How do I block instant messengers

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Summary

pfSense is a firewall that works on layer 3 and layer 4, so it can handle IP addresses and port numbers well. Instant Message (IM) vendors actively try to bypass firewalls so they change server IP addresses frequently, use many IP addresses, and disguise traffic as HTTP. This presents a major problem because it is difficult to differentiate between IM HTTP traffic and a legitimate web page traffic when using layers 3 and 4. Layer 7 information is needed to inspect URLs and protocols. This is best done using the SQUID package, but if that is not in use, then the workaround is to stop the traffic using DNS and firewall rules and is detailed below.

Details

First the IM authentication servers must be identified and then they should be forced to resolve as 127.0.0.1 in the pfSense DNS forwarder. The clients must use the pfSense firewall as their DNS server and no other DNS traffic should be allowed out of the network.

MSN

MSN servers that should be blocked using firewall rules and the DNS forwarder:

  • webmessenger.msn.com
  • messenger.hotmail.com
  • gateway.messenger.hotmail.com

Also use firewall rules to reject or block ports 1863, 901 and 6891-6900 to stop MSN Messenger.

Yahoo

Yahoo servers that should be blocked using firewall rules and the DNS forwarder:

  • login.yahoo.com
  • msg.edit.yahoo.com
  • edit.messenger.yahoo.com
  • csa.yahoo.com
  • csb.yahoo.com
  • csc.yahoo.com

Google Talk

General Information

Google Talk servers that should be blocked:

  • talk.google.com

NOTE: that this is the same as www.google.com so should only be redirected in DNS and not blocked using firewall rules unless Google search should also be blocked.

Also use firewall rules to block port 5222 to stop Google Talk.

Additional Information

From: Google Team <talk-feedback_at_google.com>

Hello,
   Thank you for contacting the Google Talk Team. We understand that it is
   sometimes necessary to disable instant messaging services on a network. If
   you need to disable Google Talk on your network, we suggest blocking DNS
   lookups to talk.google.com, by returning 127.0.0.1.
   If we can be of further assistance, please respond to this message and a
   member of the Google Talk Team will respond to you shortly.
   Sincerely,
   The Google Team