Friday, January 19, 2007

[TIPS] Horror story about internet filtering gone awry

Thanks to Chris C for sharing this with me via the for:jgates513 tag at del.icio.us.
 
Here's a story of a substitute teacher who is now facing 40 yrs in prison for exposing her students to online porn. She claims it was spyware that caused the porn popups that she simply couldn't close. But, the prosecutors won and unless her appeal finds in her favor she faces 40 yrs in prison. Read about it here: http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/learning.now/2007/01/teacher_faces_40year_prison_se.html
 
What could have stopped this from happening in the first place? If it WAS spyware, then perhaps this hosts file could have prevented it. Whether or not you can use it at school you should consider it for your home computer. Here's how the site describes what this file does:
 
"The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is its ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, providing the entry exists."
 
Read the front page for that hosts file to see more about how it works and what you can do. It's easy. It's free. And it's a HUGE help in the battle against spyware.

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