A parent’s guide to web filtering

Following on from my previous post where parents/guardians don’t know what their kids are up to online, I wanted to provide a simple solution that could be used by today’s Internet parents (The Enforcers :p).

Now I know that this may cause some outrage among the teens out there BUT as a recent teen and someone that has seen some of the abysmal content roaming on the internet for all the world to see, I want to help who I can, where I can, if they look for it.

So let’s get down to business shall we?

Forticlient

What’s so special about it you may ask? It’s a comprehensive AV and Web Filtering solution that can be customised (with some technical mumbo jumbo) to suit your requirements, oh and did I mention it’s completely FREE!

Here is a quick step by step guide on how to configure and implement Forticlient to your PC’s and Laptops.

  1. Download the software.
  2. Install the software using the default options (next, next, next, finish).
  3. Open the software by clicking on Start > All Programs > FortiClient > FortiClient
    Awesome home screens
  4. You’ll notice a handy little tab that’ll tickle your curiosity – yes, Parental Control.
  5. Click into the Parentl Control tab.
  6. Click on the settings button and you can now configure category based web filtering.
    Mmmm Parental Control
  7. Here is where the parental wizardy (judgement) happens. Select all the categories that you would like blocked, allowedwarned, or monitored by right clicking the category and selecting the option. By default, all categories are allowed.
    Forticlient_Categories
  8. You’ll also notice that there is a Safe Search tickbox you can select. I would go ahead and tick that as well as the “Search Engine Safe Search (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Yandex). If you type into google “Where can I get…..”, you’ll be surprised at what pops up!
  9. Once your Wizardy is complete and you’re satisfied at all the blocking you’ve done, click OK at the bottom. Your mission is almost complete…
    How do you lock settings so that the program cannot be easily uninstalled or settings altered?
  10. Lock it down: let’s do it. Click on File > Settings.
    Here you will see the settings page where you can configure other little wonderful things.
  11. Right on the bottom of the settings page, you will see a Lock. Here is where we will set our super awesome password.
    Lock it down
  12. Remember to put a password so awesome that only you will be able to remember it. Click OK on the password box, then click OK on the settings page to save the settings.
  13. Test, test, test! Try it out and see if all your hard work is actually working.
  14. Woohoo! Pat yourself on the back on a job well done 🙂

I’ll provide some more advanced management tips for this later but for now I believe you’re already one step ahead of the game!

Batch script to delete printer drivers

Friday the 13th…

HP Universal Print drivers… HP1606dn running off server 2008R2… If you’re already starting to get chills down your spine, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Have you had corrupt drivers downloaded from your print server onto your client workstations and BAM your print spooler service chugs and chugs? Here is a quick script that has saved our service desk from painstakingly removing drivers manually:

@echo off
::Delete All Printer Drivers
::Written by samontech

net stop spooler
taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe
taskkill /F /IM spoolsv.exe
taskkill /F /IM printisolationhost.exe
cd /d %windir%\system32\spool\drivers
for /F “delims=” %%i in (‘dir /b’) do (rmdir “%%i” /s/q || del “%%i” /s/q)
start explorer.exe
net start spooler

Delete All Printer Drivers.zip

Note: Any Windows Explorer windows open will automatically close.

If you have a print server and your printers are deployed via group policy, then restart your workstations. If this is a standalone machine, restart and reinstall working print drivers.

It’s still a work in progress but for the most part it should do the trick. I’ll be adding more scripts to help you with any future printer problems.

Know what your kids are up to?

It’s funny (not really) how some parents have no idea what they’re kids are up to on the internet. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram (selfies anyone?). Sure no problem. Some parents might walk by to double check that everything on the monitor looks legit (alt+tab) and some might even check their kids’ browser history just to make sure. Wow, no bad sites are showing up, that must mean my child’s doing all their homework. All smiles, right?

NO.

Incognito, Tor, VPN, Proxies… Woah. Who knows what else these kids are up to these days. I know that parents want to trust their children and believe that their little angel is using the internet for it’s intended purpose – access to an abundant amount of knowledge and information. Unfortunately, the internet can be a dark and scary place full of so many unknowns and risks that being an ignorant guardian will not cut it.

