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Educational Software Thread, Python on computers - Security in Technical; Hi, Our ICT Teachers have mentioned about python programming quite a few times. Just wondering if any of you guys ...
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    Python on computers - Security

    Hi,

    Our ICT Teachers have mentioned about python programming quite a few times.

    Just wondering if any of you guys out there are in / have been in the same boat about how to install it.

    We could do it in virtual box
    - but how could they save there work without going to the same machine each lesson

    Or Install it on the physical machine

    - What security risks are there?
    - Our students server has file restrictions, stopping them from saving exe's ect to there H:/ Drive


    What are your thoughts, ideas, work arounds ext?

    Many Thanks!

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Python (at least the reference implementation) doesn't compile to a native .exe, so no issues there I don't think. It creates a .pyc file which is then run by python.exe, much like Java running .jar files.

    Fairly sure it will run as non-admin, and Python.org even has Windows Installers (though you need to add ALLUSERS=2 as a deployment parameter to get the shortcuts to install for everyone, in my experience).

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The security risk I have the most concerns about is the ease if access to having tools for those so inclined. Eg. You can download a pre-written port scanners etc... as plaintext. So, you end letting them effectively have the ability to run any tool they want.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    You can set up virtualbox and lock it down as you see fit, removing all links to the outside world other than the machine it's connected to. You can set up a "shared folder", so if your home drives are h:\ then set that up as the shared folder, it appears as a mapped drive within the VM. Therefore, the kids save their work to that whilst having a full machine with admin rights to play with.
    Watch for licensing if you use Windows, you could of course use a linux distribution of choice.

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    @themightymrp was asking me about the same thing with Python the other week. not sure what he came up with in the end.

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    As @synaesthesia:

    Virtualbox is the way forward and everything he states is do-able and works well, be aware of the size of the VM image, this depends on the programming software you install as part of the image build within virtualbox as it can get up to 30+ Gb in size and this can fail on the deployment side of things.

    You can as has been suggested run a Linux flavoured distro as the VM but might be a little confusing for the staff who are used to Microsoft platforms hehe!

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    In the end we opted to just install it on machines - as is mentioned above Python doesn't compile and save as .exe files. We deemed the risk acceptable, the ICT teacher who runs the course is possibly the only one we have who can program and he seems to keep them in check.

    We considered using our "BrowseControl" software to lock down the Python program so that it only functioned during the particular ICT lesson(s), but that was far too much work lol If the desktops were more powerful and up to date I would have gone with the VirtualBox option, but these PC's suck!

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    gmj
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    I know you have found a solution, but we use VirtualBox. Also run Justbasic and VB via it.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    For note our image is just a shade over 9gb for Windows, the relevant IDEs etc. As the drive is immutable it won't ever grow larger than that, hence is well within realms of deployment.

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    we have used virtual box in the past, but the teacher doesn't like it when the kids mess about on them and change passwords ect.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwestlake View Post
    we have used virtual box in the past, but the teacher doesn't like it when the kids mess about on them and change passwords ect.
    This is why you make the image immutable, so that changes are fleeting.

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