Websense introduces URL categories and social web controls

Websense introduced URL categories and social web controls that enable IT managers to better regulate specific employee actions, reduce exposure to dangerous data-stealing attacks and command-and-control call-home traffic, while preserving bandwidth.

These features are available in the company’s TRITON solution, which offers complementary web security, email security, and data loss prevention.

By instantly analyzing and classifying URLs in these five new categories, which expand on the existing 100 categories, IT can regulate access to sites that introduce security threats or consume too much bandwidth by allowing access, setting time quotas, or blocking them:

Dynamic DNS category – These sites frequently mask their identity using Dynamic DNS services and are often associated with advanced attacks for call-home botnets and command-and-control traffic. With the Websense “continue” policy, users have the option to advance to Dynamic DNS sites by clicking on a “continue” button. Because botnets and call-home requests are unable to perform this function, Websense provides a balance between allowing or denying this new category while increasing security protection.

Viral video category – Besides being huge bandwidth hogs, these sites are often used as a conduit for socially engineered lures to malware. This includes websites that host videos with high or rapidly rising popularity. Websense monitoring and reporting features give IT perspectives on the impact of viral videos. They can help IT determine if blocking viral videos during business hours or bandwidth controls are required.

Surveillance URL category – These websites provide real-time monitoring via webcams and other video devices. While increasingly popular among working parents, constant use can consume huge bandwidth. So time quotas can be a good compromise because they allow employees to check on their children or parents, but don’t leave a constant video stream running all day.

Entertainment video category – These websites host videos with entertainment content and are another good candidate for time quota policies. Entertainment videos are also prime targets for cybercriminals because they are just so darn appealing. It’s critical that real-time web security gateway defenses are deployed so that web threats like this are blocked.

Educational video category – These websites host videos that are focused on academic or instructional content. They are often considered beneficial and are allowed by many organizations.

Websense’s new social web controls cover more than 30 different actions on popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. For example, an employee on Facebook might be permitted to add friends, but not upload photos or videos. Or they may be permitted read-only access, where they can check the status of friends, but not post anything. IT can also gauge employee morale within departments by monitoring job searches within LinkedIn, or dictate which employees can send tweets within Twitter.

Starting today, IT administrators can use the unified TRITON management console to monitor and set richer policy controls to regulate employee actions on social websites. Policies include allowing access, a “continue” button, time quotas, or blocking unique functions. For example, Facebook has more than 10 unique functions designed to provide added monitoring and policy control. The new granular social web controls will continue to be updated regularly for new applications with global and regional popularity.