SolutionBase: Keep users from going places they shouldn't with We Blocker

There are all sorts of places on the Internet you don't want your users to visit. One way to make sure they don't go there is by using blocking software. Here's how We Blocker gets the job done.

If you're lucky, your users are only using the Internet to do their jobs. There are an infinite number of distractions to their day, including some things that can leave your company open to litigation. Just thing three words: Pornography and Sexual Harassment. One of the easiest ways to keep users from viewing site they shouldn't is by just blocking them from seeing them.

One way to do that is to by installing web filtering hardware on your network or by blocking them at the router. If you don't have a fancy router on your network, then a workstation-based software solution might be the answer. We Blocker is such a program.

What's We Blocker and how do I get it?

We Blocker is a fully customizable program that allows you to setup individual accounts for users and allows you to set what each user is allowed to view. It scans the content of a site for objectionable things and then blocks access based on what it finds. Best of all, this program is free, so it should fit into your IT Budget.

You can download We Blocker directly from CNET's Download.com. The file you download, Weblocker.exe, isn't very big - 2.41 MB - so depending on your connection the download process shouldn't take long. You'll run Weblocker.exe to install it on your workstation.

Installing and configuring We Blocker

Running Weblocker starts a WinZip unzip executable which then launches into a Windows Setup wizard. Just follow the onscreen prompts to install We Blocker. There aren't any gotchas to worry about.

As soon as the installation finishes, you'll be prompted to enter a Master Password. You'll want to do so because this controls who can access We Blocker's controls. When you click OK to change the password, you'll see the Edit User Information screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Set the master password and blocking settings here.

You can select what the user can't view by making selections in the User Is Blocked From box. You can also filter individual words by selecting the Word Filtering checkbox and sliding the Word Filtering bar.

You'll see a prompt indicating that your performance will decrease if you select Word Filtering. That's because We Blocker will scan text as it loads a site and block the site if a 'bad word' appears on the site.

By default the Log Activity radio button is selected. You should leave this as it will create an audit trail to find out exactly what a user does on the computer.

If you want to block users from viewing ANY site other than the ones you deep appropriate, select the Allowed Sites checkbox.

Once you've set the Master Password and basic settings, you'll see the screen shown in Figure B. Here you can set more detailed controls over We Blocker.

Figure B

Here is We Blocker's main configuration screen.

On the Users tab, you can control who has access to the Internet. You can allow any user on the workstation to use the Internet, or you can block individuals. To force someone to log in to the browser before using the Internet, select Force Login. You'll also need to click Add Users and set up individual user logins for each user you want to use the Internet.

The System Settings tab allows you to configure how We Blocker talks to the Internet. You can also disable filtering and force logoffs by making changes to that tab.

The Custom Filtering screen is where you can block specific sites from being viewed. This will allow you to catch sites that We Blocker might miss. Enter the site in the Add This Site field and click the button. You can enter a reason in the Blocked Because field.

The Activity Log field is where you view what users have done on the Internet. You can clear the log by clicking the Clear Log field.

That's it

Once you've made the changes, you're done. Users won't be able to access sites or content they shouldn't. You'll be able to monitor activity to find out what they've been up to.

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