Still celebrating National IT Professionals Day with 3 months of free Premium Membership. Use Code ITDAY17


Block Minecraft on School Network

Posted on 2013-10-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-04-04
Curious what it takes to block Minecraft from working on a school network where each student has an iPad and some of them seem to never stop playing that game even during class time?

My understanding of the Minecraft iPad app is that it can be played in solo mode or in a group over local wifi. I've implemented blocks of the TCP and UDP port that is the default for the game on my router, added it to my blocked domains list at OpenDNS, turned on the Games category in OpenDNS to block those as well, and also tagged the 3rd party content creators that I was able to identify as blocked material.

I still have students playing group games on our wifi network. There's something I'm missing but I haven't found it yet. Since local games can be run between iPads with players all connected together it does not hit the exterior of our network as far as I know. It's all internal on the network.

I'm running a Cisco 200sg-26p switch which I haven't adjusted yet. I wanted to ask about this on EE before I do. Can I use ACLs or am I just headed down the path of a cat and mouse game if I do?

Thanks for your help!
Question by:telstar_
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 2
  • 2

Accepted Solution

ZamZ0 earned 2000 total points
ID: 39592238
Are you sure they are actually using your wifi network and not just creating their own ad-hoc networks?

Do the iPads belong to the school? If so, you can make some changes through GPO to restrict access:

Go to C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc
 Open the file named "hosts" with Notepad.
 Toward the bottom, write: *

Save that and they should be blocked from accessing the browser site on that machine. You can apply this through a script in GPO as well.

echo * >> %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Alternatively, you can set up a GPO for software restriction:
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39603771
As ZamZ0 suggests, the game is creating its own peer-to-peer network. Working this way allows any two iPad owners to play together just by being in the same room. Nothing you do on a server will prevent that from happening. Whatever the solution is, it needs to work on the devices.

I would suggest a different approach, install some monitoring software on the iPads. Perhaps something like PeekTab or Mobile Spy. The tablets are property of the school so the school has every legal right to do this. You don't need to be sneaky about it, in fact its better to let people know. The idea is to prevent them from misusing the devices, knowing they are watched will stop many other behaviours, Ensure that you or another member of staff can effectively sanction any offenders in some way.

Author Comment

ID: 39628731
Asking a clarifying question:

Since most of our iPads are wifi only and not cell network capable, is this adhoc network being created outside of our wifi network or is it running it on top of our wifi network? If it's totally adhoc and not touching our wifi network at all then I will look into those programs to monitor the usage but if it's still running over our wifi network I at least need to know that so it can be included in "discussions" with the parents of repeat offenders.

This is good to know as I was not aware these iPad games were creating adhoc networks so I'm curious to learn more.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39630468
If the game is using an ad-hoc network, then it simply requires the devices to have enough proximity to each other to receive network packets. Some games will network via bluetooth. I don't think thats the case for Minecraft.

However, after reading up on the topic a little more, it may not be that simple. The hardware of an iPad is definitely capable of acting as a wi-fi hotspot and it's possible to write an app to create peer-to-peer networks but Apple probably won't allow it into the app store. The link below is a thread about playing Minecraft on an iOS through a peer-to-peer network. Apparently it requires a hotspot of some kind, though it could be a temporary one. They may have to jailbreak the iPad to make this work, theres some disagreement about that.

It's also possible to use a laptop or perhaps a phone as a wi-fi hotspot (iOS or Android). Some kids are pretty expert at this kind of thing. Can you get hold of one of these iPads and check exactly what they are doing? Whatever it is, I think they are likely to be operating in their own network. I'd be interested to know what you discover.

Author Comment

ID: 39646437
We're looking into it over the next week or two. Will post my results once we have a better idea.

Featured Post

Microsoft Certification Exam 74-409

Veeam® is happy to provide the Microsoft community with a study guide prepared by MVP and MCT, Orin Thomas. This guide will take you through each of the exam objectives, helping you to prepare for and pass the examination.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Using in-flight Wi-Fi when you travel? Business travelers beware! In-flight Wi-Fi networks could rip the door right off your digital privacy portal. That’s no joke either, as it might also provide a convenient entrance for bad threat actors.
DECT technology has become a popular standard for wireless voice communication. DECT devices are not likely to be affected by other electronic devices and signals because they operate in a separate frequency-band.
This Micro Tutorial will show you how to maximize your wireless card to its maximum capability. This will be demonstrated using Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 2230 wireless card on Windows 8 operating system.
Viewers will learn how to connect to a wireless network using the network security key. They will also learn how to access the IP address and DNS server for connections that must be done manually. After setting up a router, find the network security…

688 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question