Any day you learn something new is a good day

Poor Aussie surfing for knockers at home - how to work around this yourself

, posted: 8-Feb-2011 15:36

I do so feel for the poor guy who got sacked for surfing for knockers on his work laptop at home, as reported in the media for example.

As his company has in their wisdom implemented a very nice filtering & reporting policy coupled with a good enforceable computer use policy for staff (which he was well aware of) he should have known better.

What he should have done is create himself a Linux Live USB key and boot his laptop off that when at home - no filtering / inspecting software can catch that and report him, especially when he's at home doing whatever he wants on his own personal internet connection.

The company in question won't care either, as while the physical hardware doing the browsing may be theirs, the operating system (and relevant digital trail, logs, history etc) is not so they can effectively shrug their shoulders and take a 'don't ask don't tell' stance.

The easiest LiveUSB I've come across to go with is Linux Mint - to set one of these up;

1) Download the latest Linux Mint ISO from
2) Download the universal USB installer from
3) Insert a 4GB or 8GB usb stick you don't mind being overwritter into a usb socket
3) Run the installer (don't need to install it, just run what you download) and tell it which distro you are installing and where the ISO is. After that, tell it what usb drive you want to overwrite and how big a persistent root partition you want to create (hint: 8GB usb create a 4GB persistent drive) and then leave it to create your stick.

When it's finished (takes a while), reboot any machine and get it to boot from USB when your stick is plugged in.

Hey Presto - it's your PC now to customise and browse from. You can install anything you like from the repositories and it'll stay on the USB key unlike a live CD where it won't.  Any WiFi profiles you create will stay put, too.

No tracking software installed on the normal OS of the machine you are using can see what you're doing - rootkit's perhaps excluded.

I'm guessing this guy's kicking himself, hindsight and all that.

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Comment by AJ, on 8-Feb-2011 23:18

Any corporate which has the device as well managed as that will have also disabled booting off alternate devices like USB. Easiest solution: don't use anything company related for something which violates your agreements with the company.

Author's note by nzsouthernman, on 9-Feb-2011 09:28

@AJ - That's a very good point. There's not many ways to get around an admin BIOS password and fixed boot order aside from resetting said password - and that's usually way too many hoops to jump through for the average user.

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