Guard yourself against these 3 things

cyberbullying, school, parents, online student safety, Securly

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Each week in October is dedicated to a different cyber security theme, and features appropriate resources to help all internet users protect themselves from threats online.

Both children and adults should be cautious of their interactions online, while also considering whom they are dealing with:


Bots are useful tools and potentially constitute 60% of website traffic. However, they are oftentimes employed to conduct cybercriminal activity. They are a type of malware, allowing hackers to remotely take control over the infected computer.

Bots can be website scrapers and spammers, while extensive “botnets” (an army of infected computers) can take down a website in mere seconds called a Denial-of-Service Attack. Bots send viruses and are often used to steal personal information (credit card information, bank credentials, social security numbers), putting victims at risk of fraud.


The digital age promised to bring the world closer – and indeed the younger generation seems to be reflecting the sentiment, sharing increasingly more personal information with strangers online. The study extrapolates that 1 in 5 people share sensitive data (including passport scans, bank information, and personal documents) online with others they do not know well.

Neglecting to install proper security measures or voluntarily sharing personal information introduces many risks, from Venmo scams and fraud to sexual predators.


Incorporating people from your physical environment into your online social community may seem like a natural extension. However, a recent study by Robin Dunbar of Oxford Universityshows that most of your online friends are in fact not your “real friends”. In fact, cyberbullying is more likely to come from a teen’s peers than from internet trolls or strangers. There are cases where aggressive “strangers” were exposed as peers operating under fake accounts/names.

Online communication platforms are efficient, but “the lack of face-to-face interactions makes it difficult to invest in a relationship for maintaining an essential level of ‘emotional intensity.’” This lack of empathy and selective sharing on social media garners a feeling of detachment, which empowers cyberbullying. October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Cyber Security can be integral in bullying prevention. Both campaigns intersect, working towards the same goal: safety.

To learn more about how we keep kids safe online, visit our website:

Learn more about our Built-In Cyberbullying Detection

How We Keep 1M Students Safe Daily

We introduced Auditor after learning from our schools that students were using Gmail to express negative emotions such as bullying and self-harm. We made it free so that no school would have to make compromises when it comes to student safety.

Today, Auditor is thriving – scanning 3.5 million emails per day for 1 million students across the world.

‘Within six months of its launch Auditor has scanned more than 100 million emails and saved so many lives – That’s the power of AI and best part is that it’s all free! This is something that each every school should have as kids lives are at stake.’

‘Securly has been having its filtering product around for quite sometime but our core mission has always been ubiquitous safety for kids. Auditor is one such product that is so core to our mission, we decided to give it for free. Since its launch six months ago it has helped save countless number of lives.’ – Neeraj Thakar, VP India R&D Operations

Auditor also ensures that schools are CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant. CIPA requires schools to maintain “the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications”. However, traditional web-filters do not address this. Many schools reported using Google’s default compliance options to flag emails that contain a predefined set of keywords.

This method is undependable as:

  1. It Is prone to lots of False Positives (False Alarms) and False Negatives (Missed Alerts).
  2. Does not scale well in a large District where IT becomes the bottleneck in sorting through these flagged messages.


Instead, Auditor uses an automated sentiment inference approach. For example, consider a post that was flagged by our algorithm:

“slowly im realizing i don’t really have a purpose here say good bye cause Fryday it’s all over <3”

Though the allusion to suicide is clear, it does not contain the keywords usually associated with this kind of behavior. A keyword based approach would not have worked in detecting this.


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10 Reasons Why Securly is the Best Web Filter

parents, securly, web filter, schools

Between our unrivaled student safety features and dedicated team, here’s why schools and parents trust Securly to keep their kids safe online:

1. Free Chromebook Filtering

Set-up takes less than 5 minutes and it works seamlessly at home. In July, our Chromebook filtering became free for all schools everywhere. Since then, 700 districts (and counting) signed up and installed our self-serve Chromebook solution.

2. Free self-harm detection via Auditor

Our Auditor tool monitors Gmail for signs of self-harm and has kept over 1M students safer in its first 4 months. Our system uses Natural Language Processing & Artificial Intelligence algorithms to infer the sentiment behind e-mails. We notify parents and administrators in real-time at first sign of at-risk behavior.

3. Expanded Parent Settings

We upgraded our industry-first parent portal to give parents more control to set policies for school-owned devices at home. Parents can customize what your student can do and see on their devices, allow or deny access to specific sites and categories. This is one of our most popular features with parents.

