Articles on: Safe Surfer dashboard

Why does Safe Surfer say that it blocked an app that isn't installed on a device?

The Safe Surfer dashboard might report that an app (such as a social media service) was blocked on a device, even when the app isn't installed. This is normal, and doesn't necessarily mean that the device user tried to install and use the service that was reported as blocked. In short, this could be due to a shared post on a website unrelated to the service that was blocked.

Why does this happen?

A lot of social media services feature multiple ways of accessing content on their platform. This could be through the app itself, the official website, or embedded (shared) posts found throughout the Internet. Some websites also link to systems that interact with the social media platform in the background.

The primary way that Safe Surfer works is through a computer networking technology called DNS (Domain Name System). DNS could be thought of as the "telephone book" of the Internet. Most of the Internet relies on DNS to access websites and online content. When a device uses Safe Surfer, we take advantage of DNS to block websites and apps from being able to talk to their online servers before they're accessed in the first place. For example, if you block the Gambling category, we then block any requests to websites that we've marked as Gambling in our cloud database.

Why was a website reported as being blocked, even though the device in question didn't visit it?

This could be due to search engine images. Services such as Google Images retrieve images and photos from throughout the Internet. For example, if a device user clicks on a specific image in Google Images, it will try to retrieve the original image. We process this as network traffic that was sourced from a specific website, such as "", without the user having actually visited the Facebook website. If we're blocking the source website, a high-resolution version of the image won't load (and the user will only see a low-resolution version).

By default, all devices using Safe Surfer have the SafeSearch feature locked on for supported search engines, such as Google and Bing. This is designed to hide inappropriate content from appearing in search results, including images. SafeSearch is an automated service provided by each search engine provider. If you're subscribed to Safe Surfer, you can block the "Unsafe search engines" category on the Blocking menu to block search engines that don't support locking on SafeSearch.

Updated on: 13/01/2024

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