K9 Web Protection

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K9 Web Protection is content-control software created by Blue Coat Systems. It was bought by Symantec in 2016, but support was to be from Blue Coat.

Windows/Mac versions[edit]

K9 Web Protection for Windows and Mac OS
Developer(s)Blue Coat Systems
Stable release
4.5, according to the release notes[1]
Operating systemWindows and macOS
TypeContent-control software
LicenseProprietary; free for home use
Websitewww1.k9webprotection.com
As ofAugust 2016

This section describes the Windows and MacOS versions of the software.

The software operates without downloading a database to the PC and instead looks to an Internet-based database. This means that the PC only needs a very small piece of code and the user can take advantage of the database being updated constantly. On the other hand, if the computer can not connect to this database for any reason (such as a firewall blocking the connection), all web access will be disabled.

K9 Web Protection is proprietary software which is free for home use. It is possible to have multiple licenses, and every computer needs a separate license. Its primary purpose is for parental control, but it is possible to use it for protection of their computer against computer viruses or malware, or for self-blocking of pornography (with an accountability partner).

Strengths[