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Torrent and p2p

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Hi there.

I'm currently the administrator of a school network of about 200 users, the majority of which, i'm afraid, enjoy downloading and uploading illegal files. Though the school has given me permission to block the necessary ports and prevent the usage of p2p and torrent clients, i would prefer to be able to detect which users are downloading and uploading, and speak as well as caution them about the problems of illegal downloading.
My questions are,

What software is commercially available, which would allow me to easily detect the usage of p2p and torrent clients?


Is it possible for me to detect what media files are being downloaded (i.e. stricter stance on those downloading [bleep] or any files which would get them into even more trouble)?

Thanks, i'd appreciate any thoughts or ideas about this problem.

and, Merry Christmas!
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Whilst I have no experience personally in this sort of technology, my friend is a network administrator for a school with around about the same amount of computers as yours (200-400). They have had great success at controlling their network with the commercial program 'Novell'. I would highly recommend that program for any large network.
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Neil Jones

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Depending on how this network is set up and how internet access is provided to the various computers, there's a few things to take note of here:

1) Port blocking. Not good enough today unfortunately, most P2P programs just open copious ports until they find one that they can use. At least one (the infamous Kazaa and maybe others) will use Port 80 which you cannot block if you want internet access.

2) Firewalls. Software firewalls are easily disabled, bypassed or generally broken. A hardware firewall is more effective but not all of these offer the facility to filter types of traffic plus of course some P2P programs emulate web browser activity exactly which'll bypass any hardware filter.

3) Users. In this day and age where most homes have at least two or three computers due to costs falling through the floor, its never been easier to have a home network. And herein lies the problem. If the users have their own networks at home (which are basically just cut-down versions of the one you have at the school), they'll know all the tricks used to restrict access and make appropriate changes.

4) In conjunction with number 2 above, it may be possible either accidentally or intentionally to disable the monitoring software.

A step in the right direction however is to basically block the sites on each individual computer by adding a whole bunch of p2p download sites to each system's HOSTS file (see http://spyware-remov...e-remover.shtml and the "Override Your Hosts File" section).

Another step in the right direction is to use Limited Accounts as opposed to administrator accounts which will often prevent installation of most things including these types of programs.

Of course it could be prudulent to step up active physical monitoring of the systems, though this of course is most likely cost prohibitive.

Just some food for thought.
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A software system monitoring is most effective, the network monitoring and internet filtering software from symnatec is good, easiest way to keep p2 off is to use software and access rights to block and remove the installation of files, when i was at school pupils didnt have access to that kind of thing, only the teachers used the network for p2p.
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