Beating the IT Crippler

4 01 2008

I know I’ll regret this one. I work in IT and I’ve seen people try some of this. Perpetuating the info probably isn’t too smart. Karma’s a bitch but…I just don’t like being told I can’t do something. I can’t stand being outsmarted. And even any limits imposed on me that aren’t specifically against me, I still have this need to know I could overcome if I needed to. This goes for anything, but for this blog, I’ll be talking about the lockdown your school/work puts on you. First, the easy, basic stuff.

What to do when Internet Explorer is disabled on a public computer.

Chances are there may be some form of internet connection, otherwise, why disable IE, right? Well, here’s something to try but it may not work if the computer uses a proxy server. Use the help menu. Yup. Fire up whatever you can. It can be something like Paint or the Calculator … anything with a Help menu. Once you’ve opened something up, press F1 | Right Click | Jump to URL | type in an address. There ya go. Just make sure to enter “http://” first, no quotes.

Need access to the file structure?

I once had a job where some computers didn’t have access to My Computer and auto play was turned off. So what? No access to flash drives. Not sure what the intention from IT was here but this group didn’t disable Winkey shortcuts (or they could have just disabled external media). That little flag looking key to left of your spacebar can be good for something sometimes. Yah, it does more than pop open your start menu. Win+E = Opens Explorer and the folder view. Browse to your hearts content.

Installing Programs and Instant Messaging.

This one’s tough. If you can’t install anything it means you don’t have admin privileges. Unless you luck out and the IT guy/girl leaves your computer logged in to an admin profile or the local computer, you can’t install anything. BUT … I’m gonna burn for this one…you can change the local admin password thus allowing you install anything you want. I’ll cover this next. But for now, the easiest (and less likely to get you fired) way is to run apps from a USB stick. Portableapps.com is all I have to say. Ceedo.com for running any app, not just the ones on the Portableapps site

As for IM, even if you manage to get a chat client installed, theres a good chance the ports are blocked so you’ll never connect. For this, use sites like Meebo.com, koolim.com, ebuddy.com. These sites use the http protocol (Port 8080) to communicate with the messaging servers which means if you have internet, you have a way in.

Changing the local admin password.

For this to work, you need to be logged into a network account with admin privilages or the local computer.
– Click Start | Run | CMD press enter | type “net user” enter. This shows you the local accounts. See “Administrator?”
– Now type ” net user Administrator * ” It will ask for a new password. The cursor will not move, don’t worry, it’s working. enter. Retype. enter. Good to go.

If you want something stealthier, so local IT doesn’t realize their PW has been changed, you can add a new account that only you know about. Start with the same as above. In the command prompt window:
– net user add Username Password /add
– net user localgroup Administrators Username /add

Accessing Blocked Websites

Web filters are getting better … and this one is hard. If your company uses Websense, you’re pretty much hosed. (maybe) You used to be able to do simple things like going to Google translate, type in a website and translate from English to English and viola. Some filters don’t monitor the websites IP address, only the URL. To find a site’s IP go here and type it in. You could also find “cached” or older versions of the site. This one doesn’t work for too well for sites that change regularly, (ie. MySpace, Facebook etc) Do this by going here and read up.

These aren’t very effective ways around these blocks. But as I said earlier, you keep looking until you FIND a way, depending on much you already know or are willing to learn, there’s a way around (even Websense) The following may be beyond the scope of this article so feel free to shoot me line with any questions. Just remember though, Google knows everything.

Remote Control a computer with no restrictions (a home computer)

– Setup a VNC server on your home computer and remote in to your own computer from school/work with a VNC viewer.
or
– Use something easier to setup, but require someone from home to help you out. Read here — Crossloop

And for the extreme nerds (I don’t get any of the following, so don’t ask me, I found it on some forum)

1) set up an ssh server at home (this can also be done using cygwin on Windows)
2) unblock port 22 from any firewalls and forward it on any routers
3) get an account on dyndns.org, no-ip.com, or another Dynamic DNS service, and get an updater client (this way you can remember your hostname instead of your public IP, which might change from time to time)
4) To surf the web, you just need to use your own computer as a proxy. Use ssh -D 1080 [user]@[hostname], or on Windows, use putty and set up dynamic forwarding in the GUI
5) Open your webbrowser with a socksifier. On Windows, use FreeCap, and on Linux, use ProxyChains.

So, I dont really advise anyone to do any of this. It could get you in trouble or fired. And it definitely gives your employer a reason to fire you, just in case they’re already looking. I can only hope that by the time I manage a network, stuff like this won’t be a problem *wishful thinking*

_____
L8z,
AleX

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“Grandpa?…What was…D…R…M?”

14 08 2007

Apples equivalent of a Blue ScreenNo doubt Apple has taken a huge bite out of music piracy. The selling of their 3 billionth song isn’t absolute proof of that, but still pretty damn impressive considering it took them 2 years and 6 months for their 1st billion, 10 months for their second and a quick 6 months for yet another billion. It’s pretty obvious that more and more people are turning to the convenience of iTunes, especially when combined with the 110 million iPods they claim to have sold. (Yes that includes the replacements for those who know who my little friend to the left is) Most people who still refuse to get their music from the iTunes Music Store do so because of the limits imposed by the DRM-ridden songs. Digital Rights Management won’t allow you to play your purchased song on any portable music player other than your iPod that’s registered to YOUR account of iTunes. So say your brother bought a song under his account, on your computer, and you like it. Wanna put it on your iPod…tough. DRM sometimes pushes would-be honest consumers to attain their digital entertainment by other “questionable” means.

However, the restless Google will soon offer an alternative. Google will soon bring you gBox, while working with Universal Records, to bring DRM free music at up to 256 kbps. iTunes recently launched iTunes+ which allows you to purchase  SOME DRM free music (meaning you can play it on anything, not just your iPod or a burned CD.) Though the audio quality is stunted at an adequate 196 kbps on iTunes+, audiophiles swear that the AAC format is superior to MP3. They offer this at $1.30 per song. I personally like FLAC but that’s neither here nor there. gBox will offer DRM MP3s encoded at 256kbps for only $.99, $.31 cents cheaper than its main competition. Will it take?

I was interested to know how Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) was taking the news of the partnership between Google and Universal especially since Apple and Google have been coming together on many things. For example: the integration of some Google Apps on iWork and iLife, Google CEO Dr. Eric Shmidt being on the Apple Board of Directors, YouTube on the iPhone and Apple TV (Google owns YouTube.) I was also surprised because of Universal’s on and off fueding with Apple. Is Google risking becoming another entry on Fake Steve Job’s “frigtard” list. Not so much, no.  I came to find that Google’s relationship with Universal is one of strictly advertising. When users search for their song or artist, Google will simply facilitate the process of using gBox. They get no cut of the music sales from Universal. (Not that they’d need it, what with AdSense and all.) gBox will be released as beta soon. Good news to come. When? 21 Aug 07 – 31 Jan 08.

On another Apple related story, Leopard, which is scheduled to released in October, now runs on non-Mac hardware. Not officially anyway. This is of course, illegal,  since it violates their End-User License Agreement BUT, you know those cooky developers and/or hackers. I wouldn’t recommend it though. I mean yes because it’s illegal but also because it’s a 46 step process in which you will need extensive console/command prompt knowledge, scripting and patience (aka finger-crossing). For those with more that 10 fingers to cross, here’s something to get you started. (Sorry, no IE users)

L8z,
AleX