Safe Family Email with LuxSci Parental Controls

Published: January 20th, 2014

LuxSci’s email services are versatile, as well as secure. We offer solutions to many problems and meet a diverse assortment of specialized needs.  One important niche well-served by LuxSci’s flexible and highly configurable system is that of parental control — specifying exactly what email should be sent and received by children and keeping tabs on that email, while not restricting the parent’s (administrator’s) email usage.

This article highlights the many options available to configure an account for parental control.  As each parent’s requirements differ, each parent may wish to choose a different combination of settings.  No problem! LuxSci is infinitely configurable.

You should start by ordering a LuxSci email hosting account with your own domain name (i.e. your-family.com) and Premium Email Filtering.  Once you have a LuxSci email account, and have created users for your family members, you can proceed with the following configuration ideas to make your account family friendly and safe.

Capturing: Monitor your children’s email

LuxSci provides inbound and outbound email capturing.  This allows you to send silent copies of all email sent and received by the users in your account to a specific email address for monitoring (or backup/archival) purposes. If you would like to monitor the messages sent and received by your children, you should enable this.

How?

  • In LuxSci, go to “Account Administration > Domains > Select your domain > Inbound Email Tools > Email Capturing”.  Change the setting to “On”. Specify the email address to which the email copies should go. Exempt the adults (the people whose email should not be monitored) from this tool.
  • Go to “Account Administration > Domains > Select your domain > Outbound Email Tools > Email Capturing”.  Change the setting to “On”. Specify the email address to which the email copies should go. Exempt the adults (the people whose email should not be monitored) from this tool.

We recommend sending the copies of the email to a separate user in your account (or elsewhere on the Internet) dedicated for this purpose.  If you have all of the copies sent to yourself, it may be confusing identifying which email is which. Alternatively, you can set up custom email filters to identify the captured email and save it to separate email folders for analysis at your leisure.

Once this feature is enabled, all email sent and received by all non-exempted users will be sent to your monitoring email address — so you can see what is going on.

Sender Restrictions: Who can send email to your children?

If you would like to restrict your children so that they can receive email ONLY from an approved list of addresses (or domains), you should enable the Sender Restriction feature.  This is commonly used so that the children can only receive email from other family members and approved friends…. and no one else!

How?

  • In LuxSci, go to “Account Administration > Domains > Select your domain > Inbound Email Tools > Sender Restrictions”.  Change the setting to “On”.  Specify the email address/domains that should be allowed to send email to the children. Exempt the adults (the people who should be able to get email from anyone) from this tool.

Recipient Restrictions: Who can your children send email to?

If you would like to restrict your children so that they can only send email TO specific addresses/domains, then you should enable the Recipient Restriction feature.  This is commonly used so that the children can only send email to other family members and approved friends…. and no one else!

How?

  • In LuxSci, go to “Account Administration > Domains > Select your domain > Outbound Email Tools > Recipient Restrictions”.  Change the setting to “On”.  Specify the email address/domains that the kids should be allowed to send email to. Exempt the adults (the people who should be able to send email to anyone) from this tool

No Eavesdropping or Identity Theft

To protect everyone in your account from eavesdropping and identity theft, you should force all users (kids and adults) to use SSL when using LuxSci’s services for sending and receiving email and using WebMail.  Not sure why? Read: The Case for Email Security.  This feature is enabled by default for all new accounts.

Check if it is currently enabled for you:

  • Go to “Account Administration > Advanced Administration > Security > Passwords and Login”
  • Check “Force Secure Logins”

Hide Your Children’s Location

LuxSci has a special feature of our WebMail and our outbound email (SMTP).  This is called “Anonymization“.  It effectively removes any information from outbound email messages that could be used to trace the location of the sender (your child).  This is highly recommended for keeping predators from discovering where your child is located.

Configure your Premium Email Filtering

This step is key — optimize your Premium Email Filtering settings to restrict the flow of specific kinds of unwanted inbound email.

What can be configured and how?

