A recent Lifehacker article makes life easier (and cheaper) for users and harder for companies and their IT and security pros. Top 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on The Web provides tips (not all ethical) on how to go around, over, under, or through the following fences:
10. Skip Past Annoying User/Pass Requests
9. Read Articles That Rupert Murdoch Wants You Paying For
8. Change User Agents to Get Around Browser Blocks
7. Get to Gmail When It’s Down
6. Get Actually Usable BitTorrent Speeds
5. Get to Sites Taken Down by Traffic
4. Control Computers at Home
3. Download YouTube and Other Flash Videos
2. Access Country-Blocked Streaming TV
1. Roll Your Own Proxy to Access Blocked Sites
Read the article here.
A similar article in 2007 stirred up a lot more commotion, especially since the focus was getting around the limits and safeguards that companies erect around their network (Lifehacker was involved in this article, too). The Wall Street Journal published Ten Things Your IT Department Won’t Tell You, which described how to:
1. Send giant files
2. Use software that your company won’t let you download
3. Visit the web sites your company blocks
4. Clear your tracks on your work laptop
5. Search for your work documents from home
6. Store work files online
7. Keep your privacy when using web email
8. Access your work email remotely when your company won’t spring for a blackberry
9. Access your personal email on your blackberry
10. Look like you’re working
However, the WSJ article not only explains how to overcome the problems, it also describes the risks involved and how to stay safe.
Before you employ any of these 20 tips at work, think about whether they violate your company policies. Think about the risk and the possible consequences.
If you’re one of the IT, security, or audit gatekeepers, think more about educating your users regarding the issues involved. Also think about providing them with the business tools and access they need so they aren’t tempted to go around the fences.