Chat on AIM/iChat from behind a firewall

May 23, 2007 - 16 Comments

It is not unusual for companies and schools to block certain ports to prevent people from using things like P2P networks and AIM. If you want to get around the AIM port block, change the port from the default 5190 to port 80 (the standard for web servers), which is unlikely to be blocked. Accessing this preference is easy, in iChat navigate to Preferences->Accounts->Server Settings, and adjust the settings as shown in the picture below. Now you can talk on iChat or AIM from school or work!



iChat Preferences

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Posted by: Bill Ellis in How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

16 Comments

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  1. Caesar Chavez says:

    This is an interesting idea but I have to wonder if there would be any conflict within the network for web services. And also, it’s likely a System Administrator could still see the data being sent if they were to be watching the network closely, AIM is hardly a secure protocol.

  2. Lukas says:

    You could also use Jabber together with a server that is listening on port 443 or 80. That way, your conversations are unreadable to the admins of the network and by using transports, you can chat with almost anybody – there are transports for AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo and even IRC!

  3. Admin Guy says:

    Lukas: Unreadable yes – but if my firewall logs show excessive connections to an IP address instead of a domain name, I will restrict that employee’s internet access to a white-list only policy. You will get caught. :-)

  4. Kevin says:

    Wow, I use this site quite often for good ideas and tips. It was a suprise that it would advocate bypassing security policies. There is a reason that corporation block IM and even though it is usually trivial to bypass these controls, it does not bypass the very real threat of job loss.

    Please think before posting tips like this.
    Kevin

  5. Atticus says:

    Thanks SO much for this!
    Im a college student at UTSA and had problems connecting with my iChat/AIM while my friends on their Windows laptops were able to connect without a problem. I would never have done bypassed their security if others werent able to connect. Reading the above comments kinda gets me worried, but hey, I am still a kid and want my mac to be treated as en equal to a pc!

  6. If a company’s IT staff has time to screw around with blocking AIM and then spying on people who circumvent that blocking, it means the IT people don’t have enough work to do. Either give them something to do, or lay them off.

  7. Non Conformist says:

    “Wow, I use this site quite often for good ideas and tips. It was a suprise that it would advocate bypassing security policies. There is a reason that corporation block IM and even though it is usually trivial to bypass these controls, it does not bypass the very real threat of job loss.

    Please think before posting tips like this.”

    Perhaps you should think before you tell others to think. No offense but most of the creative thinkers go outside the box and in general don’t follow the crowd like cattle. Why do we always assume that going against the grain involves getting out of work, instead of a way to facilitate better time management. Have you considered the notion that perhaps this is a tool to do ones job more effectively and the powers that be weren’t necessarily thinking from the right direction. I personally would rather not work for an entity that punishes all for the sins of the few but I guess that explains why I do independent consulting. In addition, I travel constantly and am not really a part of the powers that be but still have a need to get information in and around the firewall that is not in charge of my permissions or actions on a day to day basis. So don’t condemn just because this happens to be a no no in your specific situation but useful information for others. We aren’t all owned by corporations.

  8. Morale is Down says:

    Okay – Don’t blast me for wanting to BLOCK somebody’s iChat, but I need to do it because morale around the office is fading. Everybody else is working their butts off while one guy sits and IMs his GF all day long. Why would the rest of the employees want to do their work if this is the case?
    So… me not being terribly computer-savvy, please tell me how to block iChat. Nobody else uses it so it would not upset anyone else if it were blocked all around.
    Thanks!

  9. gert says:

    to “Morale is Down”: This is not a technical problem, and I think a technical solution is not the best answer. If I was this person’s employer, I would have a good talk with him instead of deliberately breaking the Internet.

  10. Ayman says:

    I love chat so much

  11. Aveugle says:

    My perspective – I work for a company that blocks every possible thing. Hyperparanoia. I use IMs and email as my primary form of communication in all things. When I’m at work I feel shut out, cut off from the world. I’m salaried, not hourly, so spending a few moments from time to time checking my work email or chatting wouldn’t cost the company more or less. But they have it blocked. My solution is to get the minimum done and go home. I don’t feel comfortable at work. At my last job (also salaried), which didn’t have these paranoid blocks, I would often stay working late into the night. I probably put in twice the amount of time working at the place with the less restrictive policy. You admins out there need to consider if you’re solving morale problems or creating them.

  12. Aveugle says:

    I meant home email, not work email, above. Sorry.

  13. Hassan says:

    Okay this is weird… the first time i used group chat from my account, it worked fine and i connected to the global network… i went to the room “bored”
    now When i go to the same room there is just one person there who writes some crap over and over again (bot?) and the id comes from aol.in which is aol india, any idea how i can connect to the global server again?

  14. iPodMac says:

    Don’t blast me for wanting to BLOCK somebody’s iChat, but I need to do it because morale around the office is fading.

  15. MSgoofy92 says:

    how do you get your ichat off of aim soo you can see your boddy on cam because its not leting me chat with anyone

  16. Jodi says:

    Haha, hacks like this are great.

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