How do I install VirtueNet MobileProtect?
Can I test VirtueNet MobileProtect before buying?
Yes. You can try this for free for 7 days to get the hang of it before committing. After this trial period expires you will receive an email notification and you can then decide whether you would like to continue with the service and purchase a 1-year license.
Will VirtueNet MobileProtect work on my device?
VirtueNet MobileProtect works best on Android smartphones and tablets running Android version 2.2 and later (some of the most popular Android handsets are made by Samsung, HTC and Motorola). The easiest way to tell what operating system your smartphone or tablets runs is to check the "about us" on the device or check the documentation that came with the device (if you still have it). Failing that, a quick internet search should tell you. In addition, VirtueNet MobileProtect works for iOS works on Apple's iPhones, iPads and Touch devices, however, some of the features are different due to the unique nature of the device’s operating system. Be sure to check out the Feature Comparison chart provided on our website for the key differences of our software on Android & Apple devices.
How do I know which operating system (OS) my mobile device runs?
The operating system (OS) of a device refers to the technology that powers the smartphone or tablet. This is important to know because it tells you which application marketplace to go to in order to download VirtueNet MobileProtect and other apps. There are several manufacturers that offer Android handsets (Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola are some of the popular ones.) Then, to make things even more interesting, different versions of an operating system can sometimes behave very differently and have different capabilities. VirtueNet MobileProtect works on Android smartphones and tablets running Android version 2.2 and later or iOS version 5 and later. The easiest way to tell what operating system your smartphone or tablets runs is to check the "about us" on the device; check the documentation that cam e with the device or failing that, do a quick internet search.
How to re-install VirtueNet MobileProtect on the handset
Now and again you may need to reinstall the VirtueNet MobileProtect application on your child's handset. This could be because they have a new phone, or they have carried out a factory reset and deleted the application. Other reasons for doing a reinstall are that the phone needed repairs, or had the firmware upgraded. Whatever the reason, you shouldn't need to reinstall the application very often. If you do need to reinstall VirtueNet, you don't need to start from scratch. On the menu bar in the dashboard is a link called "Reinstall". Choose which handset you would like to update and click the "Reinstall now" link. You'll then get taken through the installation process as you were when you first installed. Use the same email address and password, and the phone will automatically be linked to your existing account for that phone number, with all the existing security settings. Unfortunately if your child changes their device, you will need to set the device up from scratch.
Setting up my account
My Account Info in the top menu of the dashboard is where you control everything to do with your account (as opposed to the handset, which is managed from the “View dashboard” link next to each device added). Update your contact information here so that you can receive transgression alerts, weekly activity summaries and updates from VirtueNet. You can also set when we can send you email transgression alerts. Should you wish to purchase, cancel, or renew your subscription this can be done here as well. If you want to only cancel one handset, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Changing the default pin
The default PIN for the VirtueNet MobileProtect app is 1234. We highly recommend you change this to a number only you know as soon as possible following installation (as prompted by the app on the device) or this can be done by logging into the VirtueNet dashboard and going to the “Triggers” section. The pin is used to prevent your child from uninstalling the app, therefore this setting is very important.
How do I pay for VirtueNet MobileProtect?
We accept Visa and MasterCard and our payment gateway is powered by leading e-commerce gateway PayFast (see www.payfast.co.za for more information).
Do I need to sign a contract?
No, you purchase the service online and no contract needs to be signed. We just ask that you sign up to our terms and conditions before using the service.
My payment has been declined even though the details are correct?
If your payment is declined even though the details are correct and you have funds in the account, it might be due to anti-fraud mechanisms your bank has in place. You'll need to call your bank to verify the payment and then try again. Apologies for the inconvenience.
Does VirtueNet charge VAT, tax, etc?
No. The price you see is the price you pay.
How do I know that my credit card details will be safe?
VirtueNet uses PayFast to handle its credit card transactions. This means that we never store your credit card details ourselves. In addition, PayFast partners uses the same Extended Validation SSL with 256-bit encryption as used by two of the four major South African banks for all transactions, which is the highest level of encryption currently available. For more information, please visit https://www.payfast.co.za/b/std/security and https://www.payfast.co.za/c/std/privacy-policy
What do I do if I want to add another child to an existing VirtueNet MobileProtect account?
You can either click on the “Add a device" button on the first page of your dashboard, or browse to the device's app store and download VirtueNet MobileProtect onto the smartphone or tablet. If you already have an account with VirtueNet, use your existing username (your email address) and password when doing the new installation, and the device will be added to your existing VirtueNet dashboard and account.
