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Logging use of computers on a LAN

Posted on 2004-04-12
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I wish to automatically and stealthily check on the usage of computers on our LAN. We run a small Internet cafe and we need to protect public computers from misuse (we suspect staff coming in at night to download stuff). At this stage, all I need to see is when computers were on and when they were switched off. Also being able to log the sites and ports visited/connected to and MB up/downloaded would be an advantage. We are connected via a Cisco 1700 with OS version 12.1 and we cannot at the moment afford a hardware firewall (we are in a poor country). Some freeware or low-cost software is needed. Maybe we have a functionality in XP which I am not aware of.
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Question by:leemingd
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Arrummzen earned 90 total points
ID: 10808964
First check
Control Panel->Administrator Tools->Event Viewer->System Log

Look for things in the time period you are interested. Things like services starting can mean the system just started up. Maybe you could use a sniffer like Etheral? Did you check your internet explorer history?

The best solution is to have a computer locked in a secure cabnet, and have all connections to the internet go through it. Install a sniffer like Etheral on it to monitor network trafic. The sniffer is the most compleat solution, just make sure they can't disable it physicaly (unpluging it from the network (Put the hub/router/switch in the cabnet with it). Make sure they can't bypass it and connect to the internet (put your modem in the cabnet as well). The sniffer will let you know -
A: Every connection they make
B: What they download upload
C: How much bandwidth is used
D: What computer did what
E: When computers were turned on (If they are connected and use DHCP, you can filter for DHCP packets)
F: What URLs were visited
G: If encryption is used, you won't be able to tell what they sent (unless you break the encryption), but you can tell who they sent it to.
H: It will record instant messanger converstaions.
Note that because it records everything it can use a lot of memory, you may want to filter out some trafic (look into Ethereals filtering abilitys). For example maybe you only want to record DNS requests (This will tell you all the host names looked up, for example www.msn.com).

In addition I would set up a video camera to watch people.

Thank you for your time,
Arrummzen
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