What is a Web Page Filter?

A web page filter is a key element of an online security strategy. It prevents network users visiting web pages harboring malware and ransomware, and those created with the sole purpose of executing a phishing attack. It has mechanisms to block botnets, spyware and adware, and to deny access to unsafe web applications or downloads with the file types most commonly associated with malware.

A web page filter can also be used to police acceptable use policies. It can be configured to control the online activities of network users, which – in a commercial environment – can have significant financial benefits for businesses. The implementation of a web page filter can also help create a family-friendly browsing environment in many different use cases.

Protect your Network against Malware, Ransomware and Phishing

As soon as your implement a web page filter, it begins protecting your network against malware, ransomware and phishing. Each time a network user types a URL into their browser bar or clicks on a link, the filter checks the request to visit the web page against blacklists of web pages known to harbor malware. These blacklists are updated in real time as threats are identified.

Protection against ransomware and phishing is provided by SURBL and URIBL filters. These check each request against databases of IP addresses from which spam email is known to have originated. Spammers often use the same IP addresses to send phishing emails and host web pages constructed to execute phishing attacks. Critically, many of these web pages are encrypted.

To resolve the potential issue of a network user visiting an encrypted web page harboring malware or waiting to execute a phishing attack, it is important that web page filters have HTTPS filtering. This feature decrypts encrypted web pages and scans them for malware before allowing networks users to access them. More than half of the world´s most visited web pages are encrypted.

How a Web Page Filter Polices Acceptable Use Policies

Most networks providing an Internet service have an acceptable use policy that advises network users on the acceptable ways in which the Internet service can be used. However, acceptable use policies are often hard to police and enforce. With a web page filter, the policing of acceptable use policies is done automatically once the policies have been set on the filter´s administrative portal.

Network administrators have complete authority over what online activities network users can engage in, and can block access to web pages according to the nature of their content, by keyword or by bandwidth. Different policies can be applied to different network users or groups of network users if required, and online activities can be monitored in real time the administrative portal.

Once a policy is set, only an administrator can override it or amend it. It is also possible to create exemptions from the policies by using the whitelisting facility, but this is a facility that should be used with discretion, as whitelisting a website means that it bypasses the mechanisms that check its content for malware and links to phishing websites.

The Commercial Benefits of Filtering the Internet

There are numerous commercial benefits of filtering the Internet – the biggest of which is mitigating the risk of a malware infection. Malware infections, particularly ransomware, can cause significant losses for businesses – not only in terms of money, but also in terms of data and goodwill. Due to the high cost of recovering from an infection, some businesses have collapsed after their networks were infected.

A more tangible benefit of filtering the Internet is increased productivity. It is estimated that businesses lose trillions of dollars in lost productivity each year due to employees engaging in non-work related online activities. By limiting access to pornography, online shopping and sports websites with a web page filter, businesses will see a significant uptick in the productivity of its workforce.

Businesses that provide a wireless Internet service to guests, customers and visitors can monitor their online activities via the administrative portal or pull reports to review historic activity. Using this data, businesses can create marketing campaigns aimed at their customers´ specific interests to achieve a higher rate of returning customers.

Take a Free Trial of a WebTitan Web Page Filter

SpamTitan has been developing online security tools since 1999. The SpamTitan range of tools for filtering the Internet is WebTitan – a powerful defense against web-borne threats with industry-leading versatility for the easy application of acceptable use policies. There is a choice of three WebTitan web page filters, suitable for all types of network:

  • WebTitan Gateway is the web page filter most suitable for large, fixed networks. Installed as a virtual appliance behind the firewall, WebTitan Gateway can protect a network with thousands of users and be easily integrated with Active Directory for accelerated policy setting.
  • WebTitan Cloud is an ideal solution for network administrators looking for a “set and forget” web page filter. Implemented by redirecting the network´s DNS server settings, WebTitan Cloud is the ultimate low-maintenance solution to Internet filtering.
  • WebTitan Cloud for WiFi protects both wireless networks and the devices that connect to them. Also a cloud-based solution, WebTitan Cloud for WiFi provides a filtered web service with imperceptible latency for all sizes of WiFi networks.

If you would like to take a free trial of a WebTitan web page filter, you are invited to contact us. After discussing your existing network type, our team of Sales Technicians will explain more about the free trial, guide you through the registration process, and answer any questions you have about implementing your WebTitan filter and configuring its settings to meet your exact requirements.

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