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I have a laptop that I use at school, however as part of doing so, I had to allow them to make my laptop connect to their domain. However as a part of their IT acceptable use policy, during school hours (they have also disabled the admin account while its connected to the domain), I cannot attempt to do anything that would/could damage the system. Also, my domain account is restricted with group policy.

As I cannot login to administrator to use cmd to compile a Java application, I decided to use command.com as it isnt restricted by group policy. However the next day, someone from IT came to me stating that they had proof that I had been using command prompt (If they see you using command prompt they call it "hacking").

So my question is, Is it possible for them to be able to log commands entered to command.com (or cmd.exe) or not?

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Is this their laptop or yours, and if it's theirs, do you give it back at the end of the day? –  Matt Jul 16 '12 at 9:50
    
@Matt I'ts mine, I can take it home or leave it at school but I usually take it home. –  Adam Jul 16 '12 at 9:58
    
How have they disabled all these things then? No network policy should be able to disable local administrator access on a laptop. –  Matt Jul 16 '12 at 10:08
    
maybe they changed the password? –  stijn Jul 16 '12 at 10:16
    
while at school. try typing in computername\administratorAccount and then the password. –  Phillip R. Jul 16 '12 at 12:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you make your PC a member of their domain there are a number of things they might do to monitor your usage. Potentially they could install remote control software on your PC such as dameware. This needn't necessarily be something visible. There are a number of packages available for school administrators, with the basic idea being that they can reduce "cyberbullying" by detecting activity at the outset. One widely-used piece of software (securus) waits for certain keywords to be typed (aggressive swearing for example) and immediately captures a screenshot and emails it to the admin. The words could be typed anywhere - notepad even.

It's also possible to detect the presence of certain executables running on a system or wait for the launch of specific executables using a WMI script connected to the remote PC. There are lots of options once they have admin access to your PC I'm afraid.

The fact that this leaves both parties in a frustrating situation is a sign that this "bring your own device" policy can be difficult to manage effectively. From many years' experience of being on the other side of this coin, I would say that your best bet by a long way is to try to engage with the staff who are blocking you. Explain your actions and give them reason to believe that you don't want to demolish their network. Show them some sympathy - they'll have their work cut out trying to secure a network full of virus-ridden laptops connecting willy-nilly. Edugeek.net is a good place to look for advice in this area as it is mostly populated by ICT Technicians and ICT Managers working in schools.

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They probably have set an audit access on cmd.exe so that they get a log entry whenever it is accessed.

The main issue really is whether you have a legitimate reason for running a compile while at school? If you do, the best thing would be to get a teacher to let them know that you need to do this and for them to give you some access. Perhaps you could create a standard batch job, let them check it out and allow you to run it?

Of course, there may be other alternatives depending on what they are logging. For example, is the use of Cygwin monitored? Or can you run a compile from an HTA (e.g. running things via VBscript or JavaScript)? (though I suspect that that would still trigger cmd.exe).

Or even run the compile remotely by using Putty or WindSCP.

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