This is a simple video walk-through of the IPFire URL Filter Configuration in the new IPFire/AMENDMENT1 downloadable image file. IPFire is a great OS that we have been experimenting with since the Great Supply Chain interruption. This is a walk-through of the Web Proxy and URL Filter Configuration that is included with the build for the Raspberry Pi 3 B and B+. All of the features you see here are enabled Out-of-the-Box in our custom image as demonstrated in the videos.
What is a URL Filter?
A URL Filter is a tool many families and parents are using to try to keep their kids safe from inappropriate Internet Content, too much “Screen Time”, damaging Social Media trends, and just have some idea what their kids are really doing. A lot of families are paying large sums for hardware and monthly services from vendors like Circle and Orbi. Ironically, by using these for-fee services, families are feeding those vendors a constant stream of web preferences, browsing, and consumption data like they were old-fashioned Nielsen Families. With the AMENDMENT1 IPFire download, a $35 Raspberry Pi, and 15 minutes of time you can do much better for free. More, you get a high-quality firewall and secured access point for your family.
AMENDMENT1 IPFire Image
Using IPFire as the Operating System for a new AMENDMENT1 model started with idea of giving users something rock-solid and foolproof that anyone could deploy on Raspberry Pi Hardware. A custom image is needed because of the issues related to getting the initial setup and configuration out of the way for everyday users. Here are the details of the AMENDMENT1 IPFire configuration for those interested in features and deployment options. The downloadable image is optimized for Raspberry Pi and includes a firewall, wireless access point, proxy server, url filter, Tor client, and much more.
IPFire URL Filter Configuration
First let’s review the basic setup. Once powered up and connected to the local network (behind your existing firewall, on your DSL Modem, Cable Model, or existing WiFi Router LAN Port) it will create its own SSID and WiFi Access Point. Because all users must be approved and set up manually there are documented rules in the firewall to ensure the administrator can log in. Don’t be concerned about deploying a firewall behind your firewall – it may increase some complexity but overall it just enhances your device and IOT security when using WiFi.
The IPFire URL Filter Configuration is dependent on the Web Proxy setup. A dependency on the Web Proxy Setup means users will need to add the proxy to their web browser or smart phone to view web pages. The firewall rules ensure the WiFi Access Point users are forced through the proxy. If they don’t add the proxy they just won’t see any Internet at all (even though they can join the WiFi)!
The magic of the URL Filter happens by virtue of extensive lists compiled over years and updated daily by dedicated professionals and volunteers. As an administrator you have lots of options regarding which lists to use but that is just the beginning – you have control over file types that can be accessed or downloaded, throttling options, time limits, and much, much more.
Finally, as a parent or guardian of others (schools, libraries, cafes, bookstores, etc) you might like to be able to review what is happening on your network by user, device ID, network segment, URL, Blocking Category – there is a lot of detail you can choose from as an administrator. In fact, there is a lot more detail than most users will want or need but the best feature is how customizable the URL Filter Reporting is for different needs.
Thanks for reading and let us know what you think!