Can I cancel my VirtueNet MobileProtect subscription at any time?
Yes, you are free to cancel your VirtueNet MobileProtect subscription entirely at any time that you choose. However, please note that your subscription will only be terminated at the end of the billing cycle you are currently in. To stop using the service immediately, you can simply uninstall the application from your handset or tablet device.
How do I move a subscription?
Once you have installed VirtueNet MobileProtect on the new device and it appears in the VirtueNet dashboard, you can remove the old device at which point you will be prompted to migrate the subscription. Choose the new device and the subscription will be migrated across to the new device.
Understanding the VirtueNet MobileProtect dashboard
The VirtueNet dashboard is where you, the parent, can choose your security settings, view transgressions that might take place on your child's phone, set how you would like to received alerts, and get a summary of the activity taking place on your child's phone.
For more information on each of these, click on the links for more details.
Managing your security profile on VirtueNet MobileProtect
You can save your security settings for future reference. Perhaps you want to slightly relax restrictions over the weekend or during holidays.
You can change this setting by clicking on the security profile link at the top left of the dashboard.
Messaging security allows you to block messages to and from numbers that are not saved in the address book. You can also block messages to and from premium rate numbers, which are often very expensive, or a way to access adult content. Finally you can also blacklist numbers here - if you blacklist a number in the messages section, it will automatically apply to calls as well.
Call security allows you to block calls to and from numbers that are not saved in the address book. You can also block calls to and from premium rate numbers, which are often very expensive, or a way to access adult content. Finally you can also blacklist numbers here - if you blacklist a number in the calls section, it will automatically apply to messages as well.
Web security allows you to blacklist web content you deem inappropriate for your child to access. You can choose entire categories, or sections of categories. Sometimes, though, blocking by categories can be a bit too cautious. You can use the whitelist to give your child access to sites that might have been banned by one of your category selections. The timetable affects web browsing as well, so add any sites you want your child to access at all times to the VIP list. If there are specific websites you want to blacklist - perhaps you have seen them show up on the web report, you can add them to the blacklist section.
Finally, we recommend you enable safe searching as this gives some added protection that any search results on Google or another search engine are suitable for all ages.
Application security gives you an overview of all the applications that have been installed on your child's phone. You can choose whether you want to block any of the applications, only allow access to them during times they may use their phone using the timetable, or allow them at all times.
Note: Changes you make to your security settings will register on the handset at the next sync. You can adjust the sync periods in phone preferences, or force the handset to sync via the application itself.
How do I block YouTube on my child's mobile device?
YouTube can be accessed in 2 ways on a mobile device. Firstly via the YouTube website, and also by the YouTube application (which comes pre-installed on many devices).
Go to the web security settings page on the VirtueNet dashboard. Enter www.youtube.com into the blacklist websites section.
If you have used the timetable to set when your child can use their smartphone or tablet, YouTube
will only be able to be used in those time periods. However, if you want to block YouTube access at
all times, follow the steps below:
• Navigate to the application security settings on your VirtueNet dashboard. This will show you a list of all the applications installed on your child's mobile device.
• Scroll down to YouTube in the list. Here you can choose to block YouTube from being accessed at any time.
• Alternatively, if you want to limit when YouTube is used via the timetable, select "scheduled".
Remember that your child can also download third party web browsers onto their smartphone or tablet. These will allow them to access YouTube as well. Under preferences, you can set VirtueNet MobileProtect to block third-party browsers which will launch the VirtueNet Safe Browser.
How do I stop my child from removing VirtueNet MobileProtect?
Android users: please change the PIN in your preferences menu on the dashboard. This prevents:
• the VirtueNet admin screen on the device being accessed
• device administrator settings from being changed
• the VirtueNet app from being deleted or the data cleared
All users: On some handsets it is also possible to remove the app via the app store, even if you have the uninstall protection activated. Please also block the app store via the applications security settings if you are concerned about this. In the “Preferences” and “Alerts” settings in the VirtueNet dashboard you can also set how often your child’s device syncs with our server and be altered when it does not. Should you notice that your child’s device is continually not syncing with our server or “checking in” then it may be possible that your child has removed the software through some creative means, however, this is usually quite unlikely.
How do I block the camera on my child's smartphone or tablet?
