Configuring your Mac to work with Filter Proxy Settings-

This page is provided for Mac OS 9 users who wish to configure their web browsers to securely access the internet through a server-side internet content filter proxy.

*This set-up is for locking in proxy settings for an internet filter that allows you to keep your present ISP and e-mail address.(Does NOT work with AOL, or if you are already accessing the internet though another proxy number.) For instance , if you have Earthlink as your ISP you keep Earthlink as your dial-in service and e-mail address. The proxy settings that you will set up in the browser and in your Mac OS Internet control panel will allow you to access the internet through your regular ISP , but will direct all web pages through the proxy filter. If a site is inapproriate or blocked a notice will appear saying something like: "Access restricted by _______Filter."

*As you probably know, if proxies are manually configured in the browser Preferences panel (Internet Explorer or Netscape) then it is a simple matter for anyone who is the least bit computer-savvy to go into the Preferences and disable or re-set the proxy panel to "direct connection to the internet" or "disable". When someone knows how to easily disable the proxy setting then the whole purpose of accessing the internet through a filtered proxy service is defeated. As a Mac user you need a way to lock-in your proxy settings so that they can not be easily re-set or disabled.

Click on the Hot Links below to find Step-By-Step Instructions for configuring your Mac to use a proxy that is "locked-in" and is not easily disabled . The other link , Internet Filter Provider Resources , gives some information on a few of the providers who have a content filter proxy that will work with a Mac.

Notes before you begin set-up:

[IMPORTANT to READ CAREFULLY and follow the instructions to the letter. Please PRINT INSTRUCTIONS or save as a text file on your desktop for easy reference.]

*This set-up assumes that you have Mac OS 9 or 9.1 installed. Parts of this set-up will work with Mac 8.5 and 8.6 (see notes on the Step-By-Step page.)

Most of what you will use is standard software within Mac OS 9, but to make this configuration totally secure you should follow the highlighted links to download one of the following file security utilities:



FREEGUARD is a utility that allows you to hide folders and files to protect them from being deleted. It is a "semi-secure" file protection system. (and it really is FREE, so you can't beat the price).

If you need real "hacker-proof" file security and are prepared to spend a little bit of money you can download a much more secure program that does the same thing as FREEGUARD, but does even more than simply hide files. The name of this utility is BIG SECRET

Download BIG SECRET here:


BIG SECRET is free to download and use on a trial basis, but if you decide to keep it the cost is $25.00 (well worth it in my opinion).

A slightly less expensive option is the file hiding utility GHOST. GHOST costs $12.00. I have not actually used GHOST, but it has good reviews and appears to have the same advanced security features of BIG SECRET. Download GHOST here:


Both *BIG SECRET, GHOST, and FREEGUARD will accomplish the task of hiding your specially configured Internet Control Panels and Internet Preferences file, but BIG SECRET (or GHOST) is much more secure. I would recommend that you go with using BIG SECRET or GHOST, because FREEGUARD is easier to hack-through for experienced computer users. (*Throughout the set-up instructions I will refer to BIG SECRET, but you may use GHOST or FREEGUARD at any of the points where I refer to BIG SECRET.)

Before you start this set-up have BIG SECRET or GHOST (or FREEGUARD) downloaded and installed.

* This set up only works with the browsers Internet Explorer or the current "beta" version of the iCab browser.

Netscape does not work with the set up on this page ,because Netscape will not lock in to the proxy settings from the Mac OS Internet control panel.(see below) . For information on securely configuring the Netscape browser follow this link:

Secure Proxy Settings For Netscape

Internet Explorer 5.0 is a free download from Microsoft if you don't already have it installed with your Mac OS 9. The beta version of iCab browser is available for free download . See the HOT LINKS below for links to download Internet Explorer 5.0 or iCab 2.4.

*About passwords: The key to this set up is password protection {Files may be encrypted by selecting "Encrypt" from the File menu. This opens up Apple File Security which allows you to encrypt your Internet Control Panel configurations. Apple File Security may also be opened from the "Security" folder in your Applications folder on the Mac HD.} You or whoever will be the password holder should write down the password(s) on a piece of paper before you start the set-up; then after the set-up is finished make sure the piece of paper with the password(s) is hidden and kept in a secure place.

One responsible adult in the household will be the "keeper of the password (s)". (including password for BIG SECRET or GHOST ). Usually in two-parent households the best person to keep the password is the Mom. Men tend to be more easily tempted to check out porn on the web ( just a click away, just curious..........). If both spouses are tempted in this manner then the holder of the password should be their pastor or some other trusted friend. In a single-parent situation , or in the case of a single person or student away from home a trusted authority figure such as a pastor or a teacher can be the keeper of the password. When the password is set it is vitally important that the person who knows the password keeps it secret and also has it written down somewhere (hidden) so that they will not forget it. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to update or service the encrypted Internet control panel file.

* You should have the internet filter proxy number and the port number that you intend to use written down as you begin this set-up. These numbers will be supplied by the Filter Service that you choose to sign up with. Also have all your other internet configuration information written down for handy reference.

You should know how to set up Mac Internet Control Panel. The Internet Control Panel sets the system wide Internet Preferences. Both the Internet Control Panel settings and the Internet Preferences file where the settings are stored will be protected from tampering by the steps you will take during the Step-by-Step instructions. Follow this link to see an Apple Tech Support article (complete with screen shots) on how to set up Internet Control Panel:

Apple Internet Control Panel Instructions

(The Apple Instructions say "Mac OS 8.5 Internet Control Panel", but the set up is the same for Mac OS 8.5, 8.6, 9.0 and 9.1)

Now proceed to the Step-By-Step Instructions page to set the proxy in Internet Control Panel/Internet Preferences and secure it with BIG SECRET, GHOST ,or FREEGUARD.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Step-By-Step Instructions for Configuring your Mac
Internet Filter Provider resources
Download iCab
Download GHOST
Download FREEGUARD (*not as secure as BIG SECRET)
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This information is provided with no guarantees . It is a solution that worked for me, but may not be suitable for your purposes. Follow the Step-by-Step instructions and test it out to find if this solution is suitable for your purposes. I will try to keep this information updated from time to time, but for now it is current only to June 1 , A.D. 2002, using Mac OS 9.1. ( I also provide some set up instructions that can be used for Mac 8.5 and 8.6.) The browsers used in this system are IE 5.0 for Mac and the public beta version of iCab (iCab 2.7).

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