Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bypassing Parental Controls With BT

Every so often I feel the need to share some 'internet control' experiences, this is my third 'off topic' blog - the first of which concerned turning on parental controls, the second about the prevalence of porn on Twitter

Recently I've seen plenty of evidence that inappropriate content is showing up on childrens' computers despite their parents locking down devices and restricting access.

Just to be clear, there are ALWAYS ways to circumvent these controls. But many cannot work out how - and I'm certainly not going to share methods for doing it. That doesn't mean you should ignore the problem though.

If you're a BT broadband customer (one third of UK households are), you are almost certainly providing simplified access to the pornosphere for your children and their friends.

Some background first - if you're of a mind to block inappropriate material, then you have probably enabled parental controls on mobile devices and computers in the house.

You may even have decided to completely stop the flow into your house, and had your provider block it at source. There's a simple way to do this with BT, follow this link, sign in with your credentials, then scroll down to the 'extras' section and click 'Manage' in the BT Parental Control box.

Congratulations, you've successfully blocked inappropriate content coming into the house, (although how porn and alcohol end up in the same filter category is beyond me).


Actually it's very easy to bypass this, not for you, but for your children or for guests in your house.

Part of the BT offering is to allow your home router to be used as a personal hotspot for anyone. Check out your wi-fi network now, and you'll see 'BTWifi-with-FON' listed.

This means that if I am in range of any BT router I can use it as a wi-fi hotspot (by signing in with my BT account credentials).

Many parents give those credentials to their children so they can access wi-fi and not use mobile data plans, so usernames and passwords get passed around at school, enabling your child to use someone else's details to see whatever they want through your router.

The good news is that you can opt out of this, but it's not that easy, and after half an hour of navigating through BT's website to a human I finally got this link, which allows you to opt out of providing a hotspot: 

Bizarrely if you don't have a email address you need to find an actual person to do this for you - this link may help. (Click problem with service, then broadband and eventually this magic chat button will appear). 

If all this seems like a huge amount of hassle, then that's because it is. I'm not sure that you should have to 'opt-in' to see adult content, that's a much larger debate, but if you do want to turn off adult content, then BT could make it a great deal simpler (and not leave the open hotspot wide open for abuse). 

Not enabled parental controls yet? Don't think you should? Read this and it may change your mind.

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