If you have used the timetable to set when your child can use their smartphone or tablet, the camera will only be able to be used in those time periods. However, if you want to block camera use at all times, follow the steps below:
• Navigate to the application security settings on your VirtueNet dashboard. This will show you a list of all the applications installed on your child's mobile device.
• Scroll down to the camera in the list. Here you can choose to block the camera from being used at any time.
• Alternatively, if you want to limit when the camera is used via the timetable, select "scheduled".
This is not currently available on iOS.
Making sure my kid is safe on their iPhone, iPad or iTouch
Once you have installed VirtueNet MobileProtect for iOS on your child's iPhone, iPad or iTouch it is very important that you activate a few of the built in security settings on the Apple device to ensure your child is fully protected, and also doesn't bypass VirtueNet MobileProtect, for instance by downloading another browser.
To do this, follow these simple instructions:
• Go to the SETTINGS icon and choose "General" in the menu
• Activate restrictions and fill in a PIN when requested. If the Apple device is shared with your child, you'll be able to override these settings when you use the device.
• Disable Safari - this ensure that the safe VirtueNet browser is used at all times
• Disable YouTube if you are concerned about what your child might watch
• Disable any other third party browsers or apps that you might be worried about.
• Deactivate installing apps and deleting apps.
You're now good to go, with the peace of mind that your child is browsing safely on their Apple smartphone or tablet.
The VirtueNet MobileProtect address book mirrors the contact list on your child's phone and allows you to add contacts to a blacklist or VIP list, depending on who they are. This sets who your child may call and text, and also who may contact your child.
You can also block communication to and from unknown numbers, withheld numbers and premium rated numbers. Blacklisted contacts may never be communicated with, regular contacts are known to you and are safe for your child to communicate with, and VIP contacts can always be communicated with, even if other restrictions are in place. In future VirtueNet will also flag any numbers that are new or unknown, giving you a great opportunity to learn who is in contact with your child and start a conversation about sharing information with your child.
The VirtueNet address book is also a useful back-up of your child's contacts, in case their phone is lost or stolen.
VirtueNet MobileProtect can use the address book to block unwanted callers.
Many parents are worried by how much time their children spend online, especially late at night. The VirtueNet MobileProtect timetable lets you specify the times when your child may use their phone. The default is to allow access, but you can change this by changing the highlighted areas on the timetable. Perhaps you only want them to have access from 6 am in the morning, until 10 pm at night. Or maybe your school requires that phones aren't used during school times.
But phones are handy in an emergency - so if you use the timetable, please also make sure you set VIP contacts (you, trusted family members) that your child can always contact, even if according to the timetable they can't use their phone. You can also set VIP web sites and applications.
Tips: you can choose multiple selections by holding down the control key on a PC, or the command key on a Mac.
If you want the timetable settings to apply to applications, you'll need to go into the applications security menu and choose "scheduled" for these apps.
Remember, the highlighted area indicates when your child CAN use their phone.
The preferences option on the dashboard allows you to configure how VirtueNet MobileProtect interacts with your or your child's smartphone or tablet. You can use these settings to customise the VirtueNet MobileProtect service.
Most of the headings are pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few tips:
• Choose a name for the device that will help you identify it in the dashboard and weekly updates and transgression alerts, i.e. John's Galaxy tab.
• Choose whether you would like to receive a weekly summary email for this phone. We recommend that you do - even if no transgressions take place on the handset, you'll get a good overview of how your child is using their phone.
• The redirect URL is a web address you choose that we can send your child to if they try to access banned content on the web.
• Although VirtueNet MobileProtect isn't a huge drain on your child's phone's battery, we allow you to adjust how often the phone reports back to the system, depending on whether the battery is low or not. We'd recommend more frequent updates when the battery is OK, with slightly less frequent updates to extend the battery life when the battery level is low.
• Similarly, getting a location fix on the phone uses a small amount of the phone battery. Again, we'd recommend more frequent updates (and thus a more accurate location fix) when the battery is strong, and fewer updates as the battery runs out of charge.
• The PIN is there to make the application secure and to prevent your child or others from deleting VirtueNet MobileProtect off the device. To activate it, you change the default pin to a more secure four-digit number only known to you.
• SIM Swap protection sends you a notification and activates the block screen of the device if the SIM card is removed from the device. This is to prevent thieves from using the phone by swapping out the sim. Use the PIN code to deactivate the lock screen.
• The PIN is used to temporarily override a blocked application or website and make it harder to delete the app from the device.
