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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, EMBC Filtering Inadequacies in Technical; We had an incident of bullying on facebook this week on our network, and my superiors are wanting to step ...
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    Batman's Avatar
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    EMBC Filtering Inadequacies

    We had an incident of bullying on facebook this week on our network, and my superiors are wanting to step things up a little with regard to effective internet filtering. The fact of the matter is that the students should not have been on facebook because it was blocked, but they had sidestepped the embc filter by using a proxy. Something I'm sure you're all familiar with... new proxy websites seem to spring up all the time and we can't keep up with blocking them ourselves.

    My question is this; should we expect embc to catch these sites? Has anyone else encountered and overcome this problem whilst on embc? Are other filtering systems (eg. Smoothwall, Dan's Guardian) more effective at combating the problem?

    We know for a fact that students are quietly and consistently managing to use the same sites to get onto stuff they're not supposed to; we block the ones we catch but we can't catch them all.

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    short answer


    yes


    we currently have smoothwall on eval, looking to buy it soon...

    It rocks! As many other members will tell you


    Anonymous proxies, and games sites etc, are completely a thing of the past...

    Give them a call and get an evaluation of it if you want to try it

  3. 2 Thanks to andy_d:

    Batman (2nd December 2009), tom_newton (2nd December 2009)

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    EMBC school - bought Smoothwall a couple of months back, haven't seen any incidents of proxy sites anywhere yet (and I put securus on looking for the word facebook and the only hits were links on sites). I was getting a little annoyed with the EMBC filtering, and the poor reporting and lack of dynamic content filtering, so went and found how good life is with Smoothwall. If you'd like to see it in action, let me know.

    Cheers

  5. 2 Thanks to Willott:

    Batman (2nd December 2009), tom_newton (2nd December 2009)

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    you might find that Circumventor web sites are being used to get round things,
    bypass web filters (websense, 8e6, smartfilter, lightspeed, etc.) with tips from Peacefire.org is one of them, even if you block a site ie EduGeek.net
    sometimes https gets round things and people often forget to block both.

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    Some of the SSL proxy sites don't have a non-SSL version, so tend to be picked up less quickly by URL based filters - Smoothwall has (I believe the only) SSL MITM filtering, where SSL streams are opened by the smoothwall box, dynamic content filtering is done by the smoothwall box, and then passed to the client -it's a highly useful tool in the blocking of proxy sites!

    Cheers

    Will

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    tom_newton (2nd December 2009)

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    silver_uk's Avatar
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    smoothwall

    Willott - here is the details of the guy that we use for all our smoothwall needs.

    Its a new product to me, straight forward and effective, I have even managed to beat the kids at flash filtering there games.

    We use the UTM appliance version.


    Have funmate

    Silver_uk


    details as promised................


    Gavin Logan

    Education Sales Manager
    SmoothWall Ltd

    0113 3874 168 - Direct line
    Gavin.logan@smoothwall.net

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    tom_newton (2nd December 2009)

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    You should also log your complaint with the EMBC service desk as they'll be able to run a report for your site and see which URLs are getting through.

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    Batman (2nd December 2009)

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    mpe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    My question is this; should we expect embc to catch these sites? Has anyone else encountered and overcome this problem whilst on embc?
    We know for a fact that students are quietly and consistently managing to use the same sites to get onto stuff they're not supposed to; we block the ones we catch but we can't catch them all.
    The obvious question is how to the students find out about them? In the case of mailing lists it isn't exactly rocket science for RBC to sign up to them, etc.

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    How much does a smoothwall box cost?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobos View Post
    How much does a smoothwall box cost?
    It all depends on the number of licences / spec of the box or software version your after. Its built up bit by bit to give you the cost.

    We can probably give you a ball park figure, but probably best speaking to smoothwall direct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    It all depends on the number of licences / spec of the box or software version your after. Its built up bit by bit to give you the cost.

    We can probably give you a ball park figure, but probably best speaking to smoothwall direct.
    Can you give us the ballpark?

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    john's Avatar
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    As another Smoothwall UTM user, I am VERY happy and pleased with it, so much so I am a case study for Smoothwall. When I started in post the Internet was out of control at our place, since I implemented the Smoothwall solution it became much more under control and its now a teaching and learning tool not a distraction to teaching and learning.

    I highly recommend that people look at it, it really is worth the money it costs us as its just so darned powerful and every time they do an update it adds brilliant new features, often requested by people like us on here!.

    I know I am only one of many happy Smoothwall users here on the forums, Ric being another one who has a UTM appliance.

    As for costs, Gav (who is refered to above) will be more than happy to help, but as Tom Newton posted the other day on a thread elsewhere on here, Smoothwall don't make money on the tin, its not the aim of it, its purely a little 1U appliance perfectly optimised for the Smoothwall product and the job it does as some people such as me just want a box to bolt in, plug in and go rather than building a server, setting it up, ensuring *nix compatibility with components etc, so within 30 minutes I had it rack mounted, connected up, talking to the LAN and people being filtered through it all without any problems or concerns.

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    GAV (3rd December 2009)

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    Thanks guys - we love you too

    We try extremely hard on the anonymiser/proxy front. Certainly with SSL MITM (we are one of a handful of vendors offering this, in truth) i'd expect 99-point-something effectiveness. We will improve though

    Next target: games. I believe the flash filter has made inroads., It is young yet though - so feedback required!

  20. Thanks to tom_newton from:

    john (2nd December 2009)

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    I'll take a deep breath and respond politely.

    @Batman - you have a PM

    EMBC users ... please, please, please do me a favour. Without feedback to your LAs things cannot be improved. If you are having problems with your filtering please let people know ... this is really important to Northants members.

    As for Smoothwall, yep ... good kit and works very well. I've still got to catch up with Tom and co about good examples of it setup in Northants to still get the most of EMBC stuff (and I was talking with Gav today and that hadn't jogged my memory!)

    The other thing I would say (and this is really for all RBCs) is that if you are going to make a change from your RBC controlled filters make sure you have sign off from your Head as they are the people legally responsible (and yes ... there will be a fresh wave of paperwork for Northants folk in the coming months on this) and then also make sure you have an audit trail / change control within your school so should something go wrong you have someone backing you up.

    An example would be to note all machines and users that have 'lower' levels of filtering, get this agreed by the Head (or designated member of SLT), any changes to filters are reviewed at least fortnightly (puts some accountability on you but also means you have someone supporting you when you have blocked a site that someone else wants) and make sure you also go through the filters unless there is something specific you need to access that is blocked. At that point release the restrictions (or use a more relaxed account) and then go back the regular levels.

    Safeguarding is a big thing for OFSTED at the moment and could be checked in a variety of different way.

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    Tony - see PM. We will catch up soon. May even be worth us coming to see you next week?

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