[sf-lug] Running Linux in a browser under Win7

ian at iansidle.com ian at iansidle.com
Thu Dec 27 12:57:30 PST 2012

Well, it sounds like what you really want is to be able to

1)Bypass the security filters at your company
2)Get access to your computer at home (in order to bypass the filters).

Is your primary goal #1, or #2? In order to do #1, there is many
For #2, some of the options are simular but some are different.

A)Ask your company to allow access to the sites you want to get into. A
lot of places are draconian, but if you have a legitimate reason to get
in there then they should be able to make an exception in the security
for you. 

Another way to phrase this is - Is it worth loosing your job, in order
to check your email?

At the end of the day, it is their computer, their internet connection
and companies can restrict your usage of them any way they see fit and
that is 100% legal (regardless of whether that is "reasonable" or not).
B)The safest solution is to get a smartphone and check your email using
They can not legally lock you down. They can still fire you for "wasting
company time" but they can't claim you are committing "theft of service"
by using their equipment in non-approved ways. It is a *very* long shot
that it would ever get to that, but it is still a possibility.  

There is many ways for them to monitor activity on the computer and
there is too many possibilities to easily list here. By doing it over
3/4G there is no way they can monitor you short of being physically next
to you.

If your budget is tight - The cheapest I've seen is the Venture from
Virgin mobile, $40 android phone (venture) that uses a $35/month plan
that includes unlimited txt/data. This is a pre-paid plan and has no
contractual/term obligations.

There are also many other options out there (Straight Talk, Page
Plus,etc) including iphones but you often have to pay more money up
front for the phone (but then more then make up the difference in
monthly bill savings). 

-If everyone is in "the same boat" and nobody cares about the rules,
then you are probably pretty safe. 

-If the culture is super strict, then I would seriously think twice
about doing it. There is nothing you can do to prevent someone looking
over your shoulder and then reporting it to someone in authority. 

C)Probably one of the easiest ways is to install remote control software
on your computer at home and just remotely run your browser of choice on
there. Short of them running video monitoring software on the computer
it will be hard to detect what you are doing. 

They will know you are doing something, but they will have a hard time
proving what. 

One of the easiest is TeamViewer (as it doesn't require tinkering with
firewalls at all, runs on Linux and you can download a portable version
of the software that runs directly from a USB drive). Well, presuming
they haven't blocked non-approved executables (matched by
checksum/crypto signature). Sometimes you can rename it as "notepad.exe"
and that would work, if they are blocking only based on executable name. 

If you want to go the open-source route, you can install vnc-server and
there is a web-browser based version that allows you to get in through a
web browser w/java (presuming they haven't blocked your ip range and are
lenient enough in the security options in IE). You can also get a
portable executable and run that for the client. 

There is a number of alternatives for this, so you can try different
options and often one solution is blocked but not others. 

Other possibilities
-Browse to your website through a proxy website. Fairly easy to do, but
they are frequently blocked. If you keep looking for new sites that are
not blocked it is fairly reasonable.

Do note, that it is *very* possible for a proxy site to obtain your
login credentials (and/or the contents of your email) this way, so make
sure you do not do anything sensitive unless you go through one that is

-Run Tor, but it will be much much slower then the option above and is
as much, if even more risky on getting your identity stolen.

-Use an SSH/VPN tunnel to your computer at home (or use a cheap VPS
~$5/month if you want it to run faster).

-Boot off a Linux USB Drive/CD-ROM. Depending on the configuration, this
/might/ get around the website blocks but this does not necessarily mean
you are safe (it is very possible they are blocking sites and/or
recording your web activity at the firewall/gateway level).  

-If your IT person is *very* vigilant (but not likely), they could also
detect you are no longer running windows and pay you a visit...

-You can run a virtual machine software (VirtualBox is free, VMware
player, several others). Might get around one level of blocking but if
they have monitoring software at the OS level, they can know you spent X
hours a day in the virtual machine, if not block the site(s) anyway. 


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