Wavecrest’s RealTimePlus Filtering

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

RealTimePlus is our customer-configurable three-layer filtering process. It uses three layers of screening based on: (1) custom categories, (2) the Wavecrest categorization (control) list and (3) a real-time deep packet analysis process.

1. Custom Categories (the “First Layer”). ‘Custom categories’ supplement the standard categories. This enables you to better identify and control your users’ Web activity.   For example, you can create a custom category to:

  • Serve as a “white list” that contains all sites to which visits are allowed (while blocking all others).
  • Track and possibly block access to ‘standard’ sites that are not in the Wavecrest URL List but are of special local interest or concern.
  • Serve as a “black list” that contains all sites to be blocked (while allowing access to all others).
  • Track (but not block) visits to internal servers (intranet sites) and/or partner sites.

You can add custom categories at the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Custom Categories screen. Then use the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Edit URLs screen to add sites into your custom categories.

2. The Wavecrest URL List (the “Second Layer”). To accurately identify and categorize the vast majority of visits, Wavecrest products use a large, mature categorization control list.  This ‘control’ list consists of 69 ‘standard’ content-identification categories that is updated daily with URLs from around the world.  We recommend that you download the list daily to get the best filtering and monitoring coverage.   You can setup an automatic daily download of the list at the Administration – URL List – Schedule screen.

Another great customization feature with the control list is that you can add and move URLs in the standard categories.  For example, if you use Twitter as a Marketing tool but want to continue to block all other social networking sites, you can simply add www.twitter.com to the Marketing category.  You can make this change at the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Edit URLs screen.

Finally, set your block/allow policies for your custom categories and standard categories at the Advanced Settings – Filtering Settings – Block Web Categories screen.

3. Deep Packet Analysis (the “Third Layer”). Using real-time ‘deep packet analysis,’ CyBlock can determine if the content of a URL is Flash, video streaming, audio streaming, images, Active X and more.  Any or all of these could be considered “inappropriate” and can be blocked.  You can also add your own extensions to be blocked.  You can block these types of content or add your own at the Advanced Settings – Filter Settings – Block Web Content screen.

Other Features

1. Hourly Blocking. You can block or allow categories at specific hours during the day.  For example, you may want to allow access to some categories during the lunch hour. You can set these hourly policies by clicking on the clock icon at the Block Web Categories screen.

2. Customizable Blocking Message. CyBlock comes with a standard blocking message, but you can configure the product to point to your own Web policy or personalized blocking message.  You can set this custom message at the Advanced Settings – Filter Settings – Web Blocking Message screen.

Blocking Unusual Facebook Site Variations

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Facebook has set up their site so that if a user types “www.www.facebook.com”, they will be able to access it through any Web filtering proxy blocking www.facebook.com.  Users can even type in variations, such as “www.www.www.facebook.com” or “hello.www.www.facebook.com” to get access to Facebook.

If users are accessing Facebook by using one of these many variations, it will not show up in reports under the category of Social Networking.  Instead, the URL is categorized as “Other” and is displayed this way in reports.

For now, to prevent users from accessing the site using these variations and to categorize these variations as Social Networking, you need to add the URL as a wildcard to the Social Networking category. To do this, follow the below instructions.

  1. Go to Advanced Settings – Category Setup and click on the Edit URLs link.
  2. Use the Select Category pulldown and select Social Networking.
  3. In the text entry area for Custom URLs, type in the wild card URL *.facebook.com.  If you want to block any time the term facebook shows up in a URL, type in the wild card *.facebook.*

The Wavecrest Development Team is currently looking into alternatives to better handle these types of site variations within the Wavecrest Control List while maintaining speed and scalability in our products.