Earlier this year, the internet hit a milestone: The average volume of encrypted traffic surpassed the average volume of unencrypted traffic. Half of the web is now encrypted, meaning everyone is safer online from harmful activity and hacking.
What began as a way for websites that stored critical information (e.g., banking information) to keep data secure has now expanded to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many other sites. However, this encryption revolution has made K-12 web filtering difficult.
Schools need options — not only to block and decode Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic, but also to decrypt it, and have the power to see granular activity happening on a school network.
SSL is a familiar topic here at Lightspeed Systems. We’ve covered it in the past and continue to receive SSL-related questions in webinars and conversations with the education community.
Keep reading for some of the critical SSL information you need to know to filter these encrypted sites that now dominate the internet landscape. Also, be sure to download the guide SSL, Explained to learn how Lightspeed Systems handles SSL traffic and empowers school IT departments to protect students.
SSL and Google Search Traffic
How can schools monitor and filter activity across encrypted Google traffic?
The Lightspeed Systems Web Filter decrypts Google traffic as a trusted-man-in-the-middle (TMITM) proxy. This special permission to decrypt SSL traffic offers the greatest security for schools.
When a content filter is configured to act as a proxy, the client knows the filter is there and asks the filter to make a request on its behalf. Then, the web filter contacts the server.
Learn more about decrypting Google traffic.
SSL and Chromebooks
Reporting on Google is difficult. How can we ensure our Chromebooks are accurately tracking user activity on Google?
Our solution Relay for Chrome is the key to reporting on SSL traffic on Chrome devices. We like to make advanced reporting as simple as possible. With Relay, schools are able to get full visibility into encrypted traffic, such as Google searches and YouTube activity, at the click of a button.
Because of where the Relay extension sits on Chrome, it is able to see and report on Google searches and YouTube activity without the need for a TMITM proxy, SSL decryption or certificate deployment.
Learn more about Relay for Chrome.
SSL and YouTube
How can schools filter YouTube without over- or under-blocking?
Many school IT teams prefer YouTube user activity to be extremely granular. When SSL decryption is not done properly, there is no granular data to reference, leaving schools in the dark about what types of videos their students are searching for and watching.
The Lightspeed Systems Web Filter offers a variety of ways to filter YouTube, including explicit proxy, transparent proxy and WCCP.
You can also leverage these new capabilities with Web Filter 3: Longhorn’s YouTube categorization feature. Using machine learning and AI, we’ve been able to categorize videos from an education perspective. Our robust URL database has been developed over two decades, and it’s the most advanced and comprehensive database available for K-12 education. Appropriate videos play and unknown or unsafe videos are blocked, making it simple and easy for students to get access to the information they need without over-blocking.
Learn more about Web Filter 3: Longhorn.
Other helpful SSL resources for you:
Teacher U Course: How Lightspeed Systems Handles SSL Traffic
Mobile Filtering and SSL Decryption
Real-World Scenarios for SSL
SSL Certificates Basics