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Author Topic: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule  (Read 8744 times)

zzynx

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Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« on: July 04, 2013, 04:18:27 PM »
Hi,

I'm looking for a simple and lightweight freeware windows application that controls internet access based on a time schedule I can specify.
Eg. Every evening from 23:00 cut off the internet access till 07:00. But on Saturday and Sunday keep it up until midnight.
No fancy and/or heavy parental control application. Just enabling/disabling internet access.
Of course the program should be secured against
- switching it off by eg. killing it in the task manager
- tampering with the time settings
- ...

Currently I am able to log in to the website of my ISP and enable/disable WIFI access based on MAC-addresses. (I have to use the modem/router my ISP provides me)
But, if I want to switch off the internet access for my son at midnight, I have to do it...well at midnight.
I'd like to go to sleep and be assured that at midnight it will be switched off. (for that MAC address)
So, I miss scheduling. That's why I asked for an application - installed on the pc - that could take care of this.

Being able to control the time schedule remotely (via the internet or via LAN) would be the icing on the cake.

Kind regards

4wd

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 11:39:49 PM »
You could use Task Scheduler and netsh or devcon.

eg. My network settings are:

Name: Local Area Connection
Static IP: 192.168.0.244
Gateway (router): 192.168.0.2

To disable using netsh I just need to remove the gateway IP:

Quote
netsh interface ipv4 set address "Local Area Connection" static 192.168.0.244 gateway=0.0.0.0

That removes the gateway IP. You won't have internet access but will still be able to communicate with other computers on the LAN.

To enable:

Quote
netsh interface ipv4 set address "Local Area Connection" static 192.168.0.244 gateway=192.168.0.2

Then just add them to the Task Scheduler for whenever you want them to run.

If my IP was auto-assigned by my router then:

Disable:
Quote
netsh interface ipv4 set address "Local Area Connection" dhcp gateway=0.0.0.0

Enable:
Quote
netsh interface ipv4 set address "Local Area Connection" dhcp gateway=192.168.0.2
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 12:30:48 AM by 4wd »

zzynx

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2013, 06:02:14 AM »
Thanks 4wd for this information. It's definitely worth a try.

One remark:
It's not tamper proof (you change the clock and you have internet access again or you run those commands yourself - given you know what is "wrong" with the internet connection)

Another:
Would it be possible to alter that task remotely?

x16wda

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 07:25:39 AM »
Would it be possible to alter that task remotely?

Set up the schedule to run on your PC instead of your son's and use psexec or beyondexec to run it on his box.  Of course you have to make sure the firewall settings allow you to get in.  But then you don't have to worry about his pc's time setting, and there's nothing on his pc for him to muck about with.

Of course if he has admin privileges then all bets are off. :-)
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40hz

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 07:30:50 AM »
^Just out of curiosity...have you tried telling your son what the acceptable hours for internet usage are first?

Reason I ask is because there really isn't a simple "technical" solution for what you want to do if he doesn't want to respect your wishes.

In order to make it "tamper resistant" you'd really have to implement the time restriction on a device he has extremely limited access to - like the router. Because anything on his PC is ultimately going to be hackable by him.

True there are a few commercial 'child minder' programs that are relatively bullet proof when it comes to unauthorized overriding. But they introduce potentially problematic hidden programs, and modify way the PC performs its normal bootup sequence - a move which is generally considered not to be a good idea. And even that can eventually be gotten around by somebody with enough technical acumen.

So (if it is at all possible) I think you might be better off trying to reach a genuine agreement with your son on this matter. At least it's worth a try IMO.

If nothing else, it could lead to a very interesting discussion between the two of you.
 :)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 07:36:21 AM by 40hz »

x16wda

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 07:37:52 AM »
True there are a few commercial 'child minder' programs that are relatively bullet proof

I looked at these and didn't like any of them really, tried a few of the more highly ranked ones and every one of them caused problems of one sort or another, or would not respond to requests to modify the allowed or disallowed sites, etc., in a timely fashion.  They all seemed flaky to me, and the longer they ran the flakier they got.
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4wd

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 07:46:09 AM »
One remark:
It's not tamper proof (you change the clock and you have internet access again or you run those commands yourself - given you know what is "wrong" with the internet connection)

I don't know what OS you're running or whether you're using separate accounts but if you set it up so that your son is using a Standard User account, (you'd be an Administrator naturally), you might be able to set policies so that a normal User cannot change the system time, alter network settings or change Scheduled Tasks.

SJ or 40 can better answer that question.

There's not much you can do that won't be tamper-proof - anything you can do as a user can be undone by a user with the same privileges usually.

2013-07-05 22_42_08-Create New Account.png

I see 40 has replied, he might be able to answer the following: Standard User as defined above can't change System settings that affect other users - does that include time, network and tasks?

