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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Help a teacher become a hacker?
    I am a third grade teacher, and I need help getting around my school's firewall, which is the dreaded "Bess" site blocker.

    Let me clear one thing up first: I am NOT attempting to look at Facebook, MySpace, BrittanySpears.com, or HotNakedChickoftheDay.com while at work. Our IT folks have in place the same blocker for teachers and students, and they do not allow us any way to get around it. For that matter, they will not even let me have the password to use the wireless internet with my personal Mac. This is just the way they operate.

    This firewall makes my life difficult on a routine basis. Along with the regular sites that everyone blocks, I am unable to access sites that provide free e-books for teachers; Voki; and today I could not access a site called "resizemyimage.com" to change the dimensions of a classroom photo. It is driving me crazy!

    I have tried setting up a proxy through the system preferences>network>advanced etc. method with no luck. I get a message saying something like "the server does not recognize the proxy"; I have tried using MacProxy--no luck. I have tried setting up the proxy through the Firefox settings--no luck. I have tried the web-based proxies; only one out of MANY has worked, and it does not work very well (not well enough to be of any use to me). I assume there are some things I must not understand and/or am doing wrong--there is no way that this Bess program is THAT strong! Is it?

    BTW--I know the problems/dangers/immorality/trouble-I-could-get-into-if-caught inherit with trying to subvert the firewall. If you can help me, I would greatly appreciate it!! However, if you simply want to tell me why I should not try this, you need not waste your time (or, more to the point, mine!) My thanks to anyone who can help!

  2. #2

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaHatter View Post
    However, if you simply want to tell me why I should not try this, you need not waste your time (or, more to the point, mine!)
    I'm going to "waste" my time anyway. You shouldn't be doing this as the firewall is probably there for a very good reason. If you really need access to these sites for academic and professional reasons, there should be no reason that the IT dept. at your school can't give you access. Simply explain the reasons why and make sure to mention the necessity of visiting blocked sites for the effective undertaking of your job.
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  3. #3

    D3v1L80Y's Avatar
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    Yes, if the firewall is deterring you from your job duties all you need to do is explain it to the school's IT department.
    If certain blocked sites are necessary and/or helpful to performing your job duties, then let them know and the IT department can add those to the whitelist.
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  4. #4

    cwa107's Avatar
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    And it also goes without saying that if you violate the school's terms of service and are caught, you are subject to disciplinary action. Having worked in IT for many years, I can tell you that it's quite easy to detect.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  5. #5

    Eric559's Avatar
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    I wasted my time reading this thread.

    Easier way is to tell IT what sites are needed and why they should be unblocked.

    Oh yeah, bypassing a content filter does not make you a hacker haha.
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  6. #6

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaHatter View Post

    I have tried setting up a proxy through the system preferences>network>advanced etc. method with no luck. I get a message saying something like "the server does not recognize the proxy"; I have tried using MacProxy--no luck. I have tried setting up the proxy through the Firefox settings--no luck. I have tried the web-based proxies; only one out of MANY has worked, and it does not work very well (not well enough to be of any use to me). I assume there are some things I must not understand and/or am doing wrong--there is no way that this Bess program is THAT strong! Is it?
    Just to get into a little more detail, what you've done to-date is likely futile. If they're smart, they don't allow ANY traffic bound for the public Internet. Instead, anything is redirected to their own proxy server, which determines its suitability and delivers the content to you (or denies it entirely). That's how our system works.

    And the beauty of it is that every time that proxy is told to go fetch, it logs exactly what you were looking for. So, when it's time to do a usage report, all we have to do is query the logs for any activity done under your username and we get a picture of your habits. The software we use for proxy analysis is called "WebTrends" and even does an on-the-fly analysis to produce a very nice report. Then HR (or whomever requests the report) gets lovely charts plotting your usage patterns, your most visited sites, which times of the day you browse most frequently, even what terms you've searched for recently.

    It's quite cool to see from an IT perspective - it never ceases to amaze me how people can be so aloof in their habits, never knowing that everything is on permanent record and subject to periodic audits.

    So, that's precisely why you're getting these kinds of responses (I assume from your tone, you've asked the same questions elsewhere).

    Here's the little box we use, BTW...

    Blue Coat proxy appliances
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Apr 11, 2009
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    I guess some of you just couldn't resist, huh? Thanks for the preaching--your the father I never had! Yes, I have already asked them, which is how I know that they WON'T let me around it. And, I assumed they could track me, which is why I said I know the risk of trying. As for HR checking up on me--I am guessing you deal with a much sharper bunch of HR folks than I do. If they even know what a content filter is, I'll give half my paycheck to the next person I see wearing yellow. And I am willing to take my chances once it's found out that I am trying to covertly access e-textbooks online, or, oh my god, trying to resize a picture of our end of the year class party. But you're right; a pedestrian moron like me--who doesn't even know what qualifies someone as a hacker--couldn't possibly comprehend the wisdom behind IT's decision to prevent me from creating a talking cartoon cat that tells kids the rules of addition.

    If it can't be done, say it can't be done, and leave it at that; or, even better, say nothing. If anyone has anything productive to say, I'd still like to hear it. Otherwise, why not start a little group with the other folks on here, where you can ***** about how "aloof" us technically unsavvy people are? I am sure THAT wouldn't be a waste of your time.

  8. #8

    D3v1L80Y's Avatar
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    We're done here.
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