Today, my friend told me about this amazing new Internet filter. He went to a meeting at the city hall, where it was being demonstrated to the government. Apparently, the police gave it the thumbs up and recommended it for the schools. On a news story, it said that it was made by a Purdue University graduate Gabe Luu.
To make a long story short… the entire program is amateurish (can’t blame the one guy) and ultimately ineffective.
On the Safe Chat website, there’s an example image showing Porn.com with and without Safe Chat. What Safe Chat does is kill any browser that’s not Internet Explorer (no Firefox). So… I set Safe Chat to block MySpace, because according to the media, MySpace is the breeding grounds of predators.
OK, Safe Chat blocked MySpace.com like it should. But, with my own little proxy server, I got around it easy. Strike 1 for Safe Chat.
OK, so maybe Safe Chat didn’t block my proxy because it’s a tiny obscure little proxy only used by me. Let’s try something much more popular. Let’s try PHProxy.org. Nope. Still got to MySpace. Strike 2.
Safe Chat’s instant messaging works by whitelisting contacts. Safe Chat quickly killed Miranda when I started it. Renaming the executible didn’t work. Thank god they didn’t miss that easy easy trick.
How I broke it
I got out my trusty debugger/memory editor and started playing around with SCCheck.exe’s memory. It terminated or exited or died or something, and my Internet access was unfettered. “That was easy.” Programs shouldn’t just go away when another program messes with it a little. That’s like poking a security guard in the face and walking past without raising any alarms.
How much did Luu bribe the police with? Either that or the police were computer illiterate. Seriously. Protection is very simple and unintelligent. It blacklists sites (try blacklisting the Internet), filters words, and bans the user from choosing which browser or instant messaging client to use. That’s all. There’s no comprehensive, company-maintaned, often-updated list of bad sites and categories. Safe Chat cannot compare to a dedicated corporate filtering solution, such as one from 8e6 (which Kokomo Schools already has, too!). Actually, Safe Chat cannot compare to most software solutions like it. So sad.
This software also has one of the worst interfaces ever. Nice cool titlebar Luu… but you are in desperate need of a UI expert. Speaking of which… I’m available for reasonable rates.