Despite the volume of web-borne threats such as malware, ransomware and phishing, some people still query the need to use software to block websites. It is quite possible their perception of software to block websites dates back to the early days of Internet filtering, when – admittedly – hardware-based Internet filters were difficult to manage and often incorrectly configured as a result.
However, Internet filtering solutions have evolved significantly over the past few years. Virtual filters and cloud-based filters have replaced the individual device filters of a decade ago, and the solutions are more versatile than before. Software to block websites is now extremely low maintenance and effective – preventing millions of viruses reaching millions of networks every year.
There are also commercial advantages of software to block websites. As Starbucks and McDonalds have proven, implementing Internet filtering solutions to create a family-friendly browsing environment can attract trade. Businesses can eliminate “cyber-slacking” in order to improve productivity, and also avoid HR issues by blocking access to inappropriate or offensive online material.
How Software to Block Websites Protect Networks
The mechanisms that help protect networks from web-borne threats consist of blacklists, SURBL phishing protection software, malicious URL detection software and anti-virus software. These mechanisms block requests to visit websites known to harbor malware, websites that hide their true identity behind proxy servers, and websites set up for the purpose of executing phishing attacks.
One further mechanism – SSL inspection – checks the content of encrypted websites for the presence of malware or any content that contravenes acceptable use policies. Sadly the https prefix of encrypted websites and the padlock symbol are no longer a signs that a website is secure. Many encrypted websites have been constructed to deploy malware payloads on unprotected networks.
Every threat identified and blocked is recorded on a management portal. Network managers can pull reports from the portal to identify who has been trying to access unsafe websites or to identify gaps in the software´s configuration – for example, allowing users to access anonymizer web services or allowing Internet traffic to pass through non-standard ports.
How to Control Network User Access to Online Content
Whereas network managers have little control over the mechanisms that help protect networks from web-borne threats, they have complete discretion over the online content network users can access. Online content access is controlled via a series of category filters (pornography, online gambling, P2P file sharing, etc.) keyword filters and bandwidth filters that can be applied with the click of a mouse.
Each of these filters can be applied to individual users, user groups or network-wide depending on the requirements of the business. Different filtering parameters can be applied to different user groups simultaneously or at different times – providing versatile control of network user Internet access without blocking access to business-critical websites or web applications.
For further fine-tuning of the filtering parameters, network managers can whitelist trusted websites or web applications. This feature allows the whitelisted website or application to bypass the filtering mechanisms but should be used in moderation in case trusted websites or applications are hacked and used as vehicles to deploy malware payloads.
WebTitan Internet Filtering Solutions from SpamTitan
WebTitan is a range of advanced Internet filtering solutions from SpamTitan that has been specifically designed for ease of use. Each WebTitan solution has the necessary tools to protect networks and control network user access to online content – driven by our versatile software to block websites and managed from a single, web-based portal with a user-friendly interface.
All software updates – including the categorization of recently-published web pages – is performed automatically, our software to block websites has automatic back-up and restore functionality, and each WebTitan solution integrates seamlessly with directory tools such as Active Directory for the accelerated application of acceptable use policies.
WebTitan has 53 preconfigured category options plus a further 10 customizable options. It blocks access to websites in more than 200 languages and can also block file types by file extension. Network managers can create multiple administrative roles and take advantage of a policy violation alert system for quick and effective warnings of attempts to bypass the filtering parameters.
Try Our WebTitan Software to Block Websites for Free
If you are concerned about your exposure to malware and ransomware, would like to mitigate the risk from phishing, or wish to control network user Internet access, you are invited to contact us and speak with our helpful team. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you have about software to block websites and will invite you to take advantage of a free trial of our WebTitan solutions.
Our software to block websites comes with a choice of deployment options – as a virtual gateway installed behind your firewall, as a cloud-based DNS solution, or as a cloud-based solution for wireless networks and businesses operating BYOD policies. Each solution is universally compatible and scalable to 60,000 users. To find out more about your options, do not hesitate to contact us today.