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Web Filter Appliance Adds Feature To Protect Against Proxy Abuse

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School Guardian, a Web filter appliance that helps schools monitor students online for prohibited and illicit activity, has added a feature to help prevent proxy abuse, a growing problem among school-aged Web surfers.

In its latest version, the solution, created by Internet security firm SmoothWall, offers a feature known as SSL Interception, which prevents student users from successfully using "proxy anonymizers" such as Ultrasurf and Vtunnel. These sites allow users to engage in online activities "anonymously," so that sites they visit and Web filters that monitor their activity will not know the Web address where the activity originates.

The current standard for blocking access such sites is to use "SSL certificate checking," which confirms the validity of a site's electronic certificate. However, advances in Web security technology have sparked corresponding advances in methods to undermine such technology, and today site content can be encrypted against filters, and obtaining an electronic certificate is easier than ever.

"Proxy abuse is the single biggest problem facing school security right now and the only reliable way to stop it is to perform SSL interception," said SmoothWall Product Manager Tom Newton.

SSL Interception allows content decryption, giving Web activity monitors the opportunity to inspect sites accessed using SSL proxies for unacceptable content and efforts to install viruses and malware (programs designed to make computers function improperly) on school networks.

The upgrade also offers such features as customized search term blocking and more sophisticated activity reporting.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.

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