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Am I getting bad neighbourhood?





Da Rossa
Hi Frihees!
I got in an astonishing dismay when I found out my site http://notasdeaula.org was blocked inside my college's network. Just like it was a random torrent/warez site. My site's name stands for "class notes" in portuguese, and works in a simple, yet effective way: I write down, in real time, everything the teacher says in classroom in my notebook. With AutoHotKey, I can get my fingers faster than his/her voice. Then I bring the hastly-typed content home, correct and publish it. Everybody takes advantage of it, and I saved more than a hundred collegemates from failing. They study on my site what the teacher said in class. Very efficient, I must say.

So I'm close to getting my degree, and I visit the campus less often. When I did some weeks ago, a friend told me my site was "blocked". Then I made immediate tests, then I realised I could neither visit the site withing the college's wi-fi network, nor in the computer rooms.

I started speculating the reason; might be some mates were cheating on tests using their tablets or smartphones, so the site could be a form of an 'inconvenience'... doesn't make much sense because in theory cell phones are already forbidden during tests and my site could not take the fall for this phenomenon.

Then I began my restless quest for the 'official' reason. He's the response from the IT department:

Quote:
Dear student,
In attention to your information request registered in this service, regarding the blockage of your website within the institution's network, after contacting the responsible sector, we'd like to inform you that our web filter follows rules defined and mantained by the firewall manufacturer. The college only blocks, for safety reasons, some categories such as "malicious websites", "phishing", "Spam URLs", etc. Taking a closer look on your case, we verified that, although the URL www.notasdeaula.org is categorized as "education", the site is hosted in a server which the IP is flagged as "malicious websites", and for that reason the access to the site is being blocked. In this case, the filter has been reconfigured to verify just the www.notasdeaula.org URL and, that being done, the access was granted back.

We suggest you contact your hosting company informing this issue.
Below are the links to consult the site categories in the firewall manufacturer's site:
http://www.fortiguard.com/ip_rep/index.php?data=www.notasdeaula.org (www.notasdeaula.org - Education)
http://www.fortiguard.com/ip_rep/index.php?data=64.120.224.218 (IP of the server hosting the site www.notasdeaula.org Malicious Websites)



I personally think this is about an angry professor who didn't like students from latest semesters reading the contents of his classes in advance, so he asked the principal to have the IT department filter my site. But who knows? According to the response, the firewall flagged Frih's IP as... mailicious!

What is this really about then?
metalfreek
Without any fault of frihost or other webmasters, some sites do get infected and the whole neighborhood gets a bad name. I guess this is very hard to prevent.
Da Rossa
I understand, this is an absolutely inconvenient phenomenon. I never meant to say this is Frihost or Bondings' fault, just to be clear. However, is it possible for us to know if some site in the Frih servers got infected? It would be nice to know since I believe that firewall report is lame...
mathiaus
If you follow the link to fortinet's website, it says the IP's category is unclassified. I'm not too familiar with fortinet but I suspect the IP has been added to your local system with the category malicious websites. Just a guess... Wink

This is based on my knowledge of other systems (Barracuda, Websense Triton, etc) where I done exactly as I have suggested to not look as though I have blocked a website (always at someone else's request of course!).
metalfreek
Da Rossa wrote:
I understand, this is an absolutely inconvenient phenomenon. I never meant to say this is Frihost or Brandon's fault, just to be clear. However, is it possible for us to know if some site in the Frih servers got infected? It would be nice to know since I believe that firewall report is lame...


I think google has as tool that will tell you exactly which sites were reported as malicious from a certain IP address in last 90 days. I forgot the link but Google sure does has this feature. I have used it before.
deanhills
I've been through that Da Rossa. Another Forum I'm a moderator at and which I need to check frequently, is blocked at my work place. After request No. 3 to our central IT services to unblock it, and the unblocking only working for a while, and then getting periodically blocked again, I gave up and am using Tor at work.

I think Mathiaus's guess is the best one. Technically my site IP may still be blocked, and to "unblock" it the IT has to run a filter, and they don't seem to always be running that filter. I'm surprised (and grateful at the same time) however they have not blocked Tor yet.

So I don't think it's a Professor at your place. More like the Website IP as Mathiaus explained it.

PS: Really glad to see you posting again Da Rossa. Was wondering how you were doing health wise.
Da Rossa
Well I'm about to write a rather long text to post on the homepage explaining the incident, but I can't be sure of what happened.

