Monthly Archives: October 2016

Lock Down Firefox, With Public Fox Extension

Another problem solved

Something  plaguing us here on the farm has been  our adult autistic son installing Windows software to his Linux computer.

Because he is so skilled in the original Windows Paint software, we have WINE installed on his Linux Mint computers so he can run Paint. The trouble with this arrangement is that even though he only has user access to his Linux desktop, he can still install Windows software under WINE.

No amount of research, permission changes etcetera on may part could prevent this from happening. I was constantly going in at night and uninstalling things like YouTube downloaders, questionable tool bars full of malware and other nonsense. My son was also installing about every Firefox extension he stumbled upon. There were 20 different video downloaders alone, and dozens of other  bits and bobs.

Then this week, I stumbled upon Public Fox

Lock down Firefox with this great tool!

Lock down Firefox with this great tool!

This Firefox add on, allows you to really lock down Firefox. Locking users out of the ability to add or change other Firefox add ons,  locking out the about:cong, history saving, and most all the other Firefox preferences!

Best of all, this add on will allow you to block the downloading of any file type you wish, simply by entering the banned extension!

Files ending in .zip  .exe  .com  .bat  .pdf  now all blocked from even being downloaded. He can’t install a Windows program, if he can’t download it!

Further, you can specify web sites that you wish to block. Yes, I block many sites in my router, but my crafty son figured out that he could go to the secure version of a site and bypass the router’s ability to block it!  This has been a real problem lately, as he’d do a web search for a favorite cartoon character, and end up on a secure porn site that my router couldn’t block.

Using the features in Public Fox, I can block for instance, all .xxx sites, all sites with certain key words, along with my extensive list of sites I’ve compiled that I don’t want him on.

Installation is as easy as other add ons. Just search for it by name, install it, then click on Preferences and set it how you want it.

Preferences

Preferences

Then set the password for Public Fox. This way any changes to Firefox preferences and add ons will be locked tight!

Edit:

There are some reviews that state that this extension no longer works in Firefox. Further that it is serving up adds on its own. All I can say, is that running under Linux, using Firefox version 49, it seems to do exactly what it is supposed to do, and I am not getting any adds from it, though one of my other extensions is AdBlock Plus.

 

LIghtning – It Goes Where It Wants, Regardless

My long absence from my Linux blog:

It’s been a busy 6 weeks on the farm. The first of September saw a huge storm roll through our area, and with it, a lightning strike that took out everything hardwired to our internal network!

We have a 60 foot tower on the farm, that is grounded with several ground rods. My office has what’s called a halo built into it, that usually protects everything inside from lightning strikes as well. Indeed, that tower has been hit many times the last 11 years with no damage.

Did the lightning hit the tower or my office building? Nope, it hit a network cable that run through a cable bridge between my office and the barn! The cable bridge is grounded, but rather than hit the grounded bridge, it hit the network cable that was laying in the bridge.

The resulting hit took out 2 servers, 5 desktops, 1 laptop, 1 television, 7 cameras, a Harris video switcher, my 2, DIN 3 internet relay units, and all of my ham radio equipment. Everything that was in some way hooked to the wired network!

Being in the state insurance pool, filing a claim would be useless, and with my high deductible, wouldn’t help much anyway. So for the past 6 weeks we’ve been cobbling everything back together from scratch!

Pile of blown up equipemnt

Some of the equipment destroyed in a lightning hit

Restoration was made a bit easier, in that none of our hard drives were damaged, so as new computers were purchased, We were able to restore all of our data with zero loss.   For our replacement ownCloud server, I just plugged the old drive right in and booted it up!

Next, we spent a couple of weeks trenching new conduit from our goat pen, into the house, and have moved all of our streaming video equipment and control systems inside. Further, we’ve totally isolated that system from the rest of the network.

All the new computers now run Linux Mint 18, and we’re very happy with the refinements over version 17.3.

So yes, do take precautions with your equipment where lightning is concerned, but they don’t always work.