Parental Controls in 10.4 - How easy is it to get around them?

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
I have a 13-year old son on an iBook running 10.4. Due to various internet and chat room issues which I won't go into here, I've had to add myself as an administrator on his computer and activate parental controls on his user account. His new goal in life now is to figure out how to circumvent them.

It seems like it shouldn't be possible . . . but then again, nothing is impossible. How concerned do I need to be?

I know it's possible to buy third party software that will record his every move on the computer, but I'd rather not spend the money if I don't have to.
 

GGGUUUYYY

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2009
163
0
It is easy to bypass parental controls by creating a new administrator account. you don't even need the tiger disk and i'm sure he has probably already done that.


I'm sure you've already done this but maybe limit his time by taking the laptop away? or have the laptop in the kitchen while he's using it.
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
Auuughh! I'm doomed!

Is it a coincidence that the concern in both threads is a 13-year old boy? :D

None of what I read though (either in that thread or in the article that it referenced) suggested any way of bypassing the parental controls within Safari itself, and that's my primary concern. If there's the potential for him to access other app's (like internet explorer or firefox), it's easy enough for me to just remove those from the applications file so he can't get to them. That leaves us with Safari - so how easy would it be to bypass those parental controls?
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
It is easy to bypass parental controls by creating a new administrator account.
But, but, but . . . I thought you had to have admin privileges to create a new admin account! :eek:

Okay, so how do I stop him from doing this or, in the alternative, discover if he's already done it?

By the way, as for limiting computer time, that's not really an option. He has several hours of homework every day - almost all of which requires computer use. The only thing I could do is require him to do all his work in my office or the living room . . . and that may be what I have to do.

I've been using screen sharing (from my Mac with Leopard) to monitor him intermittently, and I'm sure that helps, but I can't watch him every minute.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,420
759
Auuughh! I'm doomed!

Is it a coincidence that the concern in both threads is a 13-year old boy? :D

None of what I read though (either in that thread or in the article that it referenced) suggested any way of bypassing the parental controls within Safari itself, and that's my primary concern. If there's the potential for him to access other app's (like internet explorer or firefox), it's easy enough for me to just remove those from the applications file so he can't get to them. That leaves us with Safari - so how easy would it be to bypass those parental controls?
If he has physical access to the Mac, he could create an Admin account and remove all parental controls from his account.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,420
759
Wouldn't an EFI Firmware Password prevent that? Or can you still boot into the command line mode with that enabled?
EFI Firmware Passwords are ultra-simple to remove. I took mine off when I learned how easy it is to bypass.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,291
14
Kids can often guess the parents' password,
or memorize it a few characters at a time.
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,131
1
in 10.4 I managed to get system preferences running as root on a non admin account by using a bug in ARDagent and applescript but I am not on tiger anymore and it does not work on leopard so to pervent him from doing it on his computer upgrade him to leopard

on leopard he could boot in single user mode and edit the sudoers file to make him a admin on command line then enable root from command line with his password and log in as root and disable parental controls. He probably does not know how to use command line or how to boot into single user mode to do it though. I did this on my PowerBook when my account became a non admin when upgrading from tiger. My parents do not care what I do on my computer as long as I do not look at bad stuff.
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
Well, since there's no way for me to know if this is the parent or the child posting, I'm not going to give instructions.
Fair enough. So I'll repeat my earlier question - is there any way for me to discover if he has done this?

In other words, would he have been able to create a new admin account, and then delete it later and reinstate the original admin account without my knowing it?
 

GGGUUUYYY

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2009
163
0
Fair enough. So I'll repeat my earlier question - is there any way for me to discover if he has done this?

In other words, would he have been able to create a new admin account, and then delete it later and reinstate the original admin account without my knowing it?
see if the password of your admin account has been change
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,131
1
If he did what I did he would of enabled root with his own password and you would not see it on the login screen but you would see a "other" section on the login screen. Try typing in root with his password. If you see the other section or his account is a admin account all of the sudden.
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
see if the password of your admin account has been change
Okay, so there's no way he'd be able to do this and preserve the original password?

