You may be enjoying unlimited access to the internet at work, but there is always that nagging thought at the back of your mind that all your web-activities are being monitored by someone sitting in that server room in the basement or maybe it is an open directive of the management that all the web accesses will be scrutinized to prevent unofficial use of the internet.
In-spite of this, there are occasions when you may get that forward from a close friend with an unknown or Not Safe For Work(NSFW) web URL and you are desperately waiting to open and see what he has to share. Also, you may lack the prevelage of personal cubicles and maybe sharing a common space with other colleagues and friends who can occasionally(maybe unintentionally) glance over at your screen and see what website you are surfing. So how do you open this without getting flagged by your network security team? Well, believe it or not, there are ways to do this unnoticed as explained below:
Short URL – These days it is common for most of the social networking sites to shorten your URL (like : http://t.co/wRU3V78 ) and you may be receiving many such shortened URLs from colleagues & friends. If you are unsure what exactly is the destination URL, you can make use of longurl.org to analyze and expand the short URL to see the complete details before opening up the site. It not only expands the URL but also gives other relevant information as shown below:
Sometimes you may realize that the website contains NSFW content which may trigger off those internet security protocols set by your company policies. In such a scenario, you may consider actually downloading the entire website as a PDF file without actually opening the site in any browser. You can do this with a nice tool pdfMyUrl.com which is a free service and does all the conversions on it’s own servers before popping out the PDF file for you to save on your local computer for review. (Note: I still need to try this out completely)
Another useful tool that is available is to save any website as an image which you can edit using any default image-editor on your local desktop. You simply need to prefix “aviary.com” to your website URL. ( For eg: If you are trying to image http://www.dailymorningcoffee.com/ then just use aviary.com/http://www.dailymorningcoffee.com/ ). This can prove to be useful to override those Desktop Sniffer programs which scans for even PDF files saved or downloaded to your desktop :-). I downloaded a Mozilla add-on from Aviary which gives instant image conversion of any website and you can either save to your desktop or edit on Aviary server itself, see below for a screenshot of the options.
Do you also have that constant feeling that your friends or colleagues are sneaking up on you and trying to pry on which websites you are visiting or what you are doing during office hours? Well, it is time to make use of “Variably Safe For Work” tool which will allow you to enter your URL and provides a slide bar which you can pull and leave at a place where it is mild enough for you alone to see. Others will just see a blank screen and back off from your desk !!!See below video to preview the tool:
Hope you found these tools useful, but all the same, don’t go against your company policies and regulations just to see what a friend has sent you. Knowledge is good to acquire, but using it with care is the sign of intelligence!!!!