WIFI HotSpots Content Filtering

Content filtering for WiFi hotspots allows companies and groups to improve their online security profile by controlling the content that guests, customers and staff can access from their mobile devices. By preventing access to websites likely to include malware and ransomware, organizations not only secure their wireless networks from online threats, but also the devices that link to them.

Along with enhancing their security profiles, businesses and organizations can also take advantage of content filtering for WiFi hotspots to conserve bandwidth, enhance the customer experience, and grow productivity in the workplace. The benefits of content filtering for WiFi hotspots not only make good security sense, but good commercial sense also.

Companies and groups supply a public Internet service in order to attract customers who want to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues. Decisions on where to dine, where to shop and how to travel can often be influenced on the availability of the Internet. Due to this public WiFi hotspots are more often appearing in bars, restaurants and hotels, in shopping malls, and on public transport.

Other places of public access have also implemented public WiFi hotspots. Hospitals, libraries and schools provide wireless Internet networks for patients, visitors and students; while many staff members also enjoy using their employer´s WiFi network when the employer has a BYOD policy. However, supplying an unfiltered WiFi service can lead to users inadvertently installing malware and ransomware, and exposing others to inappropriate online content.

With no management over what online destinations can be accessed via a wireless network service, Internet users are at risk of viewing a compromised website or responding to a phishing email. Internet users, who like the anonymity of a public WiFi service, are more likely to visit websites containing inappropriate online content; while staff members have access to non-work related websites and video streaming websites that use up significant bandwidth and deny Internet access to co-workers.

Using content filtering for WiFi hotspots can help avoid these issues. By managing the online environment, businesses and organizations can provide a malware-free and family-friendly browsing experience. Inappropriate online content can be prevented from loading to risk exposure to minors and other vulnerable members of society, while employers can limit access to non-work related websites and video streaming websites in order to grow productivity and ensure the Internet is accessible to all staff members.

WiFi hotspot Internet filters work by stopping access to online threats and unwanted content. They do this using a system of unified threat management that can be set up to suit an organization’s requirements. This is normally a three-tiered mechanism that compromises blacklists and SURBL/URIBL filters, category filters and keyword filters. The first-tier defenses are updated by the filtering service provider whenever new dangers are identified. Websites are also categorized automatically as they go live.

  • Blacklists prevent access to websites identified as harboring malware, while the other first-tier defenses (SURBL and URIBL filters) stop network users visiting websites with IP addresses from which spam emails have been sent or those who hide their true identity using a proxy server or the whois privacy feature.
  • Category filters can be set up by system managers to stop access to specific categories of Internet content. More than three million of the world’s most-visited webpages are sorted into fifty-three categories (travel, online shopping, adult content, etc.) that can be blocked with one click of a mouse.
  • Keyword filters manage access to websites containing specific words so that managers can stop access to specific types of Internet content without blocking an entire category. Keyword filters can also be set up to prevent network users downloading file types with specific extensions commonly seen with malware.

When network users enter a URL or click on a hyperlink, WiFi hotspot Internet filters review each request to visit a website against their filtering parameters. If a network user is trying to visit an unsafe or prohibited website, access is refused and a message is displayed on the user’s device explaining why. If justifiable access is needed, system administrators have the option to use a “whitelisting” facility or “cloud keys” to override the filters’ settings.

Web filtering for WiFi hotspots permits for the filtering parameters to be set by individual user, user group or group wide. They can also be set within specific times. If, for instance, your business or group wants to control access to social media platforms to everybody except your marketing department, access could be permitted for one user group and denied to everyone else until after their working day is completed.

It was mentioned earlier how bandwidth could be limited in the workplace to ensure Internet access was available for every staff member. The workplace is not the only example of how bandwidth issues can be resolved by content filtering for WiFi hotspots. In any place where there might be a large volume of long-term Internet users – hotels, hospitals and libraries for instance – bandwidth can be limited to stop just a handful of users placing excessive demands on a group’s service.

By monitoring bandwidth, group’s can often identify when a device connected to their network is infected with malware from another source. Normally the tell-tale sign is high bandwidth consumption during periods of low bandwidth activity – for example reading emails. Groups can advise their guest that action is needed to delete the malware from their device – often preventing the malware from spreading to the wireless network other guests’ devices linked to it.

In addition to supplying a browsing environment free from malware and exposure to inappropriate content, organizations can take advantage of WiFi hotspot Internet filters to enhance the customer experience. This can be done using reports generated by the filters that reveal guests´ online activities. Using this information, groups can tailor promotions and special offers to match the interests of their customers, gaining a business advantage over other organizations in the industry yet to configure content filtering for WiFi hotspots.

WiFi hotspot Internet filters in the workplace offer a series of advantages to groups that supply a wireless Internet service for employees. Primarily, being able to manage access to non-work related websites during working hours can stop “cyberslacking” and enhance productivity. Content filtering for WiFi hotspots in the workplace can also prevent resentment between co-workers.

Several legal problems can also be avoided by the implementation of content filtering for WiFi hotspots in the workplace. Installing copyrighted files from P2P file sharing websites or exchanging images of child pornography on the Internet is illegal under federal legislation. If an employee was using an employer´s wireless network to conduct his or her illegal activities, the employer could be thought of as complicit.

A further possible issue is when employees are exposed to objectionable online content depicting racial abuse, religious intolerance and sexual prejudices. When a hostile workplace environment is permitted to persist, those offended by the objectionable online content are entitled to claim compensation from their employer for not providing a safe place of work.