School Internet filters are a requirement of the Children´s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and, in some states, a requirement of local laws. In order to qualify for grants and E-Rate discounts, schools must implement technology to block harmful website content.
Many states have now introduced their own legislation to ensure minors are protected from obscene website content. Parents are also putting pressure on schools to carefully control the content that can be accessed by their children while at school.
School Internet filters are not mandatory in many parts of the United States, although even schools that do not apply for E-Rate discounts are increasingly deciding to implement website content controls. In addition to ensuring children are prevented from accessing harmful content, school Internet filters are an important cybersecurity defense and can block phishing attacks and malware downloads.
How do School Internet Filters Work?
Each solution differs, although school Internet filters typically involve three levels of control. The most common method used to block website content is the use of blacklists. Blacklists are lists of websites known to be used for phishing, host exploit kits or contain malware.
Blacklists can also be used to block inappropriate and illegal website content. For instance, the Internet Watch Foundation maintains a blacklist of all webpages discovered to host images of child sexual abuse. By uploading the blacklists, all websites and webpages on the list will be blocked.
Most school Internet filters also allow website content to be blocked with category filters. Categories cover pornography and other adult content, gambling, gaming and dating websites. Category filters, along with blacklists, are the easiest way of ensuring compliance with CIPA regulations. Most filtering solutions also allow whitelists to be created. Whitelists are exception lists that permit users to visit specific webpages that would otherwise be blocked by category filters.
Some school Internet filters also allow filtering by keywords. If a webpage contains a blocked keyword or exceeds a set percentage of restricted keywords, users will be prevented from gaining access. This control is particularly useful for blocking sites that have yet to be uploaded to blacklists.
Filtering controls can be applied globally for all users or set for different user groups – staff, students, or IT departments for instance. Some solutions also offer time-based controls, allowing school Internet filters to be set during certain hours.
School Internet Filtering Solutions from SpamTitan
We have developed a range of award-winning cybersecurity solutions to help schools and other educational institutions keep their networks free of malware and protect users from accessing potentially harmful website content.
WebTitan is a powerful content filtering solution that is a perfect match for schools, allowing them to carefully control the Internet content that staff and students can access. The solution can be installed as a virtual appliance or as a 100% cloud-based solution. Regardless which deployment option you chose, there is no need to purchase any hardware. All WebTitan school Internet filtering solutions can be run on existing equipment or in a public or private cloud.
WebTitan can be installed and configured in minutes, there is a low maintenance overhead, and all updates are performed automatically. School Internet filtering could not be any easier.
For further information about WebTitan school Internet filtering solutions and for details of pricing, call us today. All schools and educational institutions are eligible to take advantage of a no obligation, thirty-day free trial of WebTitan before making a purchasing decision in order to evaluate the merits of school Internet filtering in their own environments.