So you are at school, sitting down at a computer in the library during your lunch hours and you want to check your Facebook account because you are expecting a message, but when you try to log on the computer completely blocks you from it. When you find your Facebook account doesn’t work, you might try another social media account, but it doesn’t work either. It seems like every kind of website you are looking for has been blocked. These websites are probably not just blocked for you, but all the other students and teachers too. So, you want to know how to get past the school’s Internet security. Good, that means you are interested in how computers work. Read on to find out more about how to unblock school internet.
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How Computer Networks Work
Most schools will have a computer network called a LAN. LAN stands for Local Area Network, which simply means a computer network in one physical place (your school). Each computer in the network – all the computers in the computer room, any in other classrooms, and so on – is called a node. Each node is connected to the network. This is probably done by something called Ethernet technology.
Just because all of these nodes are connected together doesn’t necessarily mean that each node has access to the other’s files. Each user has a limited set of permissions linked to their login details. All of this information: their files, their search history, and so on, is not stored on the computer, it’s stored centrally on a server. A server is a special computer in the network that has the role of providing all the recourses in the network to the right users on the right nodes.
All the nodes are connected to the server, which is then connected to a router. The router is what lets your network talk to the Internet. When you try to access a website from your node, the node will request that website from the server, the server then requests it from the router, which finds it and sends it back down the chain to you.
However, there is more. The server probably has a piece of software called a firewall. A firewall creates a barrier between your school network (your LAN) and the Internet. This firewall is controlled by the system administrator, who is probably the person in charge of ICT in your school. The admin can decide what sorts of websites are allowed through.
OK, that’s a lot of information. Here are some key points to take away from it:
- The school computers are connected in a LAN.
- The server controls all the information flow.
- There is a firewall between the LAN and the Internet
- The system admin controls the server and the firewall.
- The system admin can see what websites you look for, so think twice when you search!
How to Trick the Firewall
Is this possible? Yes. Should you do it? No. Here comes the lecture:
If you have read this far if you are probably interested in computers and networks. That is great, learn all you can about your school’s computer network, ask your ICT teacher how it works, even ask him about how the firewall and permissions work, although he or she will be keeping a close eye on your user account if you do!
If you want to take it even further, consider picking up a computer language. Python is relatively easy to learn, and hackers all over the world use it. It’s also the backbone of some top websites including Youtube and Reddit. Codecademy.com is a great, free place to start learning.
However, don’t try to trick your school firewall. It is possible but you will probably get caught. The school has to have a firewall because they have owe a duty of care to you as a student, and that includes protecting you from offensive or corrupting materials. They also have to protect the school computers from viruses and other malware that could end up in your LAN if there was no firewall.
Internet predators are also a real risk that the school has a duty to protect you and your classmates from. 70 per cent of child predators contact children during school hours, and the Internet is one of the easiest ways for them to do so.
If you are deeply interested in hacking, then there is no need to do so illegally or against the rules of your school. There is a whole industry of legal hacking called penetration testing. This is when companies employ hackers to test their security systems for weaknesses and flaws. If you start learning about this while in school you could find yourself with a pretty interesting and exciting job in a few years time.
What Could Go Wrong
By accessing parts of the network that you are not supposed to, you may be not only breaking school rules but also committing a crime. The consequences of ether could be quite severe. You may also compromise the school’s Internet security, allowing in malware that costs the school money to fix. Money that might have been spent on better computing facilities.
Bare in mind that the most logical punishment for trying to hack the school networks is being banned from access to school computers. If you were particularly interested in computers then this would be a great shame, and a loss to your education and entertainment. So, don’t break the rules!
By altering the school’s firewall you may make it vulnerable to attacks or malicious software, known as malware. Here are some of the types of malware out there:
- Virus – A program that can replicate itself and do destructive things such as delete files in your network.
- Trojan – A malicious program that pretends to be something helpful or necessary so that the victim installs it.
- Rootkit – Rootkits adapt the victim’s operating system in order to conceal its existence or the existence of other malicious programs running on the computer.
- Backdoor – A backdoor is a way to avoid the usual permissions system. Often backdoors are created by other malware like viruses or trojans. Some people believe that software companies create backdoors in their software in order to provide technical support.
- Keylogger – Keylogging software can be hidden in Trojans or other malware. It keeps a record of each thing that is typed into the computer. This can include passwords or other private information. Keylogging often used by people who are attempting identity theft or cyber blackmail.
The idea of hacking the school network is appealing for many reasons: To be free to view the websites you want to, to beat the school system, to learn about the hidden side of computing, networks and technology, and just for the thrill. This is understandable, but it is a bad idea. You could be banned from the school computers, expelled from school or worse.
However, the motivation is mostly good, and if you want to learn more you certainly should. There is a world of free information about computers, coding and networks. It’s probably one of the easiest subjects to access free information about online. You are never too young to start learning about this.
Stay safe, feed that desire to learn, and stick to the rules for now. You may find that the knowledge was what you were really after, not the rule breaking. Here are some sites you might like to check out, they include all sorts of fun and interesting ways to learn about computers.
If you want to work in programming or computer science in the future you’ll need to do well in school. So remember to focus on your schoolwork. You’ll need good maths and science skills particularly. So for all the time you spend learning about coding, remember to not neglect these!
Disclaimer: This article does NOT contain the information required to know how to unblock school internet, although it does broadly discuss some key terms and ideas about computer networks. This article does so to attract the attention of those looking to break the rules and, hopefully, redirect their curiosity into something more productive. Computers and networks are useful things to understand, and there are many legal, legitimate reasons to learn about them. If anything in this article raises concerns please continue the discussion below in the comments section, or contact us directly.