Mathiaus, are you saying the most likely thing to have happened is the site got SPECIFICALLY added to the firewall blacklist?

@Dean: I'll never stop posting, trust me. It's just my thesis which is taking me time. By the way, healthwise, I just came back from Fortaleza (coastal city in Brazil, where my father lives) and got back very very sick (flu).

Also, Dean, if Mathiaus guess is the best, then it could be someone's request, right?
deanhills
Da Rossa wrote:
Well I'm about to write a rather long text to post on the homepage explaining the incident, but I can't be sure of what happened.

Mathiaus, are you saying the most likely thing to have happened is the site got SPECIFICALLY added to the firewall blacklist?

@Dean: I'll never stop posting, trust me. It's just my thesis which is taking me time. By the way, healthwise, I just came back from Fortaleza (coastal city in Brazil, where my father lives) and got back very very sick (flu).

Also, Dean, if Mathiaus guess is the best, then it could be someone's request, right?
No, not some one, but an anti-spam filter system. We have a very tough anti-spam system at work. It works with an anti-spam filter that black lists IPs. Could be you are sharing your IP with someone who is a spammer or whatever. Once the anti-spam system has picked up on this, your Website gets blocked. Only way to get it unblocked, is to write to your IT Department and let them know it's a Website for educational purpose providing a service to your class mates. They'll then put you in a filter list of IPs that should be excluded from the IP block list. It's not personal, it's just an anti-spam black listing thing.
Da Rossa
Ok, but I have received complaints before regarding the site's essence; a teacher asked me to put her classes behind a login-protected area beucase "she owned that content" (not at all) and "it was very dismaying to teach someone who already know what you're about to say". I believe some students may have caused inconveniences too. One incident was related to a dumbass that read the content in advance and anticipated the teacher's sentences, precisely.

So I don't think we can rule out so fast the 'personal' theory...
rx9876
OK.
That's a way to find out.

http://www.urlvoid.com/

Input your url "http://notasdeaula.org/",
The scanning result for your site is clean.
Switch to IP address tab, and scroll down to "Website Neighbors" section.
You could find out there is one site blacklisted.
deanhills
Da Rossa wrote:
Ok, but I have received complaints before regarding the site's essence; a teacher asked me to put her classes behind a login-protected area beucase "she owned that content" (not at all) and "it was very dismaying to teach someone who already know what you're about to say". I believe some students may have caused inconveniences too. One incident was related to a dumbass that read the content in advance and anticipated the teacher's sentences, precisely.

So I don't think we can rule out so fast the 'personal' theory...
Well against that background, I agree with you. Why not approach the IT Department direct though and ask them why your Website has been blocked. Try and act innocent and factual. Like you just can't understand why. I'm sure if someone had complained, the IT would then let you know.
Pande
Maybe because what you are doing is completely against most university's rules? You must ask the the professor AND the dean of your faculty if what you are recording is allowed. None of my profs ever allowed recording / sharing of what they said.
Da Rossa
Quote:
Well against that background, I agree with you. Why not approach the IT Department direct though and ask them why your Website has been blocked. Try and act innocent and factual. Like you just can't understand why. I'm sure if someone had complained, the IT would then let you know.


I honestly don't believe they would tell me which teacher made the complaint. Better to protect themselves, I think they think.

Still, those were two very little incidents that I don't think they could turn into a 'federal case'.

Quote:

Maybe because what you are doing is completely against most university's rules? You must ask the the professor AND the dean of your faculty if what you are recording is allowed. None of my profs ever allowed recording / sharing of what they said.


I've been doing this for five years now, and I'm pretty sure I'd have received a formal notification to C&D. And this is very trivial: a student must make notes. Some of them lend their pen-written notebooks to others, and they get copies via xerox or copy manually. Essentially it's the same thing. Why would the university have anything to complain about? This is helpful, not disturbing...

Quote:
OK.
That's a way to find out.

http://www.urlvoid.com/

Input your url "http://notasdeaula.org/",
The scanning result for your site is clean.
Switch to IP address tab, and scroll down to "Website Neighbors" section.
You could find out there is one site blacklisted.


Nice service!
Well, turns out that I have two neighbours, one of them actually got flagged by ONE out of the TWENTY SIX scanners. Im pretty sure this is far to enough to ring a bell at my college's firewall...
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