Web filtering is a technology that stops users from viewing certain URLs or websites by preventing their browsers from loading pages from these sites. Web filters are made in different ways and deliver various solutions for individual, family, institutional or enterprise use.
In general, Web filters work in two distinct ways. They can block content as determined by quality of the site, by consulting known lists which document and categorize popular pages across all genres of content. Or, they can evaluate the content of the page live and block it accordingly. Many Web filter tools work off of a constantly updated URL database that shows which websites and domains are associated with hosting malware, phishing, viruses or other tools for harmful activities.
Web Filtering Types. Blacklist & Whitelist Filters:when using blacklists, an administrator (which might be a parent) manually enters all websites that are deemed inappropriate into the program, and those sites are subsequently blocked. Whitelists are used in exactly the same way, only in reverse – i.e. URLs are manually entered onto a whitelist, and all other websites are then off-limits.
Keyword And Content Filters: this type of filtering is in many ways similar to black and whitelist filtering, though with a slightly broader scope. Keyword and content filters will filter out websites that contain specific keywords or predefined content (such as pornography, for example).
Some website filtering software also provides reporting so that the installer can see what kind of traffic is being filtered and who has requested it. Some products provide soft blocking (in which a warning page is sent to the user instead of the requested page while still allowing access to the page) and an override capability that allows an administrator to unlock a page.
Web Filtering Software for Business. Most organizations have moved to cloud based-applications, making browsers a tool that employees use on a daily basis to access work. Browsers have become a conduit to not only the cloud, but also to immeasurable malware and distractions hosted on the web. In order to ensure that browsers do not bring in malicious traffic, web filtering software becomes necessary.
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F.A.Q about Web filtering
What is Enterprise Web Filtering Software?
Antivirus and antimalware software are required to detect malicious programs that has been downloaded, but it is now important for enterprise web filtering software to be installed. Content filtering software is an invaluable protection against a wide range of web-borne threats. Rather than allowing malware and ransomware to be downloaded, it prevents end users from visiting websites that contain these malicious threats.
Internet filtering software is also one of the most effective ways to neutralize the threat from phishing. Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive user information. Phishers trick end users into revealing login credentials or downloading malicious software onto their computers.
Phishing involves sophisticated social engineering techniques to fool end users into visiting malicious websites. If employees can be convinced to reveal sensitive information or download ransomware or malware, cybercriminals can easily bypass even the most sophisticated of cybersecurity defenses.
What is URL Filtering?
URL filtering is a type of network filtering software that helps businesses control their users’ and guests’ ability to access certain content on the web. If you’ve ever gotten a “block” page while surfing the internet at the office, then your company is using web filtering.
Some employers may only be concerned about blocking access to websites that are known to spread malware or steal information. Other businesses may block content they find inappropriate, such as adult websites or sites that promote violence, or content that violates compliance regulations. They may also choose to activate web protection software to block social media or video streaming sites to minimize drains on productivity and network bandwidth.
Typically, URL filtering software is provided by a cybersecurity service, firewall, or router. Each of these may use a variety of threat intelligence sources to determine which websites fit into their chosen acceptable and unacceptable categories. That’s where highly reliable web reputation services are most valuable. Sources that have extensive web histories and real-time active crawling services will provide the most accurate content determinations.