I am in the process of setting up a computer system in our church library. One of the first things I thought about in this process is “Locking down the computers”. I decided to observe a local county library’s way of doing the same.

The library is just down the street from my home. This is a small library — Only 10 computers linked to their wired network. They have just installed wifi, but I am not going to check it for now. Just want to see how the “protected ” computers are setup.

1. All are running windows XP professional.
2. all have sound enabled
3. all have usb ports to allow you to save your work ( assuming you have a memory stick of some sort )
4. Limited programs are loaded.
5. start/run is disabled. no external bat, com or exe files are allowed.

There are some deficiencies noted (so far ):
1. java applications are allowed if accessed through a web page
a. This means that if you create a web page on a memory stick that has java application within it, you can use your browser to access this application. Voila! An application that you can control.

I have tried the following java application types with good success.
1. ssh client
2. ftp client
3. file browser

None of these cause any harm to their system. I am trying to think of other applications that would be useful if my system at home died.

More on this is a future post.