Why internet filtering can be a bad idea

This forum contains discussions related to keeping families and individuals safe while making use of technology. Acceptable topics would range from how to protect families from Internet predators and online pornography, monitoring and protecting cell phone usage and text messaging, locking unwanted television and movies from various devices, protecting and monitoring computer game usage, and promoting safe Internet and technology use.
Hillshum-p40
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Postby Hillshum-p40 » Mon May 25, 2009 11:46 am

The prime use for filtering is to prevent accidental stumbling on icky stuff, IMO. I (as a 15 year old) could easily bypass anything my parents set up if I wanted to. Posting logs online publicly is an interesting idea, I believe using Tor would thwart it though.
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scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Mon May 25, 2009 12:19 pm

I've been using the internet daily (pretty much) for at least 15 years now. The *only* time creepy stuff was on my computer turned out to by via the other adult in my home at that time. Teenagers who are generally behaving aren't a problem, per se. Creepy adults are. When my children have had assignments where I thought search terms had a probability of hitting bad sites, I searched in advance and fed them some terms on specific search engines that came up clean. And the creepy adult is long gone.

jpjones~ogr
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Postby jpjones~ogr » Mon May 25, 2009 3:30 pm

This discussion is very interesting. Web pornography affects our ward, as well as others in our stake. Also, some families I help with PC maintenance try to use filtering software, and I'm finally getting useful information I can share.

My current question is, can I stop using Spyware Blaster and Spybot for filtering/blocking if I use K9? Spybot should still have value as an occasional scanning tool.

I very much appreciate the collective knowledge being imparted, as well as the gospel perspectives.

JJ

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Mon May 25, 2009 5:54 pm

jpjonesxyz wrote:My current question is, can I stop using Spyware Blaster and Spybot for filtering/blocking if I use K9? Spybot should still have value as an occasional scanning tool.
Spyware Blaster and Spybot Search and Destroy are not filters but rather anti-spyware and anti-malware software. Their function and behavior is different from a filter. Filters are designed to prevent access to certain websites or web pages. Anti-spyware and anti-malware programs try to prevent malicious software from infecting your computer. Sometimes the functionality of anti-malware programs utilize the capabilities of web browsers that block certain web sites and therefore appear to function as a filter. With that in mind you may want to keep an anti-malware program in addition to a web filter.
JD Lessley
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon May 25, 2009 9:15 pm

jdlessley wrote:Spyware Blaster and Spybot Search and Destroy are not filters but rather anti-spyware and anti-malware software.


But how does the real-time portion of it work? I think both of them tend to rely on black listed sites to block them or at least place them in the "restricted sites" category. But if K9 is updated fast enough, then by blocking access to those sites, then it would appear redundant.

I agree that Spybots scan function is still worthwhile, as is the "TeaTimer" that detects changes being made.

I'm not sure just how Spyware Blaster works.
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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue May 26, 2009 3:03 am

RussellHltn wrote:I'm not sure just how Spyware Blaster works.

Spyware Blaster's main function blacklists all known malicious Active-X controls by by adding their CLSIDs to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility, then adding a dword value of "Compatibility Flags" with a hex value of 400. This is known as the "kill bit", as explained in this Microsoft Knowledge Base article. It can also block certain cookies and malicious websites in a similar fashion.

The nice thing is, it only has to be running to update the various blacklists. Once set, your machine is protected passively. Because of this, there is no reason to stop using it if you are also running something like K9.

Spybot S&D uses both active and passive filtering techniques and is also compatible with K9.

There is nothing wrong with overlapping layers of protection (think of an onion) as long as they don't contend with each other. For example, multiple software firewalls running will cause serious contentions and is considered a no-no. However, having a software firewall and a hardware firewall (usually your router) is not only acceptable, it's recommended.
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JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue May 26, 2009 7:57 am

I was using Spybot S8D and AdAware before I got K9 just after it came out. At that time I was getting some 70 suspicious bots and tracking cookies a week mostly from stuff viewed in webmail client ads. I installed K9 and that dropped that to about 20 a week, now it's zilch. That came after adding AVG Free to the mix.

One interesting feature I've heard about regarding K9 is its ability to block anything you might have picked up from 'phoning home' so to speak. That is, any malware still resident on your system that sends data back to the 'mothership' is prevented from doing so.

For phishing, there's an interesting site called Phishtank.net that is an aggregator for info on phishing sites, they have an API that others can build on to make very good antiphishing tools, and what appears to be the mother of all databases on suspicious websites, updated continuously as new ones are spotted.

marlattrj-p40
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Hardware option

Postby marlattrj-p40 » Thu May 28, 2009 8:02 am

I have used k9 in the past however the problem that I hear from people is that is slows down their computer. There is an Open Source Firewall/Web Filter system called Untangle.

Untangle is easy to install just download, burn it to a CD and install it on a old computer. It has a userfriendly dashboard which makes it easy for the non-computersavy user to use it. Hardware solutions provide the following advantages:

1. Frees up resources on desktops (Disk space, memory, CPU, etc)
2. Provides greater protection then just content filtration (ie Firewall, Spam Filter, Protocol Control, Spyware/Malware and Virus blocking)
3. Easy to deploy - you only need to install it on one computer and it protects the entire household.

I know that there are other solutions similar to Untangle out there this is the one that I have had success using.

steph.younger
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Untangle?

Postby steph.younger » Thu May 28, 2009 9:40 am

I hadn't heard of Untangle before. I just read up on it, and it seems to have been received pretty well so far.

Each of the installation options look pretty straightforward ... I'd be interested in finding out what the pros/cons of each would be in a typical household environment.

- Stephen

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu May 28, 2009 10:47 am

marlattrj wrote:3. Easy to deploy - you only need to install it on one computer and it protects the entire household.


How does that work? Is it a computer with two NICs that's placed between the household and the Internet or does it act as a proxy and require you to configure all the clients to use it?
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