simple way around internet policy

I know that a large number of my readers are stuck behind oppressive firewalls, often simply because the staff that runs the firewall aren’t completely sure how to administer them. If the firewall is preventing you from accessing a site that you need for work, I would suggest this:

1) Start by pasting http://www.google.com/search?q=cache: into your browser address bar.

2) Paste or type the address of the site you wish to view, without the http:// part on the front. For example: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.digikey.com

3) If you don’t want to leave as many traces, paste &hl=en&lr=&strip=1 onto the end of the whole thing you just put into the address bar. That will remove images, thus preventing your browser from making a lot of image requests to the original site. Example: http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:www.digikey.com&hl=en&lr=&strip=1

Keep in mind that google only caches text, not images. This means that if the site is blocked by your workplace’s policy, then you will still not see the site’s associated imagery. This method will at least let you read text and will often give you the links you need to be able to download a document or image.

The other caveat is that you must form the URL for each new page that you wish to view via the google cache yourself, since clicking links within the google cache will take you to the actual site, not the new page’s google cache.

This would actually be a good plugin for firefox… One that mangles all URLs into googlecache URLs…

Anyway, Enjoy!

  1. Even better, install SSH on a box at home and use it as your own personal proxy. Not only will it not be blocked since it isn’t on their radar, but all of your activity is now encrypted, away from any prying eyes.

  2. Internet explorer and firefox both support using keywords at the beginning of the URL box as “quicksearches”. For example, I use “gg foo” to search for foo or “gc http://www.slashdot.org” to see the google cache version of slashdot or “lucky mojo” to see the I’m Feeling Lucky google for mojo. I have a bunch of them, for searching dictionaries, amazon, netflix, imdb, the bible, etc.

    All you have to do in firefox is create a bookmark that has a “%s” in it where you want to put the url-encoded stuff that comes on the rest of the line, and then put something in the keyword box.

    For example, my Google cache bookmark looks like this:

    Name: Google Cache Quicksearch
    Location: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:%s
    Keyword: gc

    This is a little trickier in IE, since it’s not a documented feature, but you can use TweakUI to configure IE quicksearches under the Internet Explorer -> Search tree node. It stores your searches in the registry, so I export that regkey and then import it on every machine I use IE on. Obviously for Firefox you just transport your bookmarks.html file.

  3. I will be nice and post the definitions of my current quicksearches to my blog.

  4. Not that this needs to be said, BUT… given the lessons of our past, we’re generally being careful about subverting company policy, however oppressive and badly administered it might be, right?!!? 🙂

  5. Hey This is totally random, but I’d like to hear your thoughts: http://www.livejournal.com/users/schwarzemann/18639.html

  6. Mojo: this is actually to specifically help some people that aren’t able to view certain sites that they need for work. SSH isn’t an option for them. Personally, I use SSH tunnelling for all my browsing needs.

    Tekman: Wow, that’s pretty cool. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Much simpler than generating the URL one’s self.

    Hendo: I’m being a very good boy. The most subversive thing I’ve done at the new company is install firefox. I’m not even tunnelling out to my own box these days. (:

    Blackman: I’m on it.

  7. SSH tunneling is wise. However, a possible two-edged sword: scattered web traffic might not attract much attention, but a continous encrypted link out of the network to a single IP might just throw up a few red flags. It really pays to understand company internet policy and perhaps talk to some of the people in charge of enforcing that policy. SSH tunneling is good for checking email and retrieving personal files you don’t feel prepared to trust to everyone at work, but it certainly isn’t a good idea to overuse it.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>