Do you remember the film 2001 A Space Odyssey? Back in a time where the future was usually depicted as metallic and shiny with robots taking on the drudgery of boring tasks, Stanley Kubrick conjured up a malignant computer who wasn’t at your beck and call. Hal 9000 managed the spacecraft but was not a compliant servant to the astronauts. A typical quote was:
I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
We like to consider that computers should be a help rather than a hindrance to your business. Imagine the surprise, then, that the MD of one of our service plan customers had when attempting to source corporate Christmas presents, only to find that the computer says NO!
Our frustrated customer was shopping for gift hampers, but each time he clicked on a Google result, the computer responded:
Website not allowed – category alcohol and tobacco is restricted
Fortunately we are pleased to report that our customer’s computer had not gone rogue. We had actually installed security software – with our customer’s permission – but the settings were being a little over-zealous in protecting him. A simple adjustment allowed him to continue on his perusal of Christmas fare.
Why would you want your computer to block your internet searches?
There are 2 main reasons for using this technology. The first is to prevent your staff’s access to restricted sites. You could find, for example, that your employees are tempted to visit gambling or porn sites. You can tailor which categories of website are out-of-bounds for your organisation. This is also useful for charities who care for vulnerable clients.
The second reason is linked to phishing emails. However much education you give to your team about the tell-tale signs that an email is not what it seems, malicious emails can look convincingly authentic and it can be very tempting to click on a link. When this internet-blocking protection is installed, the computer will prevent you from going to the hacker’s website, stopping the attempt to steal your credentials in its tracks.
What is this service called and where can you get it?
This service is known as Web Filtering. Computer Troubleshooters can set it up for your company.
How it works (here comes the technical bit):
We use a product called Webroot DNS. This redirects your web traffic to Webroot DNS servers. This process checks whether the website falls into safe or unsafe categories. If it blocks a site which you trust, you can whitelist it in a similar fashion to the workings of spam filtering.
For the sake of the occasional annoyance when your computer blocks you unnecessarily, this simple and cost-effective protection could prove very valuable in halting the cyber criminals. It can be a good sign when the computer says NO!