• Enable text while driving protection. This will pop up a block screen if a messaging application (such as SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger) is used whilst the phone is moving faster than 15kph. This feature requires that GPS is enabled on the device. It will only work once an accurate fix has been achieved. There is a cool-down period after the phone has stopped moving before the feature is disabled.
• Disable third-party browsers. We maintain a list of third party browsers and if any of these browsers are present and launched on the device, we will automatically load the VirtueNet MobileProtect safe browser. This is to prevent third-party browsers from circumventing the VirtueNet MobileProtect web-filtering.
Blocking MXit on my child’s phone
MXit can be accessed in 2 ways via a mobile device. Firstly via the MXit website, and also by the MXit application.
Go to the web security settings page on the VirtueNet MobileProtect dashboard. Enter www.mxit.com into the blacklist websites section.
If you have used the timetable to set when your child can use their smartphone or tablet, MXit will
only be able to be used in those time periods. However, if you want to block MXit access at all times,
follow the steps below:
• Navigate to the application security settings on your VirtueNet MobileProtect My Child dashboard. This will show you a list of all the applications installed on your child's mobile device.
• Scroll down to MXit in the list. Here you can choose to block MXit from being accessed at any time.
• Alternatively, if you want to limit when MXit is used via the timetable, select "scheduled".
Remember that your child can also download third-party web browsers onto their smartphone or tablet. These will allow them to access MXit as well. Under “preferences”, you can set VirtueNet MobileProtect to block third-party browsers which will launch the VirtueNet Safe Browser.
Preventing text whilst driving
If you own an Android device you can activate text whilst driving. This prevents the phone's user from texting if the phone is travelling above 15kph. There may be a 'warm up' period whilst the phone gets an accurate GPS fix. This fix is required to accurately determine if the phone is moving. The time before the device gets a GPS fix depends on the capabilities of the device / cloud cover / building density etc.
More expensive phones have better GPS chips in it and will be able to 'warm up' and get a fix more quickly. There is no way to actively detect movement without using a GPS and if one runs the GPS constantly then the battery will be drained far too rapidly.
It is best to do a couple of tests with this feature and determine if it is suitable for the child's device.
Setting Up Reporting
VirtueNet MobileProtect records all activity on your child's phone: who they call, who calls them, texts sent and received, websites browsed and applications installed. Once you have used the VirtueNet MobileProtect dashboard to set up restriction levels for your child's mobile phone activity, you need to start monitoring and better understanding what your child is doing online. VirtueNet MobileProtect’s detailed reports will give you a good knowledge base to guide and support your child as they encounter new circumstances.
VirtueNet MobileProtect will alert you to potentially dangerous activity on your child's phone according to how you have set up your security settings. You can choose which transgressions will trigger alerts. Remember to go to your contact details in the "My Account Info" section of the website to choose when you want to receive the alerts, for instance, you might not want to get alerts 24 hours a day.
What is the difference between course and fine location?
Fine location uses GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites to get an accurate fix of the phone's location. Depending on where you are in the world it can be as accurate as 3 feet. However older phones struggled to get GPS fixes, particularly if indoors, around tall buildings and in cloudy weather conditions. It also requires more power to active GPS on the phone and consequently drains the battery more quickly.
Rough location leverages the known tower locations to try and triangulate the phone location. In areas with greater density of towers, you will get a better and more accurate location, but it could be as inaccurate as 2 kilometres out. That is why we display the accuracy radius on the map.
We use sophisticated algorithms to leverage the appropriate technology on the device and will triangulate the best-case position. It is worth leaving on the GPS and reducing the poll period to get a more accurate fix. It will also provide digital breadcrumbs.
How do I set up a Geo-fence?
A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Geofences on the VirtueNet MobileProtect maps are circular and one can define the name of the geo-fence and the radius of the perimeter. You can choose to receive notifications when a device either arrives or leaves the geo-fence.
Select the drag-box to increase or decrease the radius of the geo-fence. Due to some of the challenges with the accuracy mobile devices it is suggested that you do not make the size of the geo-fence too small otherwise you will receive a lot of false positives, particularly if your child has an older model device or their GPS is not active.
Geofences could be used for locations such as Home or School. They can also be set up as an exclusion zone, for example, if they left the area they normally roam on a weekly basis.
When first setting up the geo-fence or visiting the location screen, your browser will ask you to share your location. This is just to help Google Maps present your relevant location in the dashboard.
Can VirtueNet MobileProtect monitor third-party messaging applications?
Applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, BBM and others run in their own ecosystem and do not provide access to their messages. VirtueNet MobileProtect is therefore unable to track these messages.
Limitations to Android service
On certain Android devices, but not all, we are at present unable to offer the following services:
Blocking banned SMS from being sent, these are however registered in the transgression reports. This is due to the operating system preventing us from blocking outbound messages.
Not showing inbound SMS in dashboard
It could be that Go SMS Pro is installed on the device. Unfortunately it has a very aggressive grabbing of SMS and does not play nicely with other SMS applications on the device. The only way to solve it is to remove Go SMS Pro, install VirtueNet MobileProtect and then reinstall Go SMS Pro.
For more information on Go SMS Pro's handling of MSMS: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/17393356/go-sms-pro-overriding-android-provider-telephony-sms-received
How is my data kept safe?
At VirtueNet we're all about your mobile privacy, security and safety, so keeping your personal data safe is top priority for us. We have implemented extensive security policies, rules and technical measures to keep your data safe, including storing information on secure servers. We limit the information that our employees have access to and they are contractually obliged to protect and respect the confidentiality of your information. And naturally, we never pass on your details to third parties. All credit card transactions are handled by leading payment gateway PayFast.
How to ensure you are on the right version of VirtueNet MobileProtect?
It's important that the device you are protecting is running the latest version of VirtueNet MobileProtect. Please visit the app store on the device and update the application if necessary.
Android users: you can enable automatic updating via the app store, which will save you from having to get the phone from your child to ensure that VirtueNet MobileProtect is up to date.
How long does it take for settings changed in the dashboard to apply to the handset app?
When you make changes to security settings in the dashboard, they are applied to the handset at the next sync (generally between 10 and 30 minutes). You can change the frequency of the sync on your phone preferences page. Alternatively you can manually sync the handset by opening the app on the phone, entering the password, and choosing sync from the option menu.
How much data does the VirtueNet MobileProtect app use?
Not very much at all. Because all of the processing takes place on the internet, the app itself needs very little data to run. In addition, it is designed to switch seamlessly to use wi-fi when available, which further reduces the amount of mobile data it uses.
However, because VirtueNet MobileProtect does require an active data connection to work, you or your child do need to have airtime on your phone at all times. Data pricing differs from mobile operator to operator, but it's usually cheaper to buy a data bundle than use data adhoc, both on a contract and with a pre-paid account.
If your child runs out of airtime, you will receive an alert that VirtueNet MobileProtect is unable to sync with your child's phone, warning you that you child is not protected by the service until they top up their account.
Can the task manager be used to close VirtueNet MobileProtect?
In some instances, on certain Android devices, we have seen that this is possible. We are investigating how to prevent this, but in the meantime, if you suspect your child is disabling VirtueNet MobileProtect in this way, please block the task manager via the application blocker functionality.
Can other apps interfere with VirtueNet MobileProtect?
Yes. Apps that prolong battery life can interfere with VirtueNet MobileProtect by either preventing a process from starting up or by limiting data access, which will interfere with synching and the running of VirtueNet MobileProtect.
You also get apps that are built specifically to block other applications from running. These can potentially override VirtueNet MobileProtect.
If you suspect this is why VirtueNet MobileProtect isn't synching or working as it should, you can block these apps via the applications security settings menu.
A number not in the blacklist is being blocked
If a number that you haven't blacklisted is being blocked by VirtueNet MobileProtect, please check to see if you have blocked calls or messages to and from numbers that aren't in the address book. You can check this in your message and call security settings on your VirtueNet MobileProtect dashboard. If this is the case, you either need to add the number to the address book, or to change the setting blocking numbers not in the address book.
If this isn't the case, please open a support ticket and include the details of the problem. A member of the VirtueNet support team will respond to your query.
Why has VirtueNet MobileProtect stopped synching?
If you notice that VirtueNet MobileProtect has stopped synching please check the following:
• Have I got the latest version of the app installed?
• Have I changed the PIN to prevent the app from being uninstalled or disabled?
• Is the device online either via wifi or mobile data?
• Could another app be conflicting with VirtueNet MobileProtect?
Not all website URLs are logged through the Safe Browser
We have noticed that Facebook links when signed in do not alter the main URL but rather redirect parts of the frames associated with the view rather than the entire page. Thus new check URL tasks are not performed. It seems to only be the case with embedded links.
Unfortunately there is not a simple way to solve this sort of blocking the web and doing a recursive check on every single element without severely impacting the browser performance having to wait long times to check all individual elements.