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Proxies 101: Five Tips to Leveraging Your Web Filter to Identify, Block and Report on Proxy Use.

8e6 Technologies Offers Advice on Managing This Threat to Online Learning Programs

ATLANTA -- At the National Education Computing Conference (NECC), 8e6 Technologies, the leader in Internet filtering and reporting for the K-12 market, is sharing its best practices to combat the use of proxies in schools with administrators, educators and IT managers who are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of students using the Internet. With the proliferation of anonymous proxy sites, which allow students unfettered access to typically restricted content such as online social networking sites, peer-to-peer networks and objectionable content, schools must take active measures to protect their networks and maintain a safe learning environment.

"Proxies have become the number one online threat to school districts and thus, district administrators must implement technology and policies to ensure safe online learning," said Paul Myer, president and COO of 8e6 Technologies. "In providing these tips, we hope IT administrators are able to directly utilize these suggestions in order to maintain a safe learning environment in their schools."

Proxies 101: Top Five Tips to Securing Your Network
 -- Blocking URLs Is Not Enough -- There are many free, open
 source, proxy software packages available on the Internet.
 Students download these programs, install them on their home
 computers, then text message the IP address of their computer
 to a few trusted friends. Pure URL-based filtering using a
 "blacklist" of known sites is hopelessly overmatched by these
 "anonymous" proxies, which can appear and disappear on a daily
 or hourly basis. Effective filters must have a proxy pattern
 blocking feature that writes signatures against known proxies
 and provides zero-day protection against anonymous proxies.

 Bottom Line: Ensure that your filtering solution has
 signatures that automatically protect against ever-changing

 -- Stopping HTTPS is Essential -- Filtering HTTPS is an important
 component of blocking proxies. Circumventor -- a free, open
 source, proxy package from - provides an SSL
 configuration that is very easy to set up. In China, there are
 a number of proxy packages delivered over SSL, which allow
 political dissidents access to material that is blocked by the
 government. Students in the United States use these to gain
 access to social networking and other Web sites containing
 inappropriate material.

 Bottom Line: Effective filters must have the capability to
 identify HTTPS proxies and block them.

 -- Client-Side Proxies -- Most administrators tend to think of
 proxies as server-side programs, and many are unaware that
 there are a number of client-side proxies that can be
 installed on school and library computers that allow students
 to bypass filtering. Managing and blocking these proxies is
 similar to handling IM and peer-to-peer applications.

 Bottom Line: Application management must be included as part
 of an overall Web security posture.

 -- Beware of Non-Standard Ports -- IT departments must go beyond
 monitoring only the standard HTTP and HTTPS ports, since many
 proxies are found on non-standard ports. Open proxies, which
 students can utilize by configuring browsers to route all Web
 requests through a specific IP and port, are regularly
 published and distributed via mailing lists. While it appears
 that traffic is going directly to a single IP address, it is
 actually being proxied by that IP to sites that might
 otherwise have been blocked.

 Bottom Line: A filter must be configured to identify and
 monitor all ports, much the same as how a traffic cop would
 not only need to monitor a freeway, but the side streets as

 -- Enforce the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) -- Administrators have
 a general sense of their students' willingness to bypass the
 AUP. Students, with "nothing to lose," are much more
 relentless than enterprise end users in finding ways to get
 around a filter. School districts that explain their AUPs to
 students and make an effort at enforcing their AUPs have a
 better success rate in blocking proxies. Administrators need
 to utilize the reporting feature of their filter, sit down
 with students and let them know that their Internet use is
 being monitored and any inappropriate sites will be blocked.
 Through these practices, proxy use tends to decrease

 Bottom Line: Communicate the rules, use the reporting feature
 of your filter to determine who is bypassing the filter via
 proxies, and enforce the policies.

About 8e6 Technologies

8e6 Technologies is the leading provider of appliance-based Internet filtering, monitoring and reporting solutions for education, and has played a significant role in filtering the Web for over 10 years. 8e6 directly addresses the challenges of online child safety by giving network administrators and educators the tools to view, understand and react to Web-based threats arising from online learning. As a single-source vendor, 8e6 provides all of the hardware, software and support to ensure a secure learning environment while maintaining CIPA compliance. The company maintains headquarters in Orange, California, and has a network of channel partners worldwide. For more information, including free resources and best practices for ensuring effective enforcement of Acceptable Use Policies, please visit or call 888.768.7999.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 25, 2007
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