Blocking Adult Content in Children's Homes

Rhea
Conversationalist

Blocking Adult Content in Children's Homes

Hi,

Firstly, forgive me as I am not an IT professional but a social worker, so my language will be very basic!
We use a Meraki AP in our Children's Homes to restrict our young person's access to the internet. We use as standard the 'block adult content' feature but some of our vunerable youngsters are still able to access porn sites whilst connected through the AP.

 

I have researched a list of site urls, domains that I would like to include on a blacklist so no child can access them, also vpn sites too. 

 

Can I have some advice on how I should go about adding these sites (the list is extensive so I hope it can be a cut and paste job) to the dashboard and across all locations (I have 7 homes) and across all client groups.

Thanks

10 REPLIES 10
MarkiP
Getting noticed

Hi,

 

If you go to Wireless > Firewall and Traffic Shaping, under the section "Block applications and content categories" you can add a layer 7 firewall rule and specify hostnames to block etc. You can also specify by IP ranges if needed.

Rhea
Conversationalist

Thank you, I'll give that a try, hopefully it's not too complicated for me to action!

MarkiP
Getting noticed

Just checked and this can also be done the same way if you have a Meraki router/firewall.

Bruce
Kind of a big deal

What you’ve described is perfectly understandable, you don’t need complex language to understand what you are trying to achieve.


Unfortunately the method you’re using to block access to porn sites isn’t ideal, and the youngsters will find ways round it. This Meraki document, https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/Firewall_and_Traffic_Shaping/Adult_Content_Filtering_Overview goes a little way to explain this, and highlights that it’s not an ideal solution. If you have a list of HTTP hostnames you want to block then you could do this on the Firewall for the SSID using the Layer 7 firewall capabilities https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/Firewall_and_Traffic_Shaping/MR_Firewall_Rules. You will have to configure these per site. The thing to remember is that this is still a very static solution, and you’ll have to continue to monitor and update the outcomes.

 

Ideally, although it does come at a price - which may or may not be feasible, you’d want an automated solution. One such solution could be Cisco Umbrella which integrates with the Meraki MR devices and provides continually updated categories, and is good for malware protection too. The other option is to look at using the Meraki MX security appliances (with the advanced security license) which provide a more comprehensive content filtering solution.

 

I’d suggest it’s probably worth getting in contact with your local Cisco/Meraki team, or reseller, and see what they may be able to do to assist.

Rhea
Conversationalist

Thanks Bruce, I'll look at that option too! More expense, why does that not surprise me!!!

dlowery
Getting noticed

Kudo for Cisco Umbrella. This is the real solution you are probably looking for. It comes with a bunch of other benefits besides content filtering too.

Rhea
Conversationalist

Kudo for Cisco Umbrella. Is this software I can buy? Sorry to sound dumb, 

cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@Rhea Cisco Umbrella is the solution, it is simple to integrate with your Meraki MR wireless access points, see here: Meraki Integration - Cisco Umbrella  You can usually get a free trial to check that it works for your use case.

UCcert
Kind of a big deal

Hi @Rhea , not sure where you are geographically but here in the UK the DfE (Department of Education) recently rolled out Umbrella across a few million laptops during the pandemic to students who required a device to help them study at home.  So it should be fit for purpose.  There's a feature in there to allow you to enable safe search for search engines.  I would highly recommend enabling that as kids will and do find a way round most things.

 

If you're in the UK please reach out as we can help you set this up.  

 

Best of luck.

Darren O'Connor | uccert.co.uk
https://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenoconnor/

I'm not an employee of Cisco/Meraki. My posts are based on Meraki best practice and what has worked for me in the field.
Rhea
Conversationalist

Thanks Darren, we are in the UK. This sounds perfect. I'll be in touch. 

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