Children must be protected from inappropriate website content, but why should a web content WiFi filter for universities be implemented? Universities are not frequented by minors, and content filtering appears to go against the principles of academic freedom. So why would – or should – a university choose to filter website content?
While the general public may be surprised to hear that higher education establishments restrict access to certain parts of the Internet, there are very important reasons for doing so. This article covers some of the benefits of a web content WiFi filter for universities, and of using web filtering in general to restrict access to certain categories of website content.
A Web Content WiFi Filter for Universities is an Important Element of Cybersecurity Defenses
Cybercriminals have previously concentrated their attacks on the financial, healthcare and retail industries. Financial data such as banking information and credit card numbers can be used to commit fraud. There is a thriving market for stolen credentials in hacking communities and darknet marketplaces. However, in recent years, hackers have focused attacks on educational institutions and those attacks have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal data of students is extremely valuable and can be sold for far more than credit card numbers. Names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers allow criminals to steal identities and defraud victims out of many thousands of dollars.
It is not only personal information that hackers are interested in obtaining. Universities are research institutions. Some of the discoveries now being made and products being developed have tremendous value. Universities are also researching treatments for COVID-19 and vaccines, and that information is being sought by nation state-sponsored hackers. Many private companies, individuals, and even foreign governments are keen to gain access to the information stored on university networks. Where there is money to be made from data theft, there will be no shortage of individuals willing to break through cybersecurity defenses. WiFi networks are often seen as an easy way to gain access to login credentials and to install malware on university networks.
Combating the Growing Risk of Malware and Ransomware Attacks
WiFi networks are well known as being a hotbed of nefarious activity, with cybercriminals taking advantage of poor security defenses to spy on individuals as they browse the web, access online bank accounts, view emails, or gain access to university networks. WiFi networks must be protected to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, spoofing of WiFi access points must be prevented and ARP poisoning – where information sent over the network can be intercepted or modified – must be prevented.
Content filtering cannot protect against all these threats but it is an essential part of cybersecurity defenses. A web content WiFi filter for universities is often employed to reduce the risk of malware and ransomware infections. Access to potentially harmful websites and those known to contain malware can be restricted, malicious web adverts (malvertising) can be blocked, and files frequently used to disguise malware and ransomware can be prevented from being downloaded.
The importance of improving cybersecurity defenses has been highlighted in 2021 following a spike in ransomware attacks on schools and universities. In March 2021, the FBI and DHS-CISA issued a flash alert warning that the threat group behind Pysa ransomware was actively targeting the education sector. Attacks involve the theft of highly sensitive data and widespread file encryption, with huge ransom demands issued and Pysa is not the only gang targeting the education sector.
The report warns that educational institutions have significant security gaps and that there are critical failures in the resiliency of the technology ecosystem. A web filter is an important cybersecurity measure to implement to improve resiliency.
A Web Content WiFi Filter for Universities Can Be Used to Restrict Access to Undesirable Content
Many universities have Internet access policies that prohibit the use of university computers and WiFi networks for viewing unsavory, unethical, or illegal website content. However, policies may prohibit access but they do not prevent it.
A web content WiFi filter for universities can be configured to make sure that wireless Internet access points are not abused. The Internet Watch Foundation’ Child Abuse Image Content list (CAIC) can be loaded into web filtering solutions to ensure that child pornography and images of child abuse are blocked. Many universities also choose to block sexist or racist web content, or sites that are used to propagate religious extremist views.
An Internet Content Filter for University WiFi Can Help Prevent Illegal Activity
An Internet content filter for university WiFi can be configured to prevent staff and students from engaging in illegal activities. Many individuals choose to use WiFi hotspots due to the anonymity that WiFi hotspots provide.
The Silk Road may have been shut down, but many other online marketplaces exist where individuals can purchase narcotics or buy and sell illegal services. These websites can be blocked with a WiFi filter to ensure that such activity does not take place over university WiFi networks.
An Internet content filter for university WiFi can also be used to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights by blocking P2P file sharing websites and downloads of specific file types by user groups such as students, such as software installers.
WebTitan’s Web Content WiFi Filter for Universities and Higher Education Establishments
As discussed, a web content WiFi filter for universities has many important benefits; but higher education establishments need a highly granular web filtering solution to ensure that undesirable and potentially dangerous content is filtered out, while access to important, valuable content is not restricted.
Web filtering solutions may need to be implemented organization-wide, and require multiple WiFi hotspots to be protected. Content filtering must also be cost-effective and easy to implement and maintain. WebTitan Cloud for WiFi offers all of these benefits and more, and is an ideal choice of web content WiFi filter for universities and other higher education establishments.
Universities that have already implemented a WiFi filter could benefit from a switch to WebTitan. Some WiFi filtering solutions are overly complicated and require considerable time and effort to be put into configuring and maintaining the solution and running reports. There are accomplished products that tick all the right boxes, yet are incredibly expensive. WebTitan includes all of the necessary features of these solutions, yet provides them at a much lower cost, allowing considerable cost savings to be achieved.
Saint Joseph Seminary College uses WebTitan’s intuitive UI and uncomplicated usability to manage web security and secure the college network and switched from Cisco Umbrella to WebTitan. “The entire experience with WebTitan has been terrific. From better reporting to a usable UI, we’ve gotten the visibility we need and have therefore been able to improve our security position.” - Read the full case study here.
Benefits of WebTitan Cloud for WiFi for University Content Filtering
- 100% cloud based web filtering solution
- No software installations required
- No additional hardware requirements
- Easy to follow cloud-based administration control panel
- Central control of multiple routers and WiFi hotspots
- Covers multiple locations across cities, states or even countries
- No restrictions on the number of routers or locations
- No restrictions on bandwidth, although bandwidth restrictions can be applied by the user
- Extensive reporting on network usage and traffic
- Real-time views of Internet activity
- Supports dynamic and static IP addresses
- Works with any device that joins your network
- Protects individuals on campus or accessing the Internet remotely
- No latency when browsing the Internet
- Highly granular controls allow fine tuning of content filtering
- Protection from malware, ransomware, phishing and other cyber threats
Find Out More about WebTitan Cloud for WiFi
For further information on our web content WiFi filter for universities, including pricing information, and to register for a free trial, contact us today:
US Sales +1 813 200 9460
UK/EU Sales +44 (0)247 699 3641
IRL +353 91 54 55 00
or email us at email@example.com