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Parental Control Review 2018 – SafeDNS

Date June 2018
Language English
Last Revision July 20th 2018

Parental Control Review 2018 for Windows


Release date 2018-07-20
Revision date 2018-07-20
Test Period June 2018
Number of Testcases 2000
Online with cloud connectivity checkbox-checked
Update allowed checkbox-checked
False Alarm Test included checkbox-checked
Platform/OS Microsoft Windows

Introduction

Amongst other things, parental control software allows parents to filter out websites that their children can see, in order to avoid the children being exposed to materials the parents consider unsuitable, such as pornography, gambling or weapons.

Parental Control Certification

AV-Comparatives provides certification for parental control software. In order to be certified, a product must block at least 98% of pornographic websites, have no more than a few false alarms on child-friendly websites, and have no severe unresolved bugs (or design flaws) discovered during the review. A certification is valid for one year and vendors can apply for certification once a year.

Tested Products

Test Procedure

We tested the effectiveness of the parental control software against 2,000 websites with potentially inappropriate content for children. We chose the appropriate settings for a 9-year-old girl, which would block sites relating to pornography, gambling and weapons.

Review

We have included a short review of the product in this report, so that parents have an idea of what the product is like to use and what other features it has. Please note that certification is not affected by any of the points mentioned in the review, and is based solely on the technical test results described above.

Testcases

The 2000 URLs were broken down as follows:

  • Pornography: 1,600 sites displaying pornographic images and text
  • Gambling: 200 sites which allow online betting
  • Weapons: 200 sites selling or advertising weapons online

We additionally tested 100 obviously child-friendly websites, such as lego.com, to check for false positives.

Test Results

  Block Rate
Adult 98.3%
Gambling 94%
Weapons  53%
False-Positives  0

 

Product Reviews

SafeDNS for Windows

SafeDNS for Windows
SafeDNS for Windows – GUI

About the product

SafeDNS is a web-filtering parental control product which can be used in a number of ways, and will work with any type of computer, tablet or smartphone. You can install Safe DNS as a program on your Windows computer, use it as a cloud service by changing the network settings of any device, or configure your home router to use it, meaning any and all devices connected to your home network are protected.

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

SafeDNS can be made to work with any version of Windows or other OS by editing the device’s network settings. The SafeDNS agent, which does the configuration for you and provides further options, works with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.           

What parental control features does it have?

The product provides web-content filtering  by category. It includes a filtering schedule (restrictions applied only at certain times), a whitelist-only mode, safe search for Google and Bing, and a restricted mode for YouTube. It also has a feature to prevent proxies and anonymisers being used to bypass restrictions.

What categories of material does it block?

SafeDNS provides a very wide range of categories that can be blocked: academic fraud, drugs, parked domains, proxies and anonymizers, virus propagation, botnets, hate and discrimination, phishing, tasteless, adult, astrology, gambling, pornography and sexuality, alcohol and tobacco, dating, Internet Watch foundation/German Youth Protection (both allowed by default), file storage, music and radio, torrents and P2P, movies and video, photo sharing, banner ads, entertainment, games, chats and messengers, forums, social networks, arts, blogs, classified ads, corporate sites, education, government, home and family, jobs and career, news and media, politics, real estate, science and technology, shopping trackers and analytics, weapons, automotive, business, computers and Internet, e-commerce, finances, health and fitness, humour, kids, non-profit, portals, religious, search engines, sports, travel, webmail.       

Installing and configuring the product

SafeDNS can be installed by downloading and running the agent installer. The setup wizard is very short and simple, with no decisions to make, although you can change the installation folder if you want to. You will need to make a SafeDNS account, and use these details to log in to the program window after installation. You then go into Settings, Content filtering settings to review and edit the default list of blocked and allowed categories:

SafeDNS for Windows
SafeDNS for Windows – Settings

To change a category from blocked to allowed, or vice-versa, just click on the symbol to the left of the description. If the PC is used by different family members, you can create different profiles for different Windows users, so that everyone can surf the Internet with the appropriate permissions.

We would recommend restarting the computer after configuring SafeDNS. As with all parental control products, we would also recommend testing the software, using the child’s Windows account if applicable, by trying to visit e.g. a few common gambling sites to make sure they are blocked.

Blacklisting/whitelisting individual sites

Individual sites can be blocked or allowed, regardless of category, in the Exceptions section of the settings:

SafeDNS for Windows
SafeDNS for Windows – Black-, Whitelist

What does the child see when a page is blocked?

SafeDNS for Windows
SafeDNS for Windows – Blocked Webpage

If you click Show details, you can see the address of the web page that has been blocked, and the reason why it has been blocked:

SafeDNS for Windows
SafeDNS for Windows – Blocked Webpage Details

We note that with some websites using the https protocol, SafeDNS will block the site, but the browser’s “page cannot be found” message will be displayed, rather than the SafeDNS page shown above. The vendor provides simple instructions for installing their SSL certificate, which ensures the SafeDNS block page will always be shown: https://www.safedns.com/en/guides/safedns-tls-guide/

Help

Clicking the ? symbol in the program window provides a link to the product’s manual:

Verdict

SafeDNS can be used with a wide variety of devices and offers an extensive range of web-filtering categories. The Windows agent is easy to install and configure.

Award levels reached in this Parental Control Review

SafeDNS for Windows reached the above requirements and therefore receives the 2018 AV-Comparatives Approved Parental Control Award.

APPROVED
SafeDNSAPPROVED

Copyright and Disclaimer

This publication is Copyright © 2018 by AV-Comparatives ®. Any use of the results, etc. in whole or in part, is ONLY permitted after the explicit written agreement of the management board of AV-Comparatives prior to any publication. AV-Comparatives and its testers cannot be held liable for any damage or loss, which might occur as result of, or in connection with, the use of the information provided in this paper. We take every possible care to ensure the correctness of the basic data, but a liability for the correctness of the test results cannot be taken by any representative of AV-Comparatives. We do not give any guarantee of the correctness, completeness, or suitability for a specific purpose of any of the information/content provided at any given time. No one else involved in creating, producing or delivering test results shall be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damage, or loss of profits, arising out of, or related to, the use or inability to use, the services provided by the website, test documents or any related data.

For more information about AV-Comparatives and the testing methodologies, please visit our website.

AV-Comparatives
(July 2018)