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Proxy enables companies to block inappropriate content

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June 7, 2004

Blue Coat Systems' Proxy SG™ appliances safeguard organisations from a web back door that allows employees to search and view pornographic images over the Internet, using corporate computers. The back door allows employees using a Google or Yahoo image search to view pornographic content, even when URL filtering is deployed.

Users accessing the popular Google and Yahoo! web sites can conduct image searches to view millions of indexed images, including inappropriate pornographic photos.

URL filtering alone cannot block these pornographic images in the enterprise, and still allow users to benefit from productive, business-related searches. URL filtering classifies web sites into categories to permit or deny access, which is good, but does not list the search results as part of the classification.

Users can enable a "SafeSearch" preference through Google or Yahoo! ranging from "strict filtering", which filters out obscene content from an image search, to "no filtering" which may return inappropriate content and images. In either case, this is a voluntary user option that can easily be turned on or off by an employee, and may conflict with an organisation's established acceptable use policy.

"Allowing our employees to access search sites is a necessary function of our business, but when inappropriate material is accessed through those same sites, our business is put at an unnecessary risk," said Brad Hillebrand, manager of enterprise technology for Fellowes, which manufactures a wide-range of technology accessory solutions for today's workspaces.

"We plan to leverage our Blue Coat ProxySG appliance to enforce the 'SafeSearch' capability so employees can continue to benefit from searching the web for appropriate, business-related content."

Blue Coat proxy appliances enable organisations to block inappropriate images while still allowing employees to use popular Google and Yahoo! search engines for business-related web searches.

The proxy appliance acts as a "middle man" to apply policies to Web communications between users on the network and the Internet. Using Blue Coat's ProxySG appliance, a security administrator can set a simple policy to rewrite any request for an image search to enforce a Google or Yahoo! "SafeSearch." The search requests will then use strict filtering to filter out inappropriate content in the search response - regardless of what users have set at the desktop.

"URL filtering is necessary, but not sufficient to block adult content in the workplace," said Nigel Hawthorn, European marketing director for Blue Coat. "The combination of URL filtering running on Blue Coat's proxy appliance provides the best solution for closing web back doors for inappropriate content in the workplace."

Source: IT World Canada

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