This page describes content filtering solutions, for spam filtering, see Spam Filtering.
For more general discussion of network optimization, see Internet & Network Bandwidth & Monitoring & QOS
Products/Vendors for Enterprise Level Inappropriate Web Content Filtering
Retrieved 2/11 from ISED-L list serve, S-A, A, N-C CC3.0 license
- Covenant Eyes - They have two products, an internet filter and an internet accountability monitor. I believe the filter is best for pre-teens, while the accountability monitor is best for teens. Jason H.
- 8e6 - We use 8e6 and love it. Filtering is easy to modify and the system pretty much runs itself. It does authentication via LDAP, so you can pretty much use any directory structure (eDirectory, AD, etc.). This allows us to create groups, which means we can allow some groups more access than others. It's also very good at blocking anonymous proxies, performing a deep packet inspection instead of just using a database of known sites. Another benefit is that it's not an in-line solution, but instead uses port mirroring. This is great because if the device dies, the Internet connection doesn't go with it. This method also means that it's nice and quick. If you purchase the appliance, you will get free phone support from an engineer until the device is set up properly and the authentication is working.
- Websense Enterprise
- iPrism made by St. Bernard [www.stbernard.com]. While the reports it produces are not user-friendly, it is still an excellent product and we've been very happy with it. There are several valuable features such as allowing teachers to override a block. Being able to override a block for one student, the entire class or just the particular computer during a class' use of the internet. It isn't perfect but it is worth a look.
- SecureComputing SmartFilter
- Barracuda -- in addition to email spam filtering, it also does content filtering.
- Netsentron ( www.netsentron.com ) has the URL blocking, keyword blocking and a context sensitive filter. It also has layer seven packet filtering for P2P etc. with traffic and activity report all through a browser interface. Is also a firewall, VPN/remote access device and network management tool.
- Fortinet We have been using Fortinet firewall appliance for more than 3 years, together with FortiGuard Security Subscription Services. It provides continuous, automatic updates for antivirus/antimalware, intrusion prevention, Web filtering, antispam functionality, VPN/remote access, network management tool, URL-filtering, IM and P2P screening. The administration console is very convenient. We can set any combination of filtering rules we need. We have the network segmented to be able to easily have different policies in each case, free or block sites or categories on a time/room basis, etc.
- Light Speed Systems Similar product offerings to Barracuda including web filtering, bandwidth management, and email archiving.
- LightSpeed TTC We are currently using TTC. We have had some growing pains going from Enterprise level web and spam filtering due to less granular controls. But overall we are happy with the product. It seems to be more aggressive in filtering certain categories than Websense and has features to ensure that students cannot use proxies.
Open Source Offerings
Content Filtering for Home or Individual Users
- I have several recommendations on our web site, ChildrenOnline.org. But quickly.... For PC Users there are the old standards "CyberPatrol" and "Cyber Sitter". Lately a newer product, Safe Eyes, has been getting good reviews. For Mac users there is Bumper Car and Content Barrier. [Caution parents NOT to purchase Safe Eyes for the Mac]. Each products has its strengths but one thing is certain. Any one of these products will help parents to parent their children's internet activity when they cannot be over their shoulders watching at all times. None of the products are perfect and none of them take the place of regular discussions about a child's life online and ethics in the context of their online world.
- In the next MacOS release there is a built in filter which can be overridden once or always as needed. It is able to use banned list locally or ones provided by Apple.
- Windows Vista includes some parental controls
- NetSentron now has a small form factor model for home use. It can be bought outright or rented.
Excerpts from ISED archive:
Filtering: Spam - Barracuda Networks. Content - Marshal 8e6. IDS - DeepNines. Application Control - Impulse Safeware (NAC). General Firewall - Fortinet. This combination of products works well. I can regulate client bandwidth and connectivity based on the services I allow. We use the DeepNines box as an IDS, Filter and throttle bandwidth. Our students are set at 200kbs, while faculty get 1mb .
If you're looking for a single good multi-function "filter", I recommend DeepNines.
We are currently using a SonicWall for firewall and VPN. Because of the cost of adding features to the SonicWall I am trial testing a Cymphonix box to provide Gateway AV, Spyware blocking, proxy, content filter, and usage reporting. We use a Barracuda for spam filtering and mail AV. The trio has a higher initial cost, but lower yearly maintenance than if I tried to load up any one of these boxes to do the job of all three and they each do what they are (in my opinion) best in class at. -Jason Johnson, Technology Coordinator -- The Lowell School
To filter unwanted spam and inappropriate e-mail we are using McAfee's Spam Killer plug-in for GroupShield for Exchange. -Karl Haeseler, Director of Educational Technology, Convent of the Sacred Heart
We use MS ISA Server as our front-end. It offers comprehensive blocking by file type as well as by URL. Block lists can be added. Individual students can be denied Internet access if need be. -Peter Vogel, Vancouver BC
Recently, we tested the Cymphonix, Marshall8e6, and the iPrism web filters. We decided on the Cymphonix in the end, but it was close between the Marshall8e6 and the Cymphonix. In the end, it mostly came down to the fact that I found the web interface for the Cymphonix to be miles ahead of the interface for the Marshall8e6. We also found that the Cymphonix had better settings for filter and shaping. -St. John's Preparatory School
I am replacing my 8e6 R3000 with a Content Protect box. I find that the 8e6 reporting to be so-so and the yearly maint. cost more than the CP box. The CP box will also do virus/spyware protection and QoS, things that the 8e6 does not do. -Harpeth Hall School
Also see: Firewalls
http://www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/cip/filterlaws.htm Provides a summary of CIPA and state laws in regard to filtering