4 ways users try to get around web filters

Blocking websites may be a security necessity for IT, but that doesn’t mean employees will understand. And they may go pretty far to try and get around your controls.

While most experts don’t recommend taking a heavy-handed approach to social networks and similar sites, there are some parts of the web that just have no place at work, such as gambling and porn sites. Many companies block those sites without complaint.

But here are the top four ways some tech-savvy employees will try to get to those locations anyway:

  1. Entering the IP address instead of the URL — Some filters work by simply blacklisting certain URLs. A better approach is to use a filter that analyzes content rather than address. That also solves the problem of blocking only the malicious items that can show up on otherwise legitimate sites.
  2. Finding a cached version of the page hosted by another site — Google, for example, stores caches of web pages. Again, this problem can be solved by using content-based filtering.
  3. Using a proxy server — You can fix this by blocking proxy connections with a firewall.
  4. Browsing with smartphones and other personal devices — It’s a good idea to keep employees’ personal gadgets from connecting to the company network through WiFi. Beyond that, the use of smartphones to browse inappropriate sites is a behavior that should be dealt with by management.