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Setting Up Web Filtering for a Network Using OpenDNS (Part 3)

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Discover how to configure advanced settings for a network using OpenDNS, a service that provides content filtering and other services for a network. In Part 3 of the series, Eric Geier shows you how to manage multiple networks with one account. Plus, you’ll learn how to prevent the common methods used to bypass the content filtering.

Previously in this multipart tutorial, we discovered that OpenDNS provides free services to better our Internet experience. In Part 1, we changed our router over to the OpenDNS servers, created an account, and configured our network with the service. In Part 2, we figured out how to get the service to work with networks that connect to the Internet with a dynamic IP address. In addition, we touched on configuring the content filtering settings.

In this final installment of the multipart tutorial, we’ll look at assigning website shortcuts and configuring the other advanced settings we discovered back in the first part of the tutorial. We’ll also see what’s involved if we want to manage OpenDNS for multiple locations. Last, but not least, we’ll see how users may try to bypass the filtering, and best of all, we’ll discover how to plug these loopholes. Now let’s get started.

Assigning Shortcuts and Configuring Other Settings

To create shortcuts, select the Shortcuts tab on the OpenDNS Dashboard. In the Shortcut field, type the word that you want to launch the shortcut. In the Website field, enter the site you want the shortcut to open.

For easier access to creating shortcuts in the future, you can add this link to your Favorites or Links toolbar in Internet Explorer. Then when you click the link, it opens a window (see Figure 1) with the current website address filled in, ready for you to give it a name, to create a shortcut to the page you’re currently on.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Creating a network shortcut using the link added to the browser.

To customize the logo and messages displayed on the OpenDNS search engine and blocked pages, select the Settings link in the Dashboard and click the Customization link on the left. Then follow the directions to upload a logo and/or change the messages.

To configure other miscellaneous settings, select the Settings link in the Dashboard and click the Advanced Settings link on the left:

  • The Dynamic IP Update feature opens your OpenDNS account for updates on your network’s dynamic IP address.
  • The Stats and Logs feature records your network’s Internet activity, including blocked domains that are visited.
  • The Domain Typos feature helps detect and correct any website addresses that users type incorrectly.
  • The Suspicious Responses feature prevents a certain DNS-based hacking method that puts your network at risk.
  • The Network Shortcuts options enable the use of the shortcut feature we already discussed.
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