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advice on getting rid of illegal software and MP3

Posted on 2003-03-06
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Need some advice.

On Windows 2000 domain, with all windows 2000 pro computers.  Need a way to keep control of illegal software and MP3s installed on computers.  I have been doing random checks and deleting MP3 manually.  Is there a practice to prevent this or a software that can scan pc and delete MP3s.  

I tried giving out a computer usage policy but it doesn't seem to work.  These people work in a different building and I cannot look over their shoulder at will.

thank
sopheak
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Question by:sopheak
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Accepted Solution

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KB8PNC earned 400 total points
ID: 8084006
I have seen several innovative approaches to this problem although each has some significant drawbacks:

1. I have seen sites where they use a product such as Symantec Ghost, setup a "ghost server" with some very large hard drives, and image each of the workstations in their "clean" state to an image file on the server.  Then through out the month (on fridays or saturdays), systematically reimage the workstations.  After a while, the users will get the picture that storing files on the workstations is pointless.

2. I am not a big proponent of this solution however - if the users are only using a handful of applications, you could implement a citrix server farm, and force the users to work off of the citrix servers where you have control.

3. You could write a script to scan hard drives periodically for MP3 files and delete them. (create a .cmd batch file, or a VB Script, then activate it on workstations using the scheduler service)

4. You could contact your antivirus vendor, and ask them for a "extra.dat" file that will target MP3 files - thus treating them like viruses and deleting them.  (Will probably cost a little extra cash, but would be effective in killing MP3 and other unwanted files), some antivirus packages will even "alert" you at the server when it has found those files.

5. (Hightly recommended) - setup a firewall/transparent proxy solution, then filter out websites (such as gator, hotbar, webshots, etc...) that install software on the PC's, also block certain file downloads (such as MP3's)

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Expert Comment

by:techi03
ID: 8084332
U should also block  ports used by P2P software like kazaa, on your router or gateway. This will prevent them from downloading.
P2P software are the main source of downloading Mp3.
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Expert Comment

by:el_burizone
ID: 8084965
1. The brand of products, you are searching is called software audit. These programms won't probably be able to delete files you are talking about, but they will give evidence good enough to take the actions against those people.
Very easy to use and maybe quite suitable for your situation is EZaudit: http://www.atconsulting.com
Or more sofisticated but harder to use is AuditPro: http://www.auditpro.cz/auditpro/en/
These both have more features than just pure 'illegal software and mp3 searching' so their usage can promote you as an administrator to the 'next level' of hw&sw management :))

2. The other solution is batch scan and deletion. You can also do it via net, by using default shares. (every computer with NT+ shares it's disks: c: like c$, d: like d$ etc.) These shares are not visible but as long as you are domain administrtor, you have full access to computers'local drives.) You can do this during night is LAN's bandwidth won't be influed in prime time. Of course do not expect detection or elimination of illegal software.

3. The worst but the easiest and the cheapest solution is batch scanning initiated by login script... which will be run or every startup and slow down staff's work.

4. Also think about that people won't be happy about any action you take against themand their's mp3z...
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Expert Comment

by:ascension1014
ID: 8085184
You have been givn a few good solutions to your problem, so I'll offer only a comment. I've only been in the industry a few years, but I've already learned that some things build worker morale even though they are not mission critical. Many companies have limited web access for employees and practically all offices allow the playing of cd's on the pc. I agree that the p2p's should be forbidden as they are dangerous to have on a corporate network, but why ban mp3's?
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8085700
you can also try belarc adivisor and ePolicy Orchastror for software auditing and policy enforcement over LAN
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Author Comment

by:sopheak
ID: 8085806
ascension1014, MP3 are banned on our network because it is a legal liability to our company.  I DO allow them to listen of cds on their computer, but not store any music on our company computers.

I have tried many of these options mentioned, from blocking websites to ports.  I have only 10 ports open, but many of the p2p programs can use ports such as 80.  I have thought about login script scans, but I would get much complaints about performance.  

I am very interested in the Symantec Antivirus solution... we currrently us Corporate edition and it works great for virus.
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Expert Comment

by:ascension1014
ID: 8094097
sopheak,

That makes sense. I just thought that with all of the cd ripping software it would be difficult to prove that a mp3 was an illegal copy rather than one ripped by the purchaser of the cd...
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Expert Comment

by:mesican
ID: 8114019
Just another soultion, if you are willing to give up a little cash you can invest in a great piece of hardware called a Packet Shapper ( http://www.packeteer.com/products/packetshaper/ ).
This not only manages the bandwidth you can give to p2p networks you can also block them. It works on the application layer of the osi and can see where packets are coming from or too. One example my school does is only allow like 1 kbps for music/file/movie downloads on p2p networks, no one wants to wait that long to download that so no one does it. Just another solution.
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