Better differentiate the Chat category from Instant Messaging

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8 comments

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    serviceinstitute

    I need all chat services except iMessage and Whatsapp to be blocked by OpenDNS

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    mattwilson9090

    Then what you will need to do is

    1) Make sure your OpenDNS account and network settings are configured properly, including the IP address associated with your network

    2) Block the chat, instant messaging, and possibly social networking categories under your network's settings. While you are at it block any other categories that you wish. As a matter of course with all my clients I automatically block P2P/File Sharing, Web Spam, Proxy/Anonymizer, Adware, Typo Squatting

    3) Add the domains used by the services you want to connect with to "never block" on the same page where you blocked the chat related categories. Note, it is likely that you will have to do some research to find out exactly what those domain names, and it might take some trial and error.

    4) Make sure that whatever devices you want to prevent from connecting to the other chat services are actually using OpenDNS. When I setup OpenDNS and UTM firewalls for my business clients this is a fairly simple thing for me to, but I have no idea what your network is like or how anything is configured, including the ability of individuals to change what DNS service they are using

    5) Depending on how rigorous you want to be with this, you will need to periodically review the stats to your network and see what else is being connected to that you don't want connections to. If you find something that needs to be categorized or recategorized do so, and until it's been done add them to your block list.

    6) Be aware that many websites, including social networking type sites allow web-based chatting, so you may not catch everything, but with the categories I listed above you should be able to block anything that does chat with a software client, and the most websites that allow chatting directly via the webpage. Note, if whatever is accessing the "chat service" is using hard coded IP address OpenDNS will not be able to block it since it doesn't need any DND lookups to connect.

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    rotblitz

    "I need all chat services except iMessage and Whatsapp to be blocked by OpenDNS"

    Or in brief:

    Block the categories Instant Messaging and Chat, and add apple.com, icloud.com and whatsapp.com to your "never block" list.

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    stan.forrest

    I don't see what meaningful distinction can be made between AIM and any other chat protocol. The two categories ought to be merged. If you need a particular chat site, exceptions can be made using the whitelist, as described above by rotblitz and mattwilson9090

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    mattwilson9090

    Did you notice that you are responding to a conversation that is almost 4 years old? Also, AIM no longer exists, so this entire conversation is now moot. The entire service was shut down in late December 2017 or early January 2018, I forget the exact date.

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    stan.forrest

    If AIM has shut down completely in the past month, then the "Instant Messaging" category is now entirely redundant and it's high time to merge it into "Chat". Should I start a new thread?

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    tcwsupport

    Hi all,

    The issue I raised here was resolved quite some time ago. The descriptions for each category now read:

    "Chat

    Sites where you can chat in real-time with groups of people. Includes IRC and video chat sites."

    "Instant Messaging

    Sites that offer access or software to communicate in real-time with other individuals."

     

    Second, these are two distinct types of communication methods, and the categories should by no means be merged.

    Chat refers to Chat Rooms, which are something like forums like the one we're posting on now, usually public or member based groups, except it's all real time messaging. The us though in the past decade this started to include a new style of chat sites like  Chatroulette, where you're connected to random strangers for a one on one chat session. This isn't just about sites that are dedicated to being chat rooms. It also includes sites like Twitch where you never know what's going to pop up in the chat window. 

     

    Instant Messaging covers sites or sites where you can download software with SMS like functionality where you connect to a person or people on your own list of contacts for private communications. AIM was far from the only software in this category, and there are plenty of apps and sites available in this category, including WhatsApp, Discord, Telegram, etc. When these sites are blocked it often disables the functionality of these apps in addition to the web sites of the publishers.

     

    There's very good reasons why one may want to keep Instant Messaging open while blocking Chat room, especially in schools. We might want to allow students to be able to message with their own contacts, but I suspect most schools don't want them chatting with random people on internet forums. The academic value vs stranger danger trade-offs aren't worth it. It also prevents teachers who might not be aware of how problematic those chat windows can be from putting up something like a Twitch stream in front of a class, not realizing that at any time there might be sexually explicit or hate messages posted for everyone to see. 

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    tcwsupport

    Also, just to clarify, the Chat description is the same, but the Instant Messaging description is clearer than it used to be.

    It hasn't fixed people incorrectly flagging Instant Messaging as Chat, but that's how it goes with OpenDNS. A lot of stuff continues to get flagged improperly...

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