  • Login into your Premium Email Filtering portal, and go to your “Policies” area. Double click on “Inbound Polices”. Adjust your policies as described below … pick only those options that you feel are necessary.
  • Virus: Have all virus email messages “Denied” by selecting “Deny Delivery” in the Virus tab.  There is no reason for you to get any version of a message that ever had a virus in it — even if it is “cleaned”.
  • Spam: Set Medium and High probability spam to be Quarantined.  You should definitely not choose “Tag the message” as the kids should not be exposed to any message that could be spam-like.  click “More Options” and make sure that “Enable Real-time Blackhole Lists” is checked, so-as to maximize the effectiveness of the spam filters.
  • Content: Click on the “Content” tab.  Enable each content group (sexual, racial, profanity) by clicking on it, pressing “Edit”, change the “Action” to “Quarantine”, check “Enable” and press “Save”.  Any message with dubious content will be stopped and quarantined.  Only the administrator will be able to review and possibly release such messages to the users.  If you like, you can go in under the “Notifications”  tab and have notices sent to the end users when such messages are caught and quarantined, so they can let you know if they think there is a false positive for you to review.  You can also define your own content keyword lists for blocking messages.
  • HTML Shield: Under the “Content” tab, choose “HTML Shield”.  Select at least the “Medium” level of security to protect your users from possibly malicious content.  Choose “High” if you are paranoid and do not want any HTML content through.  Check “Enable spam “beacon” and web bug blocking” so the sender can’t track if you’ve opened the message via an image that loads from a web server. Check “Replace all image links with a default transparent image” if you do not want any images to be sent to your users as links in email messages.  This is a good way to prevent any porn messages that may somehow escape the filters from showing images to your kids.
  • Click Protect: If you want to stop your users from being allowed to click on any links that may be sent in email messages, use the “Click Protect” tab under “Content” and check the “Enable” box. Then change the Risk Level settings for “Scan-Time Action” to “Deliver Message” and change the “Click-Time Action” to “Deny click throughs” based on the websites reputation.  This will prevent your kids from clicking on phishing links, to malicious sites, or anything else that comes through as a link in an email message.  This is very good for safety.
  • Attachments: If you would like to limit which kinds of attachments your kids can get in email messages, go to the attachments tab and choose either “Quarantine the message” or “Strip the attachment” as the action to take for disallowed attachments.  Then, select which kinds of attachments should be forbidden.  I.e. you should certainly forbid executables.  You may or may not want to restrict images, movies, audio, etc.  We would also recommend that under the “Additional Policies” area of attachment filtering, that you have “Message contains an encrypted zip attachment” quarantined or denied and “File in zip attachment violates attachment policy” as quarantined or denied — this prevents senders from getting around your attachment restriction policies by sending in a Zip file.

Per-user settings:

Next, exempt the adults from the restrictive settings that should not apply to them.

How?

  • Under the “Account Management” tab click on the “Users” tab at the top, and select an Adult.  Double click on the username.
  • Click on the “Email Protection” tab, then the “Details” tab.
  • Uncheck the check boxes at the bottom of the window that should not apply — i.e. “HTML”, “Keyword” (for content),  and “Attachment”.  Press “Apply”.

Finally, if you do not want your kids to get “Quarantine Reports” listing the subjects of all of the spam messages that were stopped:

How?

  • Select each child in turn in the Users section (if they do not exist yet … go ahead and create them explicitly here).  Double click on that username.
  • Click on the “Email Protection” tab, then the “Details” tab.
  • Click on the “Spam Report” “Enabled” button to uncheck the option to disable quarantine reports. Press “Apply”

What have I done?

By following these rules you have:

  • Protected your kids from eavesdropping and identity theft (at least as far as email goes).l
  • Ensured that your kids can only send and receive email from approved addresses.
  • Made sure that you can review the messages that your kids send and receive.
  • Made sure that all messages are filtered for unwanted content, spam, viruses, and attachments.
  • Made sure that unwanted messages are quarantined instead of denied so that you can review and release them to your kids on a case-by-case basis — in case there is a legitimate message that is caught by the strict rules.
  • Made sure that even if a spam message gets though, no pornographic pictures are displayed and no links can be clicked on.
  • Made sure that the adults in your family are minimally affected by the restrictions on the kids.  Adults can do what they need to do … and the kids can do what you feel is appropriate.

If you have questions on how these controls could apply to you, or if you have other requirements that you would to review with LuxSci so that we can suggest customized solutions to meet your particular needs, please contact Sales.

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