Ebay blocked at work, their phone network allows internet... Huh?!

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by dougwa, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
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    I work at a large company that has a "no personal use" internet policy. Since I'm very well liked I requested special permission to buy on Ebay while at work, and management said yes, but the IT guy said no.
    One day I was desperate to snipe a great deal on ink cartridges so I decided I'd use my home dial-up account with the phone line at work (while on break, of course... i can take my 15 minute breaks whenever i choose).
    But to my dismay I found that the phone cord plugs into a lan-shaped outlet which was sharpie-labeled "Data 6". Still, being desperate for a deal, I tried plugging a LAN cable from there to my laptop (Windows XP Pro with Comodo firewall) and after a few seconds a pop-up declared "This connection has limited or no connectivity". But I opened Firefox and WHAM, I could browse Ebay with lightning speed. (i got a STEAL on ink! lol)
    Then when I plugged my work phone back in it had no dial tone for about 20 seconds (YIKES!), then the time came up on it's LCD and it worked fine.
    A month passed and I heard nothing negative, so I made some more Ebay purchases this way. Then I got daring and viewed a youtube (also blocked at work) without repercussions.
    SO NOW MY QUESTION: Am I harming anything at work? I'm not hacking and I'm not browsing any dodgy sites...
    And, is what I'm doing costing my company extra money for data usage or anything like that?
     
  2. jellybelly

    jellybelly MDL Member

    Oct 30, 2009
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    The answers to both your questions are basically "no" (not harming anything, no extra costs). You "probably" are circumventing various employment/network/usage policies though.

    You must have a smart phone right? C'mon, everyone does. So load up the eBay app and do your shopping there.

    There are other (better) ways you could probably go about doing your browsing, but I won't get into them... I'll say though that it might even be as easy as just installing a different browser on the computer, as a lot of network permissions are tied to internet explorer.
     
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  3. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
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    #3 dougwa, Dec 30, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
    (OP)
    Hello JB, thanks for helping!
    Although my job is with a big firm, they are CHEAPSKATE PAYERS and I make very little, thus, I have no smart phone (notice I mentioned that I have DIAL-UP at home, not cable or DSL! lol). Actually, my own cel is an old RAZR and I pay by the minute, meaning it costs me less than $9/month to have a cel phone. But not too many years ago I was tethering the RAZR and getting decent browsing for the cost of minutes, till something changed and that stopped working.
    RE: Trying to circumvent what IT has blocked over here - I'm not allowed to install ANYTHING on my work computer. And browsing to one of those CGI webproxy pages is no option - try to go to such a page and the browser says something like "domain blocked, contact administrator at ---@---.com". (Ebay and youtube give the same page.)
    If you know any other good tricks, you might consider sending me a pm. Thanks!
     
  4. GCI

    GCI MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2011
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    How does your work computer connect to the internet? It sounds like your company uses IP phones (Cisco, most likely). Typically these phones have their own dedicated ethernet drop (like the one you found), and are usually powered by Power over Ethernet. Essentially, the phone receives data and power over a CAT5/6 line.

    Since you were able to get online by plugging in to that port, I'm guessing that your IT department either hasn't bothered with putting the phones on their own VLAN, or that VLAN still has a route to the internet. These phones typically take up to a minute when they're plugged in to power on, and connect to the IP phone server.

    Assuming all of this is true, then you shouldn't really be harming your company in any way. Typical setups for each workstation will consist of one ethernet drop (power over ethernet), the IP phone, then the computer. The computer will plug in to the phone - these phones usually have a "PC port" on them, which essentially bridge ethernet data over its own connection. Any voice traffic from the phone is supposed to be processed on the IP phone server, then sent over a PoTS line, so any data you are using should be going through your company's network like normal.

    I find it strange that internet traffic over that port isn't firewalled like you previously noticed - perhaps the phones are not behind the firewall? Thus I am really curious how your work computer is connected to the network.

