Securing Public Access Workstations: Utilities and Vendors

Browser Configuration | Securing and Controling PCs | Restoring/Disk Cloning Software

There are several layers of security that you can implement on your public access workstations. First, browser configuration utilities and tricks help you setup the browsers on your public access workstations in ways that protect your users' privacy and maintain the browsers in optimal working order.

The second layer consists of applications that effectively limit the actions that users can perform, and protect certain areas of your computer so that files can not be saved and settings can not be changed. This conserves your system configuration, insuring continued usage and reducing maintenance work. These systems also offer varying levels of usage and audit reports, and even printing controls. However, if not properly setup, these applications may needlessly limit and frustrate users.

Instead of trying to prevent unauthorized or accidental changes by setting up layers of security, you may decide not to restrict access and usage at all. Instead, you could install a "disk cloning" program, which upon user logout, will reboot the system and restore the hard drive to its original contents and your system to its original settings and configuration, while getting rid of any applications that users may have installed, including viruses they may have imported, files, email, etc. Such applications are listed under "restoring/disk cloning software."

This list has been compiled to assist libraries in contacting providers of utilities and applications. Inclusion on this list should not be interpreted as an endorsement by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. All information was provided by the vendors and/or quoted from the vendors' websites. To the best of our knowledge, this information was correct as of July 2000. Information is constantly changing. Please contact the vendor to verify all information. If you find information that is incorrect while using this list or would like additional information, please contact the Library Development Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission: (512) 463-5465 or via email:ld@tsl.texas.gov


Browser Configuration

Securing Netscape in the Public Library by Andrew Mutch (northville.lib.mi.us/tech/netscape.html)
Includes user-tested instructions for disabling shortcut keys, running Netscape in "super-kiosk" mode, lock-in by IP number, clearing the location bar, disabling the "My Netscape" button, and more; plus a list or related resources.
Making internet browser timeout to homepage by glen@cce.ac.nz (lib.cce.ac.nz/misc/timeout.html)
An answer to the question: hot do I get Netscape/Iinternet Explorer to timeout to the library homepage after a period of inactivity?
IEClean (www.nsclean.com/iec50.html) and NSClean (www.nsclean.com/nsc32410.html) by Privacy Software Corporation
$40 per user
IEClean/NSClean protects your privacy by helping you control your online identity, cleaning your cache, history database, favorites (bookmarks), downloaded files, newsgroups and email options (preferences), clearing the URL window data and the start button document list.You can destroy unwanted cookies and prevent session or memory cookies from being received. You can use either your real identity or an alias identity to surf.

* For more browser-specific tips, see the list of "Standard Browser-Based Measures" in SunSITE's Public Access Measures page (sunsite.berkeley.edu/Web4Lib/RefCenter/lwmrcpublic.html

Securing and Controling Public Access Workstations

Cooler by Fortres (www.fortres.com/products/cooler.htm)
Educational pricing: $19 (one user), $150 (10 users) to $495 (building license). Free demo download
Cooler restricts access to certain application features. The administrator can change the behavior of an application by restricting menu items, context menus, tool bars, and dialog box options for Windows programs. Easy to install, easy to use, does not affect system performance, invisible to the user, can be reconfigured, disabled, and reactivated without rebooting.
CybraryN by Computers by Design (http://www.cbdusa.com/library/default.asp)
$396 for 10 users, $1,000 for a site license, free trial download.
CybraryN public access security and control software is a complete solution to safely secure and control public access PCs providing: interval time control, patron authentication, system security, simple desktop interface, usage and audit reports, control printing resources, computer reservation kiosk, administrator remote control, and one-site internet browser.
Fortres by Fortres (www.fortres.com/products/fortres_101.htm)
Educational pricing: $49 (1 user), $279 (15 users), $495 (100 users). Free demo download
Can be remotely managed Central Control is the complete remote administration tool for Fortres 101, our desktop security software for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT.
FullControl by Bardon Systems (www.bardon.com/fullctl.htm)
$59.95 (1 user), quantity-purchase and educational prices are also available. Free trial download.
Security access control, time limits, logging, web-browser tracking, remote administration, helpdesk support, and many flexible configuration options. Users are validated on logon and can access authorized applications, you monitor all activities and prevent them from accessing or installing other programs.
NetOff by Citadel (www.citadel.com/)
$300 for 10 seats. Free 30-day trial version downloadable from site.
Provides network security for unattended PCs, by automatically logging off inactive users. Sends off warning messages, then automatically saves user's open files and closes open applications.
WinU by Bardon Systems (www.bardon.com/winu.htm)
$59.95 (1 user), quantity-purchase and educational prices are also available. Free trial download.
Systems management, access control, event logging, web-browser oversight, remote administration, helpdesk tools, plus a simplified replacement user interface that can make computers accessible to even the most novice users, with no training.

Restoring/Disk Cloning Software

Clean Slate by Fortres (www.fortres.com/products/cleanslate.htm)
Educational pricing: $49 (1 user), $279 (15 users), $495 (100 users). Free demo download.
Takes only minutes to install and needs no attention, ever, for most installations. Administrators, by password, can specify individual drives or directories that are not to be covered and can view all changes made and specify which changes should be undone on reboot and which should be committed as permanent changes. For example, in a setting where users are being taught to alter the appearance or behavior of Windows, Clean Slate allows changes to be made to the system which are simply undone when the machine is rebooted.
DeepFreeze by Hypertec (www.hypertec.com/)
$24.95. Free evaluation download
Whatever hackers, mischief makers and innocent clickers attempt, their "work" will instantly disappear when the computer is restarted. All settings, files and programs are 100% restored to their original configuration every time. The computer operates without restrictions or security barriers and all programs run normally. Deep Freeze is invisible and totally non restrictive and does not interfere with programs.
Drive Image Pro by PowerQuest (www.powerquest.com/driveimagepro)
$220 (10 workstations), volume discounts and free trial download available.
Combines SmartSector imaging and TCP/IP multicasting to simultaneously deploy Windows workstations across the enterprise in minutes. Copies used or allocated sectors on the hard drive for FAT, FAT32, NTFS and HPFS file systems. Preserves optimizations by creating and restoring an exact image.
eXpress by altiris (www.altiris.com/eXpress/AX_over.htm)
$450 (10 nodes), $1125 (25 nodes). 30-day free download trial.
Easy to use, no special training is required. Lets you install and fully configure new PCs automatically-from scratch, deploy operating system and application changes and updates to your desktop and mobile PCs, backup and restore registries located on client PC Backup and restore an entire PC or just what's been changed since the last benchmark.
Ghost by Symantec (www.symantec.com/ghost)
For pricing contact ghostsales@binaryresearch.net
Features include: disk cloning, partition cloning, image compression, automatic partitioning, multiple operating system support. Disk image can be copied to several PCs simultaneously.
PC-Rdist by Pizzo Software (www.pyzzo.com/)
Educational discounts available, about $250 for 10 node license. Free evaluation download available.
A "synchronization tool" for Windows 95, 98 and NT. Designed for use in public labs, PC-Rdist distributes applications, removes unwanted software and maintains consistent settings across a network of computers.
Page last modified: March 2, 2011