Firewall blocking custom built page

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brycethorup
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Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby brycethorup » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:56 am

I have built a webpage that automatically populates announcements for the leaders in our stake. It loads fine when off of the church wifi, and it was working fine when connected to the church wifi up until this morning. It now appears to be blocked by the church firewall. I have many leaders who are depending on this page for up-to-date announcement information while in meetings.

Is there any way to unblock the page? what would have caused the site to be blocked in the first place?

russellhltn
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:14 pm

The church uses a commercial filtering system. To date, I've never heard of anyone getting an exception for a ward or stake.

I think I'd review who else is on that server. The filter may not distinguish between the different "users" of the domain. Likewise, I'd look for tips on how to help the filtering service classify your site.
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Hagothsen
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby Hagothsen » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:06 pm

brycethorup wrote:I have built a webpage that automatically populates announcements for the leaders in our stake. It loads fine when off of the church wifi, and it was working fine when connected to the church wifi up until this morning. It now appears to be blocked by the church firewall. I have many leaders who are depending on this page for up-to-date announcement information while in meetings.

Is there any way to unblock the page? what would have caused the site to be blocked in the first place?


Either your page got blocked by a change in the building’s “Internet Filter Policy” (IFP) setting, or the domain of your page was just added to the blacklist appurtenant to the building’s current IFP setting. If you’re an STS you can log into the “Technology Manager” (tm.lds.org) and change the setting for a given building’s firewall under the “tools” menu. Stake leaders can do this as well. If you make a change, give it a good 20 minutes or more to see any difference. If your building’s IFP is set to “managed” you would have to get church HQ to remove the site’s domain from the blacklist. Don’t expect that to happen easily or quickly, unless you have at least a Stake President making the case for you.

If you can’t fix it using the Technology Manager, your easiest path may be to move your page to another site, or register your own domain/hosting. The church uses a blacklist, not a whitelist (unless there’s been a change I don’t know about). In a blacklist approach, the church allows everything BUT what’s on the blacklist. Technically, there are three blacklists in the IFP. The most forgiving blacklist is used under the “managed” setting. The next setting, “moderate” blocks additional sites. The most restrictive blacklist is used for the “strict” setting. Most of the internet is blocked here. In a whitelist posture, the church would allow ONLY what’s on the whitelist. Since your newly minted domain is not likely already on one of our blacklists, it would be accesable, until someone submitted it to be placed on a blacklist.

IF one of your leaders has a company issued laptop, with a company directed VPN, you MAY be able to reach your page in your building. If the company uses a whitelist, or if your page is on a site that has been blacklisted by the company, it won’t work.

russellhltn
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:18 pm

Hagothsen wrote:If you’re an STS you can log into the “Technology Manager” (tm.lds.org) and change the setting for a given building’s firewall under the “tools” menu. Stake leaders can do this as well.

Note that this should be done under the approval of the stake president. If the system isn't already in "manged" (the least restrictive setting), there may be a reason for that. Perhaps because the system overloads and leader can't use the network for it's intended purpose.
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jamiep39
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby jamiep39 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:24 pm

I had a similar problem with a personal site being blocked at the church, but found it was because I was using one of the new TLDs (a .ninja) and the TLD was blocked. If your website is a classic TLD (.com, .net, .org, etc.) and doesn't work, the approval process would probably be the only way.

If it's one of the new TLDs, it might be worth getting a .com instead, which would likely fix the block, unless the building is using one of the more restrictive policies.

brycethorup
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby brycethorup » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:08 am

Thank you for all of the feedback.

I'm the executive secretary in our stake, so I was able to check the filter level. The filter is set to "managed", so it was likely targeted specifically for blocking.

Are there any policies or guidelines that could have been at issue to lead to the page being blocked? From everything I've read so far, bandwidth protection seems to be the primary purpose of the filter. I can't imagine bandwidth being of concern since it is a basic webpage with no image/video content.

Is it possible that someone could have specifically requested that the site be blocked? Is there a form somewhere to request that a page be blocked?

If I do go through the stake president to try and get this corrected, what channel will he go through to make the request. Just the form at https://lds.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7419io3ZgfNYRoN, or is there a department he can call directly?

Any info would be useful, because if I am going to move the domain/hosting to get it working again I don't want to have to go through the process of informing leaders of changes over and over again because the site keeps getting blocked.

Thank you again for your help.

russellhltn
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:03 pm

I'm not sure just how the filtering system works. My understanding is it's a commercial product that the church uses - at least, they use a commercial product to classify all the websites. Trying to classify all the websites someone may try to go to is something too big for the church to deal with, so it makes sense that would be off-loaded to a commercial company.

Since you have access to TM, go to the filter setting and click the "feedback" link. You'll have a place to request a website be unblocked.
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brycethorup
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby brycethorup » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:58 pm

I sent a request with the form through the "feedback" link on Sunday. I haven't heard anything yet.

I discovered that the service I am using to generate the website also has the ability to save the website as a PDF and send it out with the weekly reminder email that it also generates. I'll just let the leaders that receive the email know that when on church WiFi they'll need to either switch to mobile data, or use the attached PDF until a better solution can be had.

russellhltn
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Re: Firewall blocking custom built page

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:23 pm

brycethorup wrote:I sent a request with the form through the "feedback" link on Sunday. I haven't heard anything yet.


It will likely take awhile.
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