Firewall Pro-Tip: Enforce Safe Search without Blocking Search Results

Jan 12, 2015
2 minutes

Many search engines have a safe search setting that filters out adult images and videos in search query return traffic. Starting in PAN-OS 6.0 or later with content release version 475, you can Enable Safe Search Enforcement so that the firewall will prevent end users from seeing search results that are not filtered with the strictest safe search settings.


The firewall can enforce transparent safe search for the following search providers: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This is a best-effort setting and is not guaranteed by the search providers to work with every website.

With transparent safe search enforcement, when an end user attempts to perform a search without first enabling the strict safe search settings, the firewall blocks the search results with an HTTP 503 status code and redirects the search query to a URL that includes the safe search parameters. You enable this functionality by importing a new URL Filtering Safe Search Block Page containing the JavaScript for rewriting the search URL to include the strict safe search parameters. In addition, you must enable the Safe Search Enforcement option in the URL Filtering profile. In this configuration, users will not see the block page, but will instead be automatically redirected to a search query that enforces the strictest safe search options. This safe search enforcement method requires Content Release version 475 or later and is only supported for Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches. For instructions on configuring this feature, see Enable Transparent Safe Search Enforcement.

Also, because most search providers now use SSL to return search results, you must also configure a Decryption policy for the search traffic to enable the firewall to inspect the search traffic and enforce safe search.

For more information about the differences between search settings from different search providers, see Safe Search Enforcement.

Want More Documentation About URL Filtering?

Check out the URL Filtering page on the Technical Documentation Portal, or select the URL Filtering facet (under Feature Category) on the Document Search page!

Happy reading!
Your friendly Technical Publications team




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