Internet filtering issues

Internet filtering issues


Written by John Case
Tuesday, 08 November 2005
I have been quite surprised at the lengths that some students will go to just to have their Internet surfing not be filtered. We have been using NetIQ WebMarshal for the last several years, and have been happy.Over the last couple of weeks, the students have figured out how to get around WebMarshal. The other problem is that WebMarshal does not use blacklists, it has a very nice feature that scans the actual content of the web page as it’s being downloaded. If you import very large blacklists such as www.urlblacklist.com, performance suffers.So we decided to take WebMarshal out of the network temporarily, and replace it with IPCop. IPCop has worked pretty good but our blacklist has caused problems by blocking sites that should be allowed. We have also noticed that if you logout of the IPCop console, all Internet activity stops. So after this experience, I think that you get what you pay for.As you probably know, there are literally hundreds of Internet content filtering solutions out there just waiting to rip off a school district. Many of these solutions are packaged as network appliances that handle everything except make my morning coffee. The problem isn’t that fact that these appliances typically cost several thousand dollars. The problem that I have is that these companies are charging $6000 to $10,000 per year to provide you with current blacklists.Some of these companies advertise that their blacklists are human verified. Can you imagine the advertisement:

Wanted: Dependable, hard worker to surf for pornography, download music files, and try to find online games. Pay is commensurate with experience.

If anybody knows of any reasonably priced web filtering packages that have been working good for you, please feel free to email me at john@jtmcase(dotcom).

Thanks!

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