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Barracuda Web Security Gateway

Why is my Barracuda Web Filter allowing users to search for offensive images even though I have enabled the Safe Search feature?

  • Type: Knowledgebase
  • Date changed: 3 years ago
Solution #00003326

All Barracuda Web Filters, all firmware versions.

The Barracuda Web Filter provides content filtering categories that enable administrators to define policies to prevent their users from visiting Web sites containing offensive images, including Adult and Pornography web sites.

It is also important to understand that popular image search engines, such as or, often cache these images enabling users to view the images in search results without actually visiting the sites themselves. Because both customers and the search engines themselves generally do not want products like the Barracuda Web Filter to block all image searches, the search engines have voluntarily implemented their own "SafeSearch" filters that remove adult and pornography images from their search results.

The Barracuda Web Filter integrates with the "SafeSearch" filters from popular search engines, including Google and Yahoo!, by rewriting URLs that include parameters that force a "SafeSearch" independent of the settings stored in the user's cookie and prevent users from viewing offensive images in search results.

From time to time, even the search engine's "SafeSearch" filters will miss new images or new sites containing offensive images. Unfortunately, because the "SafeSearch" filter policies are controlled by the search engines themselves, the policies cannot be fine-tuned by either Barracuda Networks or a Barracuda Web Filter customer.

The only workaround today to preventing these remaining offensive images from being displayed is to add these image search engine domains (e.g. or to the block list to prevent image searches altogether.

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