, theyve tried better and longer passwords, giving him his own (child only) account with restricted time access and he gets around it within a week. He's obviously using something other than guessing as the last one was a password only the parents knew after I suggested upper and lower case along with characters and numbers.

On one hand I have to admire his persistence but on the other it's not productive to be doing it on his parents laptop.

My suggestion is to leave this one with him and buying a new one for themselves. But the possibility of him having a crack at it still remains if he cant be bothered to fix what he breaks.

There is always taking to his fingers with a hammer ;)

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  Reply # 1144196 30-Sep-2014 13:47
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There needs to be consequences for his behaviour.

If you start with one day loss of access to laptop for the first offence and each time he does it you add one day to the previous punishment, so second offence is two days loss of access, third is three days etc.  The other option is to double it each time but that very quickly gets silly once you hit the 32 day mark. :)

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  Reply # 1144208 30-Sep-2014 13:50
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graemeh: There needs to be consequences for his behaviour.

If you start with one day loss of access to laptop for the first offence and each time he does it you add one day to the previous punishment, so second offence is two days loss of access, third is three days etc.  The other option is to double it each time but that very quickly gets silly once you hit the 32 day mark. :)


This sounds like too much hard work, I vote for the hammer. :P




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  Reply # 1144220 30-Sep-2014 13:57
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Nothing simple will keep him messing with the new one if he does not respect someone elses property. If he has physical access to the laptop he can reset passwords etc via usb/boot-able media in minutes.

As you say if they end up giving him the old laptop that may work. Depending on the laptop model for the old one it might have some software to create recovery discs(easier for a teen to wipe than a re-install) he could be given to fix it himself.

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  Reply # 1144222 30-Sep-2014 13:58
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Demeter:
graemeh: There needs to be consequences for his behaviour.

If you start with one day loss of access to laptop for the first offence and each time he does it you add one day to the previous punishment, so second offence is two days loss of access, third is three days etc.  The other option is to double it each time but that very quickly gets silly once you hit the 32 day mark. :)


This sounds like too much hard work, I vote for the hammer. :P


Is that for the laptop or body parts? ;)



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  Reply # 1144229 30-Sep-2014 14:01
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Demeter: As the sometimes proud owner of two destructive teenage mutant females myself BIOS locking with a strong password and then remembering to actually sleep the computer when not in use was the only way to keep them off my laptop.

The issue with using a BIOS lock is he needed access to the laptop for school work. That's why I think having his own, crappy one will have to be the way to go.

I was thinking of something along the lines of two-factor authentication to get into the admin account but it's still a password to be cracked.

I have a few years before my kids get to this stage.

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  Reply # 1144249 30-Sep-2014 14:26
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martyyn: I have a few years before my kids get to this stage.


By then I reckon biometrics will be far more common, so hopefully it will be a non-issue. Of course, there is also a great chance that your kids won't be little e-terrorists like this one :)




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