How to filter image searches within Google or Yahoo

CyberPatrol • 22 June 2015

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN have image search facilities made up of thousands of thumbnail images. These search engines find the images and create replicas of the original image directly from the original website. They are cached versions of the images and not direct link to the originating URL. This means that the results are often not filtered by some Internet filters.

 

While most of the search engines have their own Safe Search filter, they are relatively easy to bypass as they are not usually password protected and, if they are stored in a simple cookie file, a savvy teenager can delete and circumvent the filter settings.

 

Make sure you have the Adult/Sexually explicit category set to maximum strength filtering. If only 1 or 2 inappropriate images appear on a results page then it is likely that these images will not be shown and only a red 'X' will be seen. If there are several inappropriate images then the page will be blocked with a message 'The website contains inappropriate links'.

 

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo offer a safe-search type feature, but this can usually be switched off easily without a password. We recommend blocking access to all search engine image searches apart from Google. Set Google to use the Safe Search filtering and then add CyberPatrol Blocked Keywords to prevent a user from changing the preferences and performing a search with the safe search filter off. To set this up see the steps below.

 

STEP 1 - Block access to Search Engine Image Searches except Google:

 

If you wish to block access to image searches altogether you can use the Blocked Keywords feature to achieve this. Simply add part of each Search Engine Image Search URL string as a Blocked Keyword. This will block access to any website that contains the blocked keyword(s) in the web address. Below are the most popular search engine image search strings we have identified to add as Blocked Keywords (you can copy and paste).

 

To access the Blocked Keywords section of HQ:

Open HQ > Customize Filter Settings > Web Filtering: Customize > My Blocked Keywords

 

 

Add the following keywords to the blocked list:

images.search.yahoo
altavista.com/image
msn.com/images
dogpl/search/images
xcite/search/images
wbcrwl/search/images
pictures.ask.com
alltheweb.com/?cat=img
aol/imagehome
aolcom/imagehome
search/picture
netscape.com/ns/image

 

Please note that this list contains the most popular search engines but has not been tested for over-blocking. It is not automatically updated and therefore you may need to use the monitoring feature to keep an eye on your users’ searches and customize if necessary.

 

STEP 2 - Set Google to use Safe Search filtering:

 

1. Go to www.google.com (or whatever country specific version you use) and click on Images to perform an Image search.
2. Click the Preferences link which should appear to the right of the Search Images button.
3. Scroll down and choose with to the SafeSearch Filtering section and choose to use strict or moderate filtering.
4. Click the Save Preferences button.

 

STEP 3 - Add Blocked Keywords to prevent a user from changing the Google search preferences:

 

Add the following as Blocked Keywords:

/preferences?
&safe=off

 

To access the Blocked Keywords section of HQ:

Open HQ > Customize Filter Settings > Web Filtering: Customize > My Blocked Keywords