Enforceing DNS Web Filtering On Apple IOS Devices, Wherever They May Roam…

Rocket iconIn a previous Blog post I talked about setting up Open DNS Family Sheild on your home internet connection as an inexpensive option for performing Web Filtering that can protect your home systems from sites that are known to infect you with Malware and Viruses, as well as protecting children from a lot of the icky stuff that is so easily found on the web.  I use this on my home internet connection, and have for some time now.  My systems stay clean and healthy and so do my children.  However as the kids have gotten bigger, and mobile devices have come into play I have found that although I can protect devices connected to my home WiFi network, I have no control over other networks.. Public Hot Spots, the WiFi at the homes of their friends, and even Cellular Data connections are outside the reach of my protection.

Windows based devices are easy, because the DNS settings are bound to the WiFi Adapter, and not the WiFi Network that you are connecting to.  So for Windows Devices The settings listed here will work regardless of the WiFi network you connect to.  However Apple does not allow you to change the DNS settings for your cellular data connection, and all WiFi networks contain their own DNS configuration settings rather than using a global setting.

The Backstory:
One day not long ago on our way back from a weekend away with my family, I was in a local coffee shop with my family.  I had forgotten my phone in the car, and had one of those “Gotta Google it” moments where I needed an answer right away.  I borrowed by Son’s iPhone, Cracked Open Safari, and right there in that busy little coffee shop was greeted with Pornhub.com, wide open on his screen.  He swore it wasn’t him.  After checking the internet history I asked him if it also wasn’t him the 50 previous times over the weekend while we were connected to the internet at the hotel…

First:
I had a talk with him.  I explained that I understood his curiosity and I wasn’t really Mad at him.  I let him know that, more than anything I was concerned for him.  I wanted him to know that the acts and behavior he may have seen on that screen are not real, and the way the people in those videos treat one another is not normal behavior.  I really wanted to get across to him that, I never wanted to find out that he treated any woman in his life they way those girls are treated.

Second:
I went searching.  I knew there must be something I could do to help filter adult content from my son’s phone even when he wasn’t connected to our home internet connection. After doing some digging I found “DNS OverRide” .  The App is free to download, and with a simple $2.79 cdn in app purchase DNS Override does exactly what you need it to. It protects your device over all WiFi and Cellular networks. Once configured you can enable a pass-code to prevent users from turning off it’s settings.  See the link to configuration instructions below. It accomplishes this global setting by installing a “Dummy VPN (virtual private network) connection”  Although the settings it installs never really connect they do enable the app to set the DNS server based on the profile you select.  The App has several built in DNS profiles one of which is Open DNS Family Sheild.  You can also create your own profiles although this is probably not needed for most parents.

Hands Down this is one of the best apps I have found to enable security and web filtering on Apple devices.  It’s simple and inexpensive.  And frankly any parent who’s children use Mobile devices should be looking for a solution like this to keep them safe.

For More information on Configuring DNS OverRide to protect your device you can check out their Blog Post Here

If you wish you can further enforce this configuration by restricting users from uninstalling apps from the device.  You can access these settings (also pass-code protected) from the “Settings | General | Resrictions” screen and turning off the “Delete Apps” Option.

RestricDeleteApps

I do not want to police my children to death, but I don’t want them to be exposed to Adult content and other dangerous websites, when there are great and easy options out there for me to protect them. I hope that after reading this post, others are now able to take advantage of this information and protect their youngsters as well.

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Easy Family Friendly Web Filtering, And Best of All it’s Free

One of the easiest protections that I use on my home network to prevent inappropriate websites from finding their way onto my children’s screens is a DNS Web filtering.

DNS stands for Domain Naming System.  The easiest way to describe this is that DNS is the phone book of the internet.  A web address is a name, and the web servers IP address is the phone number.  When you key in a website or click a link your computer sends the website address to the DNS server which returns the correct IP address for your computer to contact for the content it is looking for.  DNS Filtering simply does not give back the correct IP address to your computers when trying to reach inappropriate web sites.

OpenDNS is a free DNS provider that offers a simple an easy to use product called Family Shield.  Click the following link for more information: Family Shield.

Once Configured, when a user attempts to access an adult website either accidentally or out of curiosity (We are all curious, especially in our youth…) they are redirected to a standard block page:

Blocked Playboy

OpenDNS provides basic configuration instructions Here: https://www.opendns.com/setupguide/?url=familyshield

The recommended configuration is to configure your home router to issue these servers to any device that connects using your internet connections.  This allows you to easily and automatically configure this protection for every PC, Laptop, tablet, iPod, Cell phone, or Gaming console that connects from inside your home network.  However you can easily set this up on individual devices as well.

In the coming days I hope to provide a tutorial video on configuring a router, as well as a utility to easily configure a single Windows PC with Family Shield protection.

Comment below if you have any questions!