Quote
Another:
Would it be possible to alter that task remotely?

Easily, just set the machine up for Remote Desktop, (or one of the many flavours of VNC, etc), and you can log in and edit the task.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 08:33:11 AM »
^Just out of curiosity...have you tried telling your son what the acceptable hours for internet usage are first?

Reason I ask is because there really isn't a simple "technical" solution for what you want to do if he doesn't want to respect your wishes.

+1000 - Because if you try to make it a game by pitting your child against a security device. You'll most likely soon find out the kids are really good at games.

Talk to your kids...as parents, we're supposed to be doing that anyway.

Standard User as defined above can't change System settings that affect other users - does that include time, network and tasks?

Can std user change system time (in Windows), no. Especially on a domain. However, std user is allowed to change the Time Zone. Not to mention that "System Time" really is BIOS Time and trying to password protect the BIOS is basically pointless.

40hz

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Re: Enables/disable internet access based on a time schedule
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 02:06:20 PM »
^Just out of curiosity...have you tried telling your son what the acceptable hours for internet usage are first?

Reason I ask is because there really isn't a simple "technical" solution for what you want to do if he doesn't want to respect your wishes.

+1000 - Because if you try to make it a game by pitting your child against a security device. You'll most likely soon find out the kids are really good at games.

Talk to your kids...as parents, we're supposed to be doing that anyway.


Agree despite not being a parent.

And while I'm on my soapbox, I might as well say I take a very dim view of using technology as a chaperon or preventative measure. I even find those ankle monitors they put on people who are under home arrest to be both demeaning and counter productive. Because they don't encourage personal responsibility. All they do is instill the fear of punishment or reprisal - which tends to feed into hatred and resentments down the road.

Had a friend with similar concerns about his own children's web use. I declined to set him up with the monitoring "nanny software" he wanted. I suggested instead that he talk to his kids about what the situation was and why he was concerned. He's a bright guy. And his kids (12 and 14 at the time) are no dummies either.

I also suggested he leave out all the kiddie porn hype and online predator scare tactics the schools were using and focus instead on how you could be embarrassed years later by something you did online today if some school rival decided to humiliate you two or three years from now. How it might make a some college acceptances a problem if you got a little too vocal about somebody's gender, ethnicity, or race when you were trading barbs. How some silly pictures of you screwing around with your friends, or getting drunk, or flashing your boobs "for just a second," could come back to haunt you years later when applying for a job or a security clearance. I also suggested he go show them the Internet archive project - and how nothing is ever really gone forever. Especially if somebody is ever out to get you for some reason or another.

Truth is, most kids don't really understand the meaning of fear. (And who wants to make them excessively paranoid anyway?) But they do understand shame and humiliation. And social standing in their peer groups. So why not focus on that as a tool to educate and encourage some maturity and personal restraint instead?

I made some suggestions about possible rules that were necessary, but which also respected his kids personal dignity and acknowledged them as persons in their own right rather than just "his kids."

He then sat down and had a chat with his kids. And from that he conveyed his "understanding" about how web access was going to work in their home:

------------------

Cardinal Rule: Any of your friends who go online with you in your home are subject to the same rules you are.
You however are subject to the agreed upon rules no matter where you are accessing the web from - your friend's homes included.

Specifics to follow, with the understanding that these "rules" are guidelines and are to be observed in the spirit for which they are intended. They are not to be taken purely literally  - or as a basis for playing word and definition games. When in doubt about whether something is kosher - ask first. If there's no one around to ask - better hold off until you clear it.

  • No porn or adult sites
  • No hate forums, or going around slagging people on social media sites
  • No giving out 'secure' information like your home address, any phone numbers, or personal info - such as  when your parents are or aren't home, etc.
  • No posting personal pictures except in places previously approved.
  • No NSFW pictures to be posted anywhere
  • No "hooking up" with anybody you only know from "meeting" them online. Ever. Period.
  • No online purchases without adult approval - even if it is "your own money"
  • Internet usage hours are to be discussed and (optionally) renegotiated periodically.
  • Weekends, summer and other holidays will have extended usage hours - with the understanding that, during the regular school year, they will be reduced as deemed appropriate.
  • Access to the Internet "for school use" must be done within the allowed hours during the school year. If you put off a project till 10 o'clock the night before it's due, and you need the Internet to complete it, you are going to be out of luck.
  • Violations of the above understanding will almost certainly result in suspension of access privileges, and very likely garner additional restrictions such as not having your friends over, or you going out.

It worked out well for him and his children. There were a few very minor incidents early on. Most likely to test just how serious he and his wife were about it. A day or two without the web got the message across they were very serious. After that it was smooth sailing with periodic discussions and rule renegotiations as the kids got older.

YMMV.

Luck! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 02:17:46 PM by 40hz »