I'm on his computer practically every day adding websites that he needs for homework. So there's no way he could change my password without getting busted immediately. And yes, if he suddenly stopped needing my help to access new websites, I'd notice that too!
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,131
1
I can get around any parental controls system on Windows or Mac. I did on windows but my parents have never done anything to my Mac because they do not know how. When I got around the windows one Dad thought it broke. I just deleted some files out of the folder of the parental controls software but I also broke the anti virus software too
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
If he did what I did he would of enabled root with his own password and you would not see it on the login screen but you would see a "other" section on the login screen. Try typing in root with his password. If you see the other section or his account would be a admin account.
Okay, got it. I think. I think this is more or less what he's been trying to do, but so far the parental controls have had him stymied. He's on vacation this week, so he has more time on his hands than usual. Probably wouldn't hurt to limit his computer use 'til school starts again.
 

GGGUUUYYY

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2009
163
0
Okay, so there's no way he'd be able to do this and preserve the original password?

I'm on his computer practically every day adding websites that he needs for homework. So there's no way he could change my password without getting busted immediately. And yes, if he suddenly stopped needing my help to access new websites, I'd notice that too!
I'm not sure on that.
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,131
1
Okay, so there's no way he'd be able to do this and preserve the original password?
If he did what I said he would not use your account at all but you would see the other section on the login screen and you would be able to login as root with his password unless he disabled the root account after he used it to bypass the parental controls. When I did that I was not bypassing parental controls I was fixing a bug in Mac OS X as there was no admin accounts on the computer at all when I did it

he could also use the root account for everything and his account for schoolwork only as a coverup for the operation

and he could be reading this thread and figuring out how to bypass the parental controls so I would block MacRumors on his computer

I would not use any parental control software as a only defence because as I said I can disable any parental control software. He could burn a linux live cd and and use that while hiding the cd. If you found it he could make another if you took it from him and if he has access to the os cd's he could erase the hard drive and install osx or if he has a leopard disk he could shrink the partition and create another tiger install and use that and just shut the computer down while having it default to boot your install but he boots his install by holding down option on boot.
 

nhcowboy1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2008
294
2
NH
He could burn a linux live cd and and use that while hiding the cd. If you found it he could make another if you took it from him and if he has access to the os cd's he could erase the hard drive and install osx or if he has a leopard disk he could shrink the partition and create another tiger install and use that and just shut the computer down while having it default to boot your install but he boots his install by holding down option on boot.
Wow! I didn't understand half of that, but I can see where the kid might be able to. Plus, he's motivated!

One of these days, I'll ask you to explain all of that to me. In the meantime, no, he does not have access to MacRumors. But we've got four Macs, and only his is blocked . . . so it won't be long. Sigh . . . .
 

dlhainsworth

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2009
1
0
VERY EASY to circumvent parental controls in 10.4

My 13 year old accidentally discovered and amazingly was honest enough to tell me about a glitch in parental controls. When they enter a website that's not approved, the message "website blocked..." comes up and the "add website" button. When you click "add website" the "type administrator name and password" box comes up with a "cancel" and "add" button. If you don't type anything in the name/password boxes and click "cancel." Instead of cancelling, it ADDS the website. So they can access ANY website, ANYtime in this simple way! Unbelievable huh? This basically renders parental controls completely useless.

Also, this is SO easy for any kid to discover without even trying. If they ever change their mind about adding a website and click "cancel," tahdah, they just figured out how to get around parental controls.
 

jboswell

macrumors newbie
Jun 4, 2010
1
0
bypassing parental controls questions

I am trying to figure out how to bypass the parental controls on my sisters macbook. She forgot her password and now it isn't allowing us to change any of the settings and keeps asking for the username and password. If anybody knows how to bypass the parental controls, or have any helpful hints it would be greatly aprreciated. Any information just email me at jasonboswell45@gmail.com. thanks guys
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,323
221
West Suburban Boston Ma
Is it a coincidence that the concern in both threads is a 13-year old boy?
This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon - he's trying to write software to block p**n to protect children. Next panel friend says (more or less) "You are going to pit your programming skills against the hormones of a million teenagers?"
Last panel is kid looking at screen with eyes bugging out.