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web filters at work

So I'm currently working at a company where myself and 60 other ppl do research on companies. This research is mostly webbased using google to find the requested company's website and many other financial info search engines.

So some of us come in today to get some work done and find that there is a webfilter up. I can't check mail at yahoo b/c "web based email is filtered." I can't get to many sites b/c they type of site they are is filtered.

I'm fairly comfident that this will be removed soon when management realizes they just severely hampered our ability to do quick, quality research (yes, the web can be useful).  Let me add that we have been more productive in the last month than our company's wildest dreams, so it's not as if this is a punishment for bad work.

Anyone else ever come up against this (filter's hampering your ablility to do quality work)? Just curious.
tim

tim
Friday, November 28, 2003

We have fairly lame filtering.

www.yahoo.com is blocked
anything-but-www.yahoo.com is not
DUMB

the firewall also does not alow .zip downloading
.exe are fine though.

again, very dumb!!

LoveByte
Friday, November 28, 2003

setup a proxy somewhere and go through that.

Tom Vu
Friday, November 28, 2003

>> setup a proxy somewhere and go through that.

Nahhh, you REALLY don't want to do that:

Some guy asked about this on the newsgroups:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&th=d9850f32b42164f2&seekm=Stidb.14305%24yD1.1722869%40news20.bellglobal.com&frame=off

Then this happened:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&th=f6b6f7a32db20c48&rnum=3

And I read on another board that Tim B. lost his job over this.

Bored Bystander
Friday, November 28, 2003

I had this problem too.  A company I used to work for made components for medical ultrasound equipment. But many of the ultrasound research sites were blocked because they contained the words "breast" or "vaginal". Luckily the guys in IS were cool and removed the blocks for me when I told them what I needed.

Nick
Friday, November 28, 2003

If you were in Los Angeles you should have filed a sexual harrassment suit that you were being forced to work with such sexist terms, demanding that the medical equipment companies remove all the terms from their websites.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, November 28, 2003

ba dum ta.

When I was at Large Financial (tm) they had a firewall like this. First was a generic firewall that blocked whatever they told it. Not good enough, when I visted WebX instead of WebEx they didn't block that...

Anyway, the 2nd version was a company that specialized in this kind of thing. When you visited a new website, you were allowed to visit, but it logged the visit & sent it to the company.

They then determined whether or not it was work related. The problem is Large Financial (tm) had a diverse group of people working for them. Lawyers, programmers, secretaries, executives, writers, marketers, translators. Whose to say what was work related and what wasn't? Yahoo may be off limits, but what about Yahoo Finance?

Then they got even worse. You couldn't even open an SSL connection. I guess when you sign up for HotScripts you have to do it from your work e-mail address because you couldn't sign up with Hotmail.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, November 28, 2003

I did a search on a new VP and one of the links was on what looked like a hot swingers site. When I clicked the link, I found it was blocked.

I was waiting for management to ask me to explain why I was trying to access a blocked site: "I was researching the new VP."

Living dangerously
Saturday, November 29, 2003

They should maybe find an in-between that works for everyone. Like block pages that would show words you would see inside major webmails and keywords that show hints you aren't doing work. I am pretty sure if they ban /. or discuss.fogcreek.com you will be just as productive.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 30, 2003

Here's a small app that will act as a proxy for your home machine (called "OfficeSurfer" ;-)

http://badblue.com/helpofs.htm

If you're worried about being watched (even if you're not restricted - yet), this will help obfuscate your destination URL's and would probably bypass most filtering software...

davem
Sunday, November 30, 2003

firewall piercers like OfficeSurfer will work as long as the traffic to it can't  be isolated.

For example if your home dsl is on dynamic ip, it would be quite troublesome for your office admin to continue to ban the right ip addresses. But if he can infer an ip address range then you are screwed again.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 30, 2003

Well, one way around this that a friend of mine figured out is to:

1. Go to Google.

2. Click on Language Tools
http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

3. Enter the URL that's being blocked into the box that's labeled, "Translate a web page:"

4.  Set the language to something nonsense, like "German to English."

It's not pretty but it works.

Chi Lambda
Monday, December 01, 2003

Hi chi!
Yeah, I'm that spoken of friend.
translate either from german to english or from portuguese to english if german still pops up key words.
Worked like a charm, but links and cookies didnt.

I make myself a habit of getting befriended with the system and maintenance fellas. Usually they are the nicest guys around so its not a problem anyway.
anyway this got me access to a linux machine, connected to the net, but not firewalled.
I raised the simplest proxy on it and I now use that to get outside. this machine has a lot of traffic anyway serving as FTP if Im not mistaken so they don't notice, and even if they would, Im friends with the sysadmins. I wouldnt get anything more then a "stop that".

It is not kosher though and if they will be replaced I will have to stop doing that.

Max
Monday, December 01, 2003

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