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Website restrictions

Posted on 2007-10-14
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I would like to block access on my network to Facebook.com, Myspace.com and possibly other sites.   Can it be done via group policy?   We do not have ISA server running and are using a basic firewall/router such as Linksys.
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Question by:ccsstore
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Farhan Kazi earned 2000 total points
ID: 20076700
Greetings Ccsstore,

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Method-1
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The simplest way is to modify the HOSTS file on each PC and put an entry in it for each domain you DON'T want the users to access and point them to 127.0.0.1 (you can edit the hostile with notepad)

For example to block www.hotmail.com add this line to the end of the HOSTS file (%WINDIR%\system32\drivers\etc\)

127.0.0.1     www.hotmail.com

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Method-2
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Another way is to add an entry in your DNS server for the website with an incorrect IP address. Create a facebook.com DNS domain and then point it to an IP address in your corp network, maybe make one of your servers run IIS and put up a "Block Page" to display to the user.  Of course this can be tedious, we happen to use a content filter which sends a block page to the user when they try to access a site forbidden to them.

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Method-3
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Use Group Policy to Add the Sites into "Restricted sites" (the four groups in the "Security" tab of Internet Explorer).

NOTE: This works with only Internet Explorer not with other browsers.

http://www.chrisse.se/MAQB.asp?ID=17

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B816703

Follow above site steps and Instead of adding the sites to "Trusted sites" add the sites that you do not want be visited to "Restricted Sites".

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Method-4
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You can use IPSec IP filter lists.
http://www.jsifaq.com/subj/tip4500/rh4554.htm
http://www.petri.co.il/block_web_browsing_with_ipsec.htm

Hope this helps!
Farhan
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Expert Comment

by:rgautier
ID: 20080768
It should be mentioned that many Internet users can get around all three of the first methods without much trouble, and the fourth method won't stop some of your more determined users who will likely VPN or secure tunnel out of your network.

Policy statements, monitoring and warnings to those who break the rules may go a long way to preventing misuse of your network.  Psychology can be a strong technical control if utilized properly.

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by:Adrien de Croy
ID: 20083442
An intercepting proxy will also stop all but the more determined abusers.  You'd need to pipe all traffic through the proxy, and have it intercept web connections, and apply policy there.  Most commonly available proxy products (i.e. WinGate, WinRoute etc) will do this for you.  Depending on the product you can still allow some limited access to restricted sites as well (such as during lunch times or out of hours) - e.g WinGate has time-of-day rule capabilities.
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 20094861
the only reliable way is to force access through a proxy
This proxy must terminate all SSL connections too if you want to avoid bypassing the proxy, which breaks the trust relations ship of all SSl certificates, obviously ...
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by:Farhan Kazi
ID: 20211877
Any update Ccsstore?
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