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I have gifted my 15yrs son a Dell laptop in which Ubuntu 10.10 has pre installed, wanna trace what whether he is using the net in proper way or not.

Please suggest me how to findout what he browsing online.

Do we have any tool to findout search history for 15days what he did ?

Thanks in advance.

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good question ...+1 – One Zero Jan 8 '12 at 4:47
What browser is he using? – Thomas Boxley Jan 8 '12 at 5:05
You're aware this varies from Browser to browser as the HISTORY option is in different Menus? Moreover Browsers store the data in different locations and ways. By the way you check web history in HISTORY in any browser. Which of course if the user deletes is gone for good. – Uri Herrera Jan 8 '12 at 21:11

In Firefox, use ctrl-shift-H or menu History - Show All. Other browsers will have similar options but he can configure the browser to delete this info or delete manually himself so it's a very basic check and easily fooled if he knows you will check.

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Control+H in Chrome/Chromium. – Uri Herrera Jan 8 '12 at 21:15

Where are you trying to record this information? Unless you can record it in a place he can't access or want to resort to a whole bunch of data forensics the answer is no.

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i justt wanna know which sites he browse , basic info – user41012 Jan 8 '12 at 5:00

Well, Firefox provides a feature called Private Mode, which is specifically designed not to store any such information. I would not bet anything on the assumption that your son doesn't know about it. There is no network log in Ubuntu (by default) that you can check. You could install an application to do that, if you really wanted to, but that would also only work as long as he didn't have any direct access to the system.

I would not rely on the computer to reveal his habits. At home, you could make a router store the network traffic, but I don't think computers are the solution to this problem.

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That may be, but see my answer for software that will help with part of the solution. Of course, good communication is the other piece of the puzzle which is essential. – Scott Severance Jan 8 '12 at 23:53
You realize, of course, that if the kid comes here asking how to deactivate your software, I'll give him the best answer I'm capable of? :) Software like that only provides a false sense of security and control, and is more likely to cause problems than prevent them. Imnsho :) – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jan 9 '12 at 3:30
Sure, you can deactivate it. It wouldn't be too hard. But it would be obvious that it had happened. The way to defeat the software would be to tamper with it. – Scott Severance Jan 9 '12 at 3:51

I would recommend Net Responsibility for this. I was the initial developer of it several years ago, though it's now been rewritten by the new maintainers and I don't know the details of how it works. But here's basically what it does:

  • First, it monitors all the URLs requested at a low level (so that you can't get around it by switching browsers or using the private browsing mode.
  • Then, it periodically sends reports to the accountability partner (in this case, you). I think that the way the reports work has been changed since I worked on it, so I no longer no too many details, but the reports do include a list of the websites visited.
  • Finally, it includes in the reports whether it's been shut down manually (as an anti-circumvention measure). And, of course, if you don't get a report when scheduled, you'd know that it had been disabled.

I don't recommend using this software as a way to sneak around. Make it clear to him up front that the software is there and that if he tampers with it he'll lose his computer privileges.

Finally, if you want to prevent tampering, don't give him a full account on the machine. Either give him a non-administrator account, or configure sudo to prevent access to Net Responsibility. The latter option isn't easy to implement, though.

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You must also find some way to make it impossible to boot into single user mode, etc. Otherwise, he can just pull the plug, boot into single user mode, deactivate the software, and if someone asks, he can just say "oh, the system crashed". How would your software catch that? – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jan 9 '12 at 3:28
@Jo-ErlendSchinstad: Of course, software alone can't catch everything. But if no reports are coming in, that'll look suspicious, and it's where communication comes into play. The main area of vulnerability is if he tampers with the software itself, or manages to get at the data before it's sent to a remote server. Not much you can do about that. But disabling it would be very obvious. I for one wouldn't buy the "system crashed" line more than once or twice. – Scott Severance Jan 9 '12 at 3:52

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