Bypassing School/College Firewall


College and School Computer Centre Admins do their best to irritate students by blocking several websites like Facebook, Youtube etc. using firewalls or Content Filtering softwares. But as in any security scheme, there are workarounds. Some of them are highly popular and reliable. Even though the admins know these techniques, most of them don’t take the effort to block these techniques. So there is a big chance that your admins might also come under this category. There are many techniques to by-pass firewall protection and web-filtering. But I’m giving you three techniques that are highly reliable and have a high success rate.

Preliminary Checks…

First and foremost ensure that there is no admin or staff is behind you and choose a terminal (PC) that is away from their view. Next, never have friends who cant keep their mouth shut. Keep this to yourself. Then, the most important thing you will be needing to do all sort of dirty jobs is the Command Prompt. An average computer user would never dare to even open it let alone work with it. But for a computer geek like you and me, it opens up a whole new world. So first verify whether your admin has blocked the cmd prompt or not. You can do this by just opening run from start menu or using “Windows Key + R” shortcut. Then in the run window type ‘cmd’ without quotes and press Enter. If it is not blocked, a black console screen should open up. If it shows a message that it has been blocked don’t worry, there are several ways to access it. So, if you have access to the cmd prompt I advice you to skip the following paragraph.

Heres a simple and reliable technique that should work in all computers. Open Notepad and type the following line in it.

command.com

Save it as “filename.bat”. (the .bat extension is very  important). Save it anywhere you have permission to save files. Then run it by double clicking it. And Voila! The command prompt should have opened up. Its working directory would be the directory in which you saved the bat file.

Now lets move on to the main course…

Bypassing the web filters…

I’ll give two methods that are used mostly first and then I’ll give you the one that I feel is the most reliable.

Method 1: This method involves the usage of a Web Translator service like Google Translate etc. Just go there and type the URL (address) of the website that you would like to access. Now select any “From” language other than English (say, French, Danish etc.) and select “To” language as English. A link to that address will be displayed on the right side panel. Just Click it and you will be able to access the website.

Method 2: This method is the classical approach. Here you make use of a very useful tool called as the proxy server. Many of us really don’t know what the web proxy is. Its nothing. It’s just a remote server through which we can access other servers (websites). But the local computer (the one which we use) doesn’t know the terminal server that we are accessing (the website accessed through proxy server). It only knows that we are accessing the proxy server. And the server that hosts the website that we are viewing also doesn’t know your actual IP address (the address of the computer from which you are viewing it). So you can easily mask yourself and the remote server that you are accessing behind a proxy website that looks harmless and hence is normally not blocked in schools and colleges. I wanted to limit the usage of jargons in this article because I wanted to reach school students who may not know their meaning. But I couldn’t help it. I want to explain everything in full depth. And hence the usage of jargons is unavoidable. So please excuse me. But I have added links to Wikipedia pages describing those jargons 🙂 . I found this wonderful image on Wikipedia that should explain by itself what a proxy server is.

Anyways, so to use this method, first you need to visit a proxy website. There are numerous proxy sites on the internet. Google can help you find them(click here). Go there and just type in the website you need to access in the text box given there and you can gain access to the desired website.

Method 3: This is the most reliable method that I was talking about. This method requires you to make use of the command prompt. Open it if you have access to it or follow my instructions that I gave in the above section if your admin has blocked it. Now after opening the command prompt type in the following command.

ping  www.websiteaddress.com

Replace http://www.websiteaddress.com with the URL of the website you would like to access. Now after that, you will see some messages being displayed on the screen. For those who are curious about what those messages mean I’ll explain it. What you are doing now is, you are “pinging” the remote server (the website). Pinging means sending a defined number of bytes (packets) to a server and finding the amount of time it takes for it to be transmitted and received (round trip). That time is displayed as, say, 56 ms (milliseconds). So this is a measure of latency between your computer and the remote server.

But we don’t need that data. All we need is the IP address of the website.  The IP address is the number with four fields separated by dots. Its like the pin code in your address. For those who want to know more about  the IP address ,click here.

For example, I ran the command “ping http://www.google.com” and I got the following output:

Ping Output.

So the number, 209.85.231.104 is the IP address of Google Server (The server hosting Google.co.in website).  Dont worry about the green colour. It may appear as black and grey for you. I just altered the colour scheme to give a Sci-fi effect. Just note it down or copy it (To copy in Command prompt, right-click the title bar of the window and select properties. Then check the Quick Edit mode check box under the Options tab. Then apply it and then click and drag out a selection of the text that you want to copy and just right-click over it and it should be copied to the clip board). Now that you have got the IP address, just enter it or paste it in the address box of your web browser. Eg, to access google.com, using the IP address that we got above, type in ” http://209.85.231.104 “. Then you can browse the website without any problem at all.

I want to teach you guys (for those who don’t know) an important concept. Actually the web-servers and the websites are identified and located by their IP ADDRESSES. But memorizing IP address is a tough job. So engineers came up with a cool technique called Domain Name System. By this way, the websites were assigned human readable and remember-able text addresses called domain names (eg. http://www.google.com). And then servers called Domain Name Servers (DNS) were used to resolve or translate these domain names into the corresponding IP address so that the website can be reached. So this is the concept behind this technique. The Local computer that you are accessing has a Web Filter software that knows only the domain name (i.e. google.com) but not the IP address. So if you can find the IP address, then you can browse to that website without using domain names and hence the Filter doesn’t know where you are browsing to.

Regards,

Steve Rob.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative and educational purposes only. This is not intended to aid any sort of crimes and the author will not be held responsible for any actions committed by the readers.

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