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Seeking software to create a walled garden

Posted on 2009-04-06
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a client who would like to place a computer in the public part of their office for use by visitors. They would like to restrict access to a pre-selected list of sites.

As the client is a charity, we'd like to keep things as cheap as possible. That eliminates the use of a hardware solution including putting in a separate linux box to act as a proxy.

Can anyone recommend some free/cheap proxy software that can be configured to proxy only sites from an authorised list? It should run on Windows XP.

Thanks
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Question by:BrendanKing
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johnb6767 earned 500 total points
ID: 24090007
Keep your shared access computers running smoothly with Windows SteadyState
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/sharedaccess/default.mspx

Havent used this myself, as I normally lock a system down manually, but I believe this can do it.....

I have used this before.....

Browse the Web with Internet Explorer 6 and Content Advisor
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/security/contentadv/config.mspx#EBF

See the heading titled "Limit Access to Web Sites"
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by:BrendanKing
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If the blurb is correct, looks like Steady State will do the job, thank you.

How do you lock your systems down manually?
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24093822
Registry editing directly, or by GPO.....
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by:BrendanKing
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Downloaded SteadyState tonight and installed it. Certainly very useful for the user restrictions part of things. Clumsy fingers won't be deleting Program Files any time soon :)

Unfortunately the walled garden aspect of the application isn't very well developed. There's a single field in which you can put your permitted addresses. It says to put in just the domain names, separated with a semicolon. eg microsoft.com; msn.com. Unfortunately as soon as you put in a second domain, it errors. Even when I copy/pasted the example! The single field would also quickly become very unwieldy.

I'm thinking it might work best if I install some proxy software on another PC and use that to do the browse restrictions. Know any that will limit users to a list of authorised addresses?

Thanks!
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by:johnb6767
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Personally, I would look at the Content Advisor, which is built into IE, before using a proxy on another workstation....
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by:BrendanKing
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Content Advisor is a "safe search" function rather than a kiosk function. The wording for the auth list is "approved sites that you can always get to regardless of how a site is rated". The ratings section doesn't have a "block all" setting. So I'm not sure that this is ideal but I'll take a look. Thanks.
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by:johnb6767
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From the link above.....

Browse the Web with Internet Explorer 6 and Content Advisor
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/security/contentadv/config.mspx#EBF

See the heading titled "Limit Access to Web Sites"    <~~~~~~~~~~~~ It stops access to the page, unless it is approved....
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by:BrendanKing
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The wording on the Approved Sites tab is "You can create a list of websites that are always viewable or never viewable regardless of how they are rated." In conjuction with the "do not allow access to unrated sites" this works, though the popups get a little frustrating. Thanks for your help though! I think I will end up going with a proxy so I can get a simple "prohibited site" page load instead of popups you need to click to get rid of.

Thanks.
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