4. Page Scanour blacklist that learns

PageScan is able to accurately block new content and meet the strict performance constraints of modern K-12 networks. Each day, PageScan adds 100s of sites to keep our database in tune with an ever-growing Internet. In fact, our blacklist recently upgraded to recognize images containing nudity, giving parents even less to worry about.

5. Azure AD

Can you ask for anything more than Google SSO and on-prem AD support? Now, you can. Azure AD support has been completed and deployed to many happy customers.

6. Product Stability

Despite our meteoric growth, support tickets are only on track to increase a mere 20%. Why? Because cloud-based filtering works and our product is more stable than ever.

7. Auto Scaling

Our DevOps infrastructure was upgraded to handle auto scaling. This means that as traffic fluctuates, servers turn on or go to sleep based on use  which mitigates chances of a server getting maxed out or even crashing. So, go ahead and throw all you can at us – we can handle it.

Advantages of cloud-based auto scaling:

  • Better fault tolerance: Auto scaling detects when an unhealthy instance, terminates it, and launches a replacement.
  • Improved availability: This ensures that our servers always have the capacity to handle the current traffic demands.
  • Blazing fast DNS resolution.
  • Automated load handling.
  • Highly scalable.
  • Higher service uptime.


8. Our Rockstar Team

The guy who works on our Squid proxy wrote the code for our SSL decryption engine over a weekend. Our recruiter hired 30 top-notch sales reps in just under one month. Industry veterans from Microsoft, Amazon, and Qualys are just a sample of the talent that Securly’s been attracting.

9. WiscNet

We secured our first state-wide contract when WiscNet (Wisconsin’s K-12  Research and Education Network) chose to partner with Securly. Along with other large district deals reaching over 2M students, Securly is on track to achieve triple digit sales growth 4 years in a row.

10. Breakneck Growth

Securly is bursting at the seams with 70+ employees across California, North Carolina, and India. Our Charlotte and India offices continue to expand and our HQ in Silicon Valley is having to move to an office 3x the size of our old space. It’s a great feeling.


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Announcing Securly 24 – It’s About Time!


After much development and planning, Securly is proud to announce Securly 24 which…

Hold on, is this a rip-off of the TV show “24” starring Kiefer Sutherland that took viewers on time-sensitive adventures in a post-9/11 world for an impressive 8 seasons on Fox?

What? No, that’s not even close. We’re excited about Securly 24 because it brings back the one factor missing from technology-based solutions: the human factor. Securly 24 is important because there are times when urgency or context can be difficult for technology to determine, even an advanced artificial intelligence like ours. However, these determinations are absolutely necessary to distinguish active from passive warning signs. With Securly 24, trained professionals can discern what tech cannot.

Wait a sec, so Securly hired trained professional Kiefer Sutherland to work a 24-hour shift alongside a robot sidekick? Bro, that sounds awesome!

While we appreciate Mr. Sutherland and his body of work, he has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on Securly 24. The only thing that matters, and truly the primary motivation for rolling out 24, is making sure kids are safe…at all times.

Securly already monitors for such things as cyberbullying and self-harm across Filter and Auditor and administrators receive email alerts when such things are found. However, an email alert may not be seen until the next day. In some cases, that is already too late.

“The reality is that troublesome activities do happen, but not always between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Securly wants to minimize any chance of oversight by adding trained humans back into the equation,” says co-founder/CEO Vinay Mahadik.

Filter 24 automatically observes a student’s activity on the web, social media, and Youtube, while Auditor 24 scans Google emails. When an activity is flagged, a trained staff member will review the context in which it was used and, if necessary, the user’s history for insight into the bigger picture. Able to recognize the nuances of language and critically analyze a user’s history, a human can make determinations that technology may overlook. If flagged activities are cause for alarm, a Securly 24 staff member will alert a counselor in real-time via text or, if necessary, a phone call.

Sometimes the feeling of pain and isolation can be overwhelming at, say, 2AM on a Sunday. Fortunately, Securly is making sure that even when the rest of the world is asleep, the right folks are keeping an eye on the most vulnerable among us. Sometimes we just need a hero who is at the right place at the right time.

Hey, kinda like…

Yes, exactly like Kiefer Sutherland.

Interested? Join our priority list now! Click here.


Suicide Prevention: Behind Their Minds


September means Back to School! There’s excitement in the air as families rush to the Target aisles to buy notebooks, pens, and materials for a promising year full of new experiences. As exciting as Back to School can be, kids can feel scared and overwhelmed. For many, it can feel too overwhelming. September also happens to be National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, an occasion to spotlight an issue that is growing among youths, and one that shows no signs of slowing down.