    Just adding some final thoughts, it is kind of sad that your company has such a strict policy. Usually this kind of blocking only encourages employees to work on finding alternate means to get to what they want, wasting more company time in the process. Like you said, you just want to do your own thing on your break, and I think there is nothing morally wrong with that. A better scenario would be blocking dangerous sites - malware, for example. But I'm just some guy on the internet :biggrin:
     
  5. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
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  6. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
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    More help! Yea!

    Well OK then... Redroad, nothing executable works on my work computer, which I could maybe get around by hacking the admin password (yikes! lol). Thanks for thinking of me tho!

    >GCI: Holy crap, I didn't know any of that, thanks for sharing!
    RE: How my work box gets online: Looks like a regular LAN cord to the wall... and nothing plugs into the phone except it's own LAN cord.
    So there's likely some kind of hardware firewall that's set up to block sites? I could sneak into the server room here, but I wouldn't dare change anything on the setup. But I know that some managers here are permitted to get to Ebay and email, so our IT guy must have domains limited for some but not all of us. (I asked my supervisor if I could buy ink off Ebay on my break from her laptop but she's just like me - no Ebay access.)
    Now, there's WEP wifi here and if I really wanted to be a b@stard I could sniff the pass and log what MACs are in use and when, then I could sneak onto someone else's connection sometimes. (IF i was a b@stard, that is! lol)
     
  7. GCI

    GCI MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2011
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    Sorry for taking awhile to get back! Can you see two LAN ports on your phone? Normally there will be two grouped together - one would have the phone's own data cord like you see, then there would be an additional empty one. If there is, I would think you can just take your work computer's LAN cable, plug it in there, then have everything functioning the same as it was, plus the benefit of less fire-walling perhaps.

    Yeah, I would think it is likely a hardware firewall. So this wireless network, is it like some sort of exclusive exec network that isn't behind the firewall or something? If that's the case I guess you could break the password in about 10 minutes on your cellphone and be online :p

    I don't know where you want to draw the line between just trying to do some personal things and compromising company security... I guess if I were me, I would steer away from trying to crack anything and continue investigating alternate means... But you know your company better than I do.

    Good luck!
     
  8. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
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    Hey GCI, I just noticed... there's an empty cube next to mine with a phone but no computer... that phone has what looks like a regular phone cable but it also has an empty port on the back labeled DATA. If my supervisor will let me take breaks in there (she's pretty nice) I could see if I can access Ebay there. Would save me disconnecting my phone...
    Now a question - If there IS internet there, how much of a chance is there that our IT guy (who is NOT nice) will have some kind of server logging, raising a red flag? (no one has made waves for my ebaying the way i did it before)
     
  9. deathero

    deathero MDL Junior Member

    Oct 26, 2012
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    most IT departments have a logging server for everything from every time you login into your workstation to every program you use at work, if the port on the back on the phone is either used for voice over ip or its a port that is disabled so if even if you tried the port it may not work.
     
  10. GCI

    GCI MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2011
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    Once again, I was slow on the reply :p

    Like deathero said, any of this could be quite risky...

    This cable that you say looks like a phone cable, does it only have two pins? If so, I could be wrong about the whole VoIP situation, and perhaps it is possible that your company's internal phone network is just POTS rather than VoIP.

    But on the other hand, if you can fit an ethernet cable into that DATA port, what the heck. Give it a spin, see if you can get on google then. If it works, then tread carefully ;)
     
  11. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
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    OK, I finally remembered to look at that phone cord. It has four pins, not two. But it's a different brand unit (no LCD), and when you unplug it and then plug it back in it has a dial tone after only a few seconds, while MY phone with the lan-cord in takes closer to 30 seconds for it's display to show the time (but i haven't checked to see if it has a dial tone sooner than that). Darn me for not writing down the brands and models... neither one is Cisco, that I know.
    In any event, since I can do Ebay the way I've been doing it without repercussions, I'd better not change!
     
  12. trendzmania

    trendzmania MDL Novice

    Apr 3, 2015
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    no u r nothing doing wrong, main thing is which u r doing is never harm to any body