Friday, July 12, 2013

Protecting Your Children on the Internet with Linux or How to be a Sneaky Parent Part 3 Moniitoring E-Mail

Identify your own IP address.  To do this type the following command in at a terminal:

    ifconfig | grep 192

And then you should see something like:

    inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:

In this case your IP address is

Now to find your childs IP address run the following command:

    usr/sbin/fping -s -g -r 1 2> /dev/null | grep alive

Be aware that this command takes a few minutes to run.  The output will look something like: is alive is alive is alive

If the command didn't work, check to see where fping is, by typing:
    whereis fping
And then change the command so it looks in the right directory.  I have seen it in both bin and sbin.
IP addresses ending in either 1 or 254 are probably the router (but not both).  In this case, the first address is probably the router, the 2nd is yours and the third is your child's.  Each child that is using their computer will have their own unique IP Address.  If you think of a computer as a house, the IP Address is the street address of each house and therefore each house (computer) gets their own unique street address.

Now just issue the following command from a terminal:

    ssh -X @

with being the user ID you created for yourself and it will prompt you for your password.

Make sure the child isn't running email, you can't run email if he or she is already in it.  To find out type the following:

    ps -ef | grep thunderbird

If the output has a .bin, they are running Thunderbird.  If they are working on a paper or something, you can probably quietly kill Thunderbird and then start it up for yourself.  To kill it, type:

    sudo killall thunderbird

But be quick, get in spot check it and get out.  The longer you are in, the more likely he or she is going to catch on.

Now issue the following command to find their Thunderbird ini file

    locate profiles.ini | grep .thunderbird

If you didn't find the file, run “sudo updatedb” from the terminal and try it again.  Note: updatedb will run a few minutes. After updatedb finishes, redo  the locate command.  Now copy the whole file name.  Just highlight it and go to Edit → Copy.

Finally, you are ready to run thunderbird.  Type the following command and just do a File->Paste  with the cursor between the double quotes:

    thunderbird -offline -P ""

You should see their email client come up.  Just read sent or received e-mail.    Don't go ballistic over little discretions, you are looking for e-mails from sexual predators or something indicating your child could be getting in a lot of trouble.  Watch for e-mail volume dropping.  If your child is technically proficient he or she may have caught on and set up another e-mail account. Don't allow this, and Don't allow him or her to use Gmail. If they really need a gmail account, set it up so that it gets popped into their local hard disk, that way you can monitor it, Android Phones all require a Gmail Account.

You can save the command to start Thunderbird for each child, so that you don't have to go through these steps each time.  Each child will have their own unique profiles.ini file, but once it has been set up it won't change.

The easiest thing to do with e-mail is just create a filter that deletes any e-mail from someone who isn't in the Child's Address Book.  To set this filter up just go to Tools->Message Filters and click on New.  Give it a name, change the first drop down box to From, the 2nd drop down box to “Isn't in my Address...” and then the third drop down box to Personal Address Book.  Finally change Perform Action Drop Box to “Delete”.  Then just click the “OK” Button.  You will want to check periodically that your child hasn't played with these settings.  Of course you will want to make sure your child's teachers, relatives, school friends, club members, and members of your religious organization are added to his or her address book.

You may want to spot check the addresses in their address book.  If you don't know who it is ask the child.

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