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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Smoothwall SG question - blocking games in Technical; Just been reading other threads about peoples success in nailing down access to flash / shockwave games with their Smoothwall ...
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    Smoothwall SG question - blocking games

    Just been reading other threads about peoples success in nailing down access to flash / shockwave games with their Smoothwall so how do you go about this? I want to try and irradicate games completely here - I have the Games category being blocked in the default AUP policy but loads still get through unfortunately.

    I have tried blocking swf using a custom security policy but haven't had any success with that (was hoping to have flash permitted from any sites in the allowed list) - I did start a thread a while back asking this but didn't get any replies

    What do you all have your trip limit set to? Ours is currently at 100 for students.

    Thanks for your help,

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    I found the limit of 100 was providing too many false positives. What we did do is add some select words/phrases with high scores so that mention of games tripped the filter.

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    ssiruuk2 (7th March 2009)

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    Ric or someone else, refresh my mind where do we add these choice words again as i've forgotten and too lazy to search the manual for it

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    Thanks for your reply Ric, to be honest I didn't realise I could add my own phrases / words and weight them.

    John I just had a look in the manual and it seems you add a user defined category and then have the option to add absolute or weighted phrases. i.e (click here to play) (50) etc

    Any pointers or tips on what keywords you used would be appreciated

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    john (8th March 2009)

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    If you point me in the direction of some "problem sites" I wil have one of our security researchers check it for content filtering possibilities. Feel free to drop me an email or post here with as many unblocked games sites as possible and I will get em jumped on.

    Meanwhile.. in Tom's evil lair of filering magic, we're working on the ultimate flash game killer. Watch this space...

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    john (8th March 2009), linkazoid (8th March 2009), ninjabeaver (8th March 2009), seacider (9th March 2009), ssiruuk2 (7th March 2009)

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    I have just been messing about with our Smoothwall at work and adding some key words like Ric suggested and bam! the majority of flash sites that were accessible to the students are now blocked

    The only site I can recall at the moment Tom that was getting passed the Smootwall is 10x10games.com - Welcome to 10x10games.com - lots of others were foreign, especially russian it seems.

    I will try and build a list of those most popular (if the kids can still get to them!) and email them over to you - thanks for your help as ever

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    NP... now I have to remember to open this thread again on monday, so an email would help

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_newton View Post
    Meanwhile.. in Tom's evil lair of filtering magic, we're working on the ultimate flash game killer. Watch this space...
    I'm watching, is it flash based as I don't see anything yet, so maybe you should make it in something that's not flash based as the box is filtering it too well

    Also, don't forget you have a button to submit block list feedback back to Smoothwall on the page at the bottom with the custom lists, I assume that they do find it useful for them to be sent back occasionally?! (awaits Tom saying thanks for the 10000000000 send lists but stop as were now overloaded!)

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    Hokay... I am on the case this morning looking for new games stuff.

    Firstly... the "submit feedback" button - do press it, and don't worry about overloading. Duplicates will be discarded

    Secondly... if anyone has a few phrases they find particularly helpful, do let me know.

    Finally... Ric - where were you finding overblocks?

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_newton View Post
    Finally... Ric - where were you finding overblocks?
    You clearly cannot remember how bad my memory is! All I can remember is that it was tripping the limit of 100 by maybe 10 points on some quite innocuous sites.

    I currently have the limit set to 160 (we must be kind!)

    Here's some example phrases (the weightings took a little tweaking but seem to work OK now).

    (pokemon)(100)
    (pokémon)(100)
    (breakout)(90)
    (game)(25)
    (online)(20)
    (fun)(20)
    (arcade)(25)
    (play)(20)
    (gossip)(15)

    And some regular expression URLs

    (pokemon|pokémon)
    (pacman)
    (intelligentedu)
    (pong)
    (game)
    (funny_old_game)

    @tom: One thing that does seem to slip through is sites where the content is simply a single Flash/Java object with virtually nothing around it. I'm not sure how you might come down harder on these though. One example of this is Play Helicopter Game Now! HELICOPTERGAME - #1 Flash game on the internet!

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    We block the word "game" in the url as a regular expression then just set up exceptions as and when needed (such as with PE, some sites have the word ligament in it). Flash games within sites with no or little text is a tricky one when the site name is some random one. Our problem now is kids running swf files from their user areas!!

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    Ric,

    Thanks for those. I have put a couple into the published lists. Some of yours "shadow" existing entries, with a higher weighting - probably because you have set a higher trip. Others are a bit overblocky, so I have left them out.

    FWIW, it is usually best to resolve overblocks by adding negatively weighted phrases, or reporting them to us and we will mangle them. Raising the limit is a bit of a last resort.

    Regarding "plain flash"... well, we do have something in the pipeline and you guys will be the first to know when it hits beta.

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    The whole thing with blocking online games is made so much more difficult by teachers requesting sites offering 'educational games', ICT teachers asking for software like 'game maker' and the many methods students now have for bringing files in to school, i.e. mail, pen drives, free web hosting, VLEs and of course any method for accessing remote drives (ssl explorer etc).
    We're pushing to move over to a whitelist system..

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_newton View Post
    Thanks for those. I have put a couple into the published lists. Some of yours "shadow" existing entries, with a higher weighting - probably because you have set a higher trip. Others are a bit overblocky, so I have left them out.

    FWIW, it is usually best to resolve overblocks by adding negatively weighted phrases, or reporting them to us and we will mangle them. Raising the limit is a bit of a last resort.
    Obviously the nature of Smoothwall's content filtering system means that it is constantly 'evolving' and some of my 'extras' have been in for a while so duplicates will occur.

    Me being evil means I'm bound to overblock rather than underblock

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    As an aside - we are using a combination of SW and TerminatorX for this - as TerminatorX can look at the title bars - its quite handy for blocking the games commonly hidden in XL files, and those brought in on memory sticks or phones. TerminatorX is a really cheap to buy and is a useful second line of defence.

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