Internet Filtering Support
Netsweeper is the filtering solution used by schools/academies on the Updata network.
Netsweeper automatically analyses any website that is accessed and puts them into categories. Categories are allowed or blocked depending on the nature of them. For example, if a website is categorised as education it will automatically be allowed however if it gets categorised as pornography then it is automatically blocked.
Some categories can either be allowed or blocked depending on the category list it is in. For example, Primary Category List 1 blocks access to Social Media but Primary Category List 2 allows access to websites categorised as Social Media.
Level 2 - Differing Student and Staff access levels
The categories and lists that make up your internet filtering are provided by Netsweeper Policies. Although only one is initially active, there are in fact another five policies available in the system, and these can provide differing levels of access.
The route your devices take to access the internet filtering is defined by your proxy settings. On a Windows device, these can be found through your device Control Panel.
Start or Windows icon > type Control Panel > change the view to Small icons > select Internet Options
Select the Connections tab > LAN Settings > OK
Here you see the address of our Netsweeper load balancer, 10.99.240.8, and the port, 8080.
Port 8080 is the default filtering policy.
If you implement Level 2 filtering, by amending the 'port' field to 8081, 8082, etc. you will pick up an alternative corresponding Netsweeper policy, as per the example screenshot below taken from the 'Group Manager' section of Netsweeper.
Web Factor 1
Web Factor 2
Web Factor 3
Web Factor 4
Web Factor 5
NB: It is important therefore that the proxy settings on the devices used by students are locked down, to prevent them getting a different level of internet access.
Level 3 - Active Directory Integration
Netsweeper also has the ability to be connected to your Active Directory database in school and thus control filtering groups through your Windows Server console. Whilst we have documented advice on implementing this, it does need to be undertaken by an ICT professional who has experience managing a Windows Server.
Please contact us in the first instance, via the Service Desk, to log a case so we can plan for this implementation with you well in advance, and we will get the required documents from you.
We have found that some applications such as Google Play and certain remote meeting Tools do not connect without this being enabled. Currently all devices on your network require a proxy setting in the browser to access the internet. With this option turned on the proxy setting will not be required, and devices attached to the wired or wireless network will get to the internet using your default level of access automatically.
This is in addition to ports 8080 – 8085 and existing devices will not need to be re-configured.
Taking control of your own filtering
If you receive a red block message from Netsweeper when accessing a page and would like to override it, you can log a request with our Service Desk and we can make that change or, if you elect to be School Managed, you can do it immediately yourself. You will also be able to create and view filtering reports for the school within Netsweeper. Ultimately the configuration of internet filtering is in your hands, but if you wish to take control yourself you can do so.
How do I implement level 2 filtering, transparent proxy or manage our own filtering?
Please take a moment to complete the relevant document here
and return to the Service Desk. Certain requests will need to be passed to Updata to make the relevant changes so can take up to 2 working days to be completed once logged with them.
Other useful Netsweeper information
If you have decided to allow/block websites yourself a full guide can be found here
on how to do so
Netsweeper has functionality to view which websites are being accessed in real time. This is a useful tool to check if websites are being allowed or denied and can also be used to diagnose blocking issues.
By default, most HTTPS sites will be inspected by Netsweeper to allow fine-grained filtering, for example, specific parts of sites.google.com, YouTube restricted mode and search keywords. For this to work properly it is necessary for the Updata Infrastructure Certificate to be installed on all devices. Schools with an Enhanced contract should already have this installed on school devices. For other schools or other devices, Updata provide instructions at http://ssl-filtering.updata.net
to download and install the certificate. It is possible to exclude trusted sites (e.g. banking sites) or specific devices (e.g. a solar monitoring system) if required; please contact our Service Desk to request this.
Following the upgrade to Netsweeper v6, the way in which YouTube is allowed has changed. Before, you would have simply added youtube.com to your ‘local allow list’ and it would have worked.
However, the way to allow it now has changed slightly with YouTube now having its own category, which can be allowed/blocked. If you manage your own Netsweeper filtering, to do so, carry out the following steps as outlined here
• YouTube accessible to staff members only
If you wish to grant access to staff members and not students then you may wish to implement Level 2 or Level 3 access, which is outlined above.
• YouTube restricted mode
You can ask us to apply restricted YouTube across the whole network. This ensures that pupils will not see content selected by YouTube as containing inappropriate content. If staff sign into YouTube using an NSIX or own Gsuite account, this can be configured so they will have more access. This will require configuration by your Gsuite administrator.
Google image search Issues
We regularly receive concerns about searching for images on Google. The misapprehension is that Google will only show images from allowed websites. Because of the way image search works, the only filter is Google’s own ‘safe search’ filter that we enforce. If you see an unsuitable image you can send feedback to Google to ask that it is removed from safe search searches.
Advertising pop ups
Advertising is blocked on Netsweeper but we do receive reports of some inappropriate advertising pop ups occurring from time to time. This is only because notifications have been allowed in the user’s browser for certain websites, therefore it’s important not to allow them when requested by a website. If you see an instance of this happening, please check within your browser under ‘notifications’.