Youth suicide is a major cause of death during the crucial years when they should be building healthy interactions with their peers, constructing positive self-images, and forming important social bonds. According to 2015 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death in children aged 10-14.

Many suicides occur in isolation, while others are clustered in back-to-back succession around the same school or district. Many school authorities and administrations are baffled as to what is causing their students to kill themselves with alarming frequency. Could it be an increasingly rigorous academic schedule? Is it from bullying and social pressure to be attractive, cool, liked?

There are many reasons why this could be happening. Social pressure and lack of support can be contributors, as well as anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic disorders, and other psychological disorders which can impact suicidal intent. Kids struggling with anxiety disorders are more likely than mentally healthy people to have suicidal thoughts, make suicide attempts, or complete suicide. When it comes to depression, according to researchers, a specific occurrence of hopelessness in depressed people, rather than the depression as a whole, is a stronger indicator of suicidal feelings. That means that a depressed child will not necessarily be suicidal, but that a child feeling hopeless during their depression will be more likely to want to kill themselves.


That being said, it is important to remember that not every child who is suicidal has a mental disorder, and not every person with a mental disorder is suicidal. Many factors contribute to why a kid may feel that way, and it’s important to pay attention to warning signs when they do. Kids who want to harm themselves or die typically will leave a number of clues that indicate their suicidal ideation or intention.

In our next blog post covering suicide, we’ll explore the warning signs that parents and teachers can look out for, and how to help your child when you find them.

If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741-741 to get connected with Crisis Text Line.

All Hail Auto Scaling !

You might think that auto scaling is the practice of meticulously painting, say, your Toyota Prius to look like an Atlantic salmon. It’s hard to believe, but…you would be wrong. Auto scaling refers to servers turning on or sleeping based on the amount of traffic at a given time. The new school year means increased traffic, which means you’d better be prepared.

Earlier scaling attempts were on par with early attempts at flight, a lot of trial and error. If it did work, it didn’t mitigate the chances of a server getting maxed out or even crashing. Cloud-based auto scaling solves a lot of these issues. To roll out cloud-based auto scaling, our engineers have enduring sleepless nights, fewer showers, and lots of caffeine. Now, it’s up and running.

securly-horizontal-scaling-gif (1).gifAs traffic fluctuates, servers turn on or go to sleep based on use. To help the servers get to sleep, they are read an excerpt from 50 Shades of Grey. Knocks ‘em right out.

Advantages of cloud-based auto scaling

  • Better fault tolerance: Auto scaling detects when an unhealthy instance, terminates it, and launches a replacement.
  • Improved availability: This ensures that our servers always have the capacity to handle the current traffic demands.
  • Blazing fast DNS resolution.
  • Automated load handling.
  • Highly scalable.
  • Higher service uptime.

IMG_20170912_144122.jpgWhat started as an overly complex game of tic-tac-toe between Siddhartha Desai, DevOps Engineer and Pei Deng, DevOps Manager became the genesis for our cloud-based auto scaling. Also, Sid won three games straight.

Securly’s goal is simple. Our engineers are taking care of the auto scaling so that admins don’t have to. Before a big day like Back to School, we would rather let them sleep.


Securly + 600 Districts in One Month = Safer Students!


Despite industry norm, Securly believes that basic online safety for kids should be free. Securly isn’t the oldest company in EdTech, but we are among the fastest growing. To back up that claim, let’s do the math. Number of school districts who are paying customers: over 1000; Districts using the free Chrome Extension and Auditor: 600; Cost of our extension and Auditor: $0. Those are good numbers. From a business standpoint, we’re happy. From an altruistic standpoint, we’re ecstatic.

The 600 school districts (and counting) that have rolled out Securly Free have noticed a few things. First, because it categorizes dangerous websites (e.g. porn, gambling, drugs), students are thriving with a more age-appropriate Internet. Second, because Securly is cloud-based, school districts are benefitting from a minimal network footprint. Win-win? Yup-yup!

Auditor is the name of our tech that uses artificial intelligence to scan Gmail for signs of cyberbullying or even self-harm. It’s as cool as it sounds. When we hear directly about a life that was changed for the better or a life that was saved because of what we do, it means more than anything. Like, more than a good WiFi signal? Definitely.

More than a free Tesla? Oh yeah.

