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O.k. I am really new but have managed to build a working SPAM Filter and a Proxy server for my company and they are both in a production environment. My ...
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  1. #1
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    Enterprise solution for Monitoring Client Web Usage


    O.k. I am really new but have managed to build a working SPAM Filter and a Proxy server for my company and they are both in a production environment. My Squid web proxy is joined to our doamin and authenticates with NTLM. I use Squidguard to block certain sites and SARG to analyze the access.log files. When I view the reports in SARG, it only shows me the download times it takes to download the web page. I was wondering if there was a way SARG, Squid, or another program could monitor to see how long the employee was actually on the website surfing. We currently use SurfControl on a Windows machine to do this but I am trying to cut costs by using Linux. So far what I have is great but I would really like to know the length of time the user is on the web site. Any suggestions on how to get this info from log files or fron another program?

  2. #2
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    Neat question. It may be possible, but I would not think that it would be reliable from the destination webserver.

    Possibility:
    You could monitor sessions on a firewall, the session length would be set at a default, but if the session continues to generate activity, it could give you some idea.

    Difficulty:
    Static (http) webpages are stateless. That means that the server doesn't hold the connection open for that particular client. The client can maintain cookies, etc... but no state. Citrix, imap, pop3, or ssh sessions are stateful protocols that maintain the session state, which in turn would allow you to monitor session duration.

    Good question. I would recommend webalizer. It's free and does a good job at hits, etcetera. It doesn't tell you how long someone viewed a page, because once the page is downloaded to the browser window, it could be there all week and never need to hit the actual webserver again.

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    I have searched on how Surfcontrol is able to record these times but I can't come up with anything. The way you explain the stateful protocols makes it hard to beleive that there is any way of knowing when someone leaves a website after they have finished downloading it. I understand it but it makes me wonder how Surfcontrol is doing it.

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  5. #4
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    From the client-side, I would think that it would be possible to monitor the time that IE, or any process using ports 80 or 443, remained open. SurfControl would be installed on the client's workstation, not the actual webserver.

    You can perform a few tests to check your own browsing. This will give you an idea of how activity is monitored.

    In Windows:

    > netstat -nb
    or possibly...
    > wmic process list | findstr iexplore.exe

    This will give you the application, local and remote ip address, and current status.

    Linux:

    $ netstat -nap


    I don't have a good solution for client-based tools. What you would need is an application installed on each workstation that monitors web usage. Probably google "monitor client web usage" or something.

    Sorry that I can't help more.

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    No worries about not being able to help more. Surfcontrol is actually not installed on any of the client PC's. It runs on it's own server and is plugged into a port on a switch that mirrors the port to our internet connection. Not exactly sure how it monitors there connection time but it does. Have you ever used Dansguardian? I am thinking of trying that to see what I can configure or see in there logs.

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    Unfortunately, I haven't tried it. I think that I heard it is a good tool.

    I currently use 'bannerfilter' on a number of my proxy servers to kill pop-ups and banner ads. It doesn't have a pretty user interface, but installation and configuration was pretty simple. If you think it is usable, I could send a little configuration information.

    Reference:
    http://phroggy.com/bannerfilter/

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    Thanks for the offer but I don't think we need it to control the banners and pop-ups right now. We are more concerned with being able to generate reports on how long the user has been surfing. We have a problem with employees not working and surfing the internet. Kind of like I am doing now but I get paid to do it.

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