In many states there is a legal requirement to implement a library Internet filter or have a policy in place stipulating how the library´s Internet service can be used. It may also be the case that libraries will qualify for E-rate discounts and LSTA grants by implementing a “technology protection measure” to restrict access to material that may be inappropriate or harmful to children.
However, one of the best reasons to filter Internet content in a library is to protect the library, its users and their devices from malware while browsing the web. Malware – particularly ransomware – can cripple a library´s network, while library users can be victims of phishing attacks if access to phishing websites is not prevented by a library Internet filter.
How a Library Internet Filter Protects against Malware
A library Internet filter uses a series of mechanisms to protect against malware. These typically include blacklists of websites known to harbor malware, URIBL filters and SURBL filters. The purpose of URIBL filters is to prevent users visiting websites whose owners´ identities are concealed behind a proxy server or the whois privacy feature.
SURBL filters perform an important role in protecting individual privacy by preventing users visiting websites that share their IP addresses with known sources of spam emails. These websites have often been set up with the sole purpose of executing a phishing attack, and network users are guided to them by sophisticated spam emails that appear legitimate to spam email filters.
A filter with SSL inspection also decrypts the content of encrypted websites so it can be scanned by antivirus software. This process has become more important in recent years as the number of encrypted websites has increased, and hackers have created fake SSL certificates so their malware-laden websites avoid detection by older filters without SSL inspection.
Enforce User Policies with the Click of a Mouse
Modern library Internet filters are usually software or cloud-based solutions that are managed via a web-based centralized administration portal. From the portal´s user-friendly interface, network administrators can monitor real-time browsing activity, review historical browsing activity and apply user policies with the click of a mouse.
The policies can be network-wide, applicable to certain groups of users (i.e. one policy for adults and another for children) or applied by individual user. To reduce the workload for network administrators, whitelisting facilities exist to allow policy exclusions for specific websites, rather than create a new policy for one user. Cloud keys also exist to override the policies when required.
It is also possible to enforce user policies by keyword, by time, or by bandwidth. These functions mean a network administrator can block access to specific types of online content without blocking access to the entire category it falls into. It can also be set to block access to specific types of online content during certain times of the day or according to how much bandwidth they use.
Library Internet Filters are Easy to Implement. Try One for Free.
Library Internet filters can easily be implemented to protect a wired network or wireless network if a WiFi service is provided. Either they involve a quick software installation or a simple redirection of the network´s DNS server to implement a cloud-based filter. Thereafter the mechanisms that protect library networks and their users are updated by the service provider.
If you are a network administrator in a library, and you would like to see how easy it is to implement and manage a library Internet filter, we invite you to get in touch and request a free trial of our WebTitan filters. WebTitan filters offer enterprise-class protection against malware, ransomware and phishing, and incredible versatility for setting and enforcing user policies.
To find out more about our free trial offer, and the deployment options available to you, do not hesitate to contact us today. Our team of Sales Technicians will be happy to answer any questions you have, will guide you through the registration process to start you free trial, and will be on hand throughout the trial to help you find the optimum settings for your library Internet filter.