What are the risks?

  • Identity theft
  • Personal information leaked
  • Infected computers
  • De-sensitivity
  • Mental trauma
  • Distractions, distractions, distractions

My experience in the industry has led me to believe that there are too many people carelessly “sharing” information. Have you ever seen a friend setup a Facebook event requesting for “new numbers because they lost their phone”? Sometimes they forget to put their event on private *shakes head* and woop-dee-doo, their mobile number is now exposed as well as other numbers your friends may have posted. How about derm kids that unknowingly thrive on likes, hearts, retweets. I’ve seen too many instances where these same people are subjects of abuse and are prone to depression/anxiety because they seek to attain approval from anonymous “friends”. Hashtagging every #instagood possible word to reach all types of people around the world to accumulate the MOST LIKES POSSIBLE is what defines you in Generation “i“!

Some questions you should really consider before sharing anything online

  • How many people can see your Facebook profile picture, twitter posts, youtube videos?
  • What type of people can see these posts? Employers, Corporations, Paedophiles, Family, Workmates?
  • What can these people do with this information? Right click, save picture as, photoshop, post…
  • You probably think, who the heck would care anyway? Believe me, there are people out there that do care.

The information is no longer yours once it’s on the internet. As soon as it’s online, it’s there for the taking.

Microsoft Exchange Administration Tips

Ever found yourself in a situation where all your staff have an unlimited quota for their Exchange mailboxes? Or you wanted to find out who your biggest culprits for large mailboxes were?

I ran into a situation yesterday where a manager requested that a quota be applied to all mailboxes but providing exclusions to the higher ups 🙂 now when you’re talking about a small site with 10 users it doesn’t sound too bad but as soon as your mailbox database starts dealing with hundreds or thousands of users, things don’t seem quite as easy. Fear not! Powershell is here to save us all!

Here are a few simple commands that may help you:

View all mailbox quotas
get-mailbox -filter { usedatabasequotadefaults -eq $false -AND recipientTypeDetails -eq ‘usermailbox’  }

Retrieve mailbox sizes
Get-MailboxStatistics -Database “Mailbox Database Name” | Select DisplayName, ItemCount, TotalItemSize | Sort-Object TotalItemSize -Descending | Export-CSV C:\MailboxSizes.csv

Set all mailboxes to use database defaults
get-mailbox -filter { usedatabasequotadefaults -eq $false -AND recipientTypeDetails -eq ‘usermailbox’  } | set-mailbox -UseDatabaseQuotaDefaults $true

Excluding special users

  1. Open Exchange Management Console
  2. Go to Microsoft Exchange On-Premises > Recipient Configuration > Mailbox.
  3. Locate the mailbox you want to provide an exception for. Right click and select properties.
  4. Click on Mailbox Settings > Storage Quota > Properties
  5. Untick “Use mailbox database defaults”
  6. Tick the options required and set the values for warning, prohibit send etc.

Now that you’ve set an awesome default mailbox size limit, want some customised warning messages? You know it!

Customize Quota Messages

Warning 
New-SystemMessage -QuotaMessageType WarningMailbox -Language EN -Text “Your mailbox is now within xMB of the allowable size limit. Please clean out emails to reduce your mailbox size. Move items to public folders or delete any items you don’t need from your mailbox and empty your Deleted Items folder.”

Prohibit Send
New-SystemMessage -QuotaMessageType ProhibitSendMailbox -Language EN -Text “Your mailbox can no longer send messages as the size limit has been reached. Please reduce your mailbox size. Move items to public folders or delete any items you don’t need from your mailbox and empty your Deleted Items folder.”

Prohibit Send and Receive (Ouch!)
New-SystemMessage -QuotaMessageType ProhibitSendReceiveMailbox -Language EN -Text “Your mailbox can no longer send or receive messages as the size limit has been reached. Please reduce your mailbox size. Move items to public folders or delete any items you don’t need from your mailbox and empty your Deleted Items folder.”