Web filtering specialist Bloxx has released a new version of its filtering appliance, which it is touting as a "third generation solution" that offers more protection against encrypted anonymous proxies and no longer relies exclusively on databases for website URLs to block.
Version 5 of Bloxx's Tru-View Technology (TVT) web filtering appliance claims to be able to identify and block, in real-time, the vast majority of encrypted anonymous proxies, which are a major headache for IT mangers and system administrators. Essentially, encrypted anonymous proxies allow someone to surf inappropriate websites without worrying that their IP address is being recorded or tracked.
Bloxx's TVT appliance also includes the Internet Watch Foundation's database feed of illegal websites. This list names the websites hosting child abuse, as well as other websites that are criminally obscene and those inciting racial hatred.
"We are continually developing the capability of our web filtering appliance and these latest enhancements will allow IT managers to address emerging threats, especially encrypted anonymous proxies," said Bloxx CEO, Eamonn Doyle in a statement "These enhancements deliver additional benefits to ensure that IT managers are able to spend significantly less time managing web filtering."
At first glance the Bloxx appliance may appear more suited to the education, rather than the enterprise sector. But Bloxx told Techworld via email that "the appliance is suitable for enterprise use in public and private sectors, and education.
"We have customers across all market segments and currently over 1.5 million users are filtered using Bloxx appliances," said the company. "Whilst the problem of anonymous proxies is a bigger problem in education, our annual research on this identified that this is also now a growing concern for enterprise IT managers."
Besides offering protection from encrypted anonymous proxies, the updated appliance has also beefed up its monitoring and reporting capabilities. Every appliance now includes 120 different types of reports on Internet activity, as well as quick reports (usually the most frequently accessed by IT managers) to give instant 'informative reports.'
The monitoring aspect has been boosted by a dashboard that provides an insight into the internet activity of an organisation, as well as in-depth statistical information regarding sites that have been blocked or allowed.
Bloxx is touting its updated appliance as a 'third generation' web content filtering solution. It says it went "back to the drawing board" for version 5.
The problem, according to Bloxx, is that first and second-generation web filters rely exclusively on URL databases and keywords to control user access, and consequently only offer "limited protection and can't cope with the web's continual growth and dynamic nature."
The company feels that other limitations with URL databases, such as that they require manual URL categorisation using humans, which is "slow and inconsistent, and prone to categorisation errors," is also an issue. TVT automatically categorises and filters web pages - even if no one has seen the content before, unlike "second or first generation" web filters that use manual URL classification.
TVT essentially uses advanced contextual analysis software to identify and categorise web pages. The software apparently looks at the frequency, context, relationship and patterns of words on the page and the underlying HTML code to determine which of the 50 Bloxx categories the page should be classified as.
This is done in real-time at the point the page is requested by the user and before it is presented or denied to the user. For example, TVT can accurately distinguish between an adult content web page, i.e. porn and a site about sexual health, even though the language used across both sites will be very similar.
UK pricing for the entry level appliance, the TVT-100, starts from £2,300 ($3,370).