More than the power of invisibility? Totally.

More than ice cream? Well, now you’re just being blasphemous.

Districts signing up for Securly Premium are thrilled with the expansion to non-Chromebook devices (tablets, Macs, PCs, etc.), Parental Integration, Delegated Admin, and Dedicated Student Safety Coordinators.

“I wanted to quickly write you and thank everyone at Securly for their hard work. I like to think this is Securly pilot semester and your services have been recommended by others I network with in education. I look forward to using this tool as a part of our student monitoring. Thank you, again, and make sure to thank the entire Securly team.”

Collin Miller

Taos Academy Charter School

“Just an update. It’s working amazingly and already alerted us to one potential self-harm/suicide situation so we can intervene. We’re quite pleased! Thanks for everything.”

David Wolford

Securly shook up the industry by offering basic safety for kids for free, forever. Schools and parents (and kids) have benefitted from this in so many ways that we’re confident in our decision to release the free Chrome Extension. Free or Premium, Securly keeps kids safe and gives adults peace of mind. Free or Premium, schools and parents can’t go wrong.

For more information please watch this video.

Get Safer Students Now! 

Chromebook Filtering. FREE. For Everyone.

securly-available-worldwide-illustration-v4.jpgIn March this year,  we launched Auditor our free tool that detects signs of bullying and self-harm on Gmail. Securly was founded with a double-bottom line mission to keep kids safe online while continuing to be a sustainable business. Humbled by the overwhelming response to Auditor, we have now opened up our Chromebook filtering service for FREE for everyone – within the US and outside

You can sign up and install the Chrome extension here. Our Chromebook solution is easy to install (10 mins – no kidding!). It protects kids from inappropriate and malicious content, follows them home, and even keeps parents in the loop. 

And just because our Chromebook service is free does not mean that we leave you to figure it out for yourself. If you need help, you can sign up to our daily UI walkthrough webinars with one of our engineers to help you understand the features and answer any questions you may have. Or you can connect with our current users and support team over the dedicated Google+ forum.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 4.39.22 PM



Why Web Filtering is Integral in the Fight Against Hate Speech

securly, web filtering, students, school, cyberbullying

The current situation

Hate speech is speech that vilifies a group of people based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender, etc. It is an undeniable part of this country’s past and a threat to our future. While many Americans urge acceptance and inclusion, others vocalize prejudice and animosity. Our current leadership explicitly condones such disparaging remarks through their own practice.

People tend to repeat what they hear and see, especially children. And through social media, especially now, such remarks are more prevalent – reaching people across the country. Its impact does not go unnoticed. There have been reports of children bullying their classmates on the basis of race, invoking the current President’s name to validate their claims. Bullying is not only in the classroom, but online as well.

Unfortunately, social media as a medium seems to trivialize all content it transmits (everything from serious tragedy to harmful memes) and the informal culture causes us to forget the consequence of our actions online. While teachers are working to create a safe and tolerant environment on campus, physical limitations weaken their efforts when it comes to the online environment.

How web filtering can help

Traditionally, educators and parents saw web filtering only as a way to protect children from pornographic content, malware, and phishing. However, web filtering can also aid schools in fostering an inclusive learning community.

With the right web filter, schools can catch instances of cyberbullying and hate speech. Using Machine Learning algorithms, a web filter will find instances of cyberbullying and alert administrators and parents – allowing schools to resolve conflict immediately and encourage the conversation of acceptance outside of school walls.


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Webinar #4 Debrief: Layer 7 Filtering and Why it Matters for K-12

web filter, layer 7, webinar, K-12, firewallStudents getting around the web filter? Have no fear, Duckie 007 is here! In our most recent Webinar, our Principal Sales Engineer explains just what schools needs to prevent students circumventing web filters: Layer 7 filtering. We explicate the importance of Layer 7 Filtering for K-12 by first taking you through its history and the evolution of Firewall (from stateless to stateful) and finishing with tips to help you select the best Layer 7 appliance.

Here’s what we covered in Webinar #4:

  • History of Firewall, 1984 to present
  • Most Common Attack Vectors, what they are and what to watch out for
    • Tor – allows for anonymous communication based on Onion Routing
    • Ultrasurf – leaves no trace of use!
    • VPN – be wary of client software!
  • Selecting a Layer 7 Appliance for K-12
    • Throughput stats & scalability
    • Specializing – cloud vs hardware

See the full video hereWebinars occur at the end of the month and are open to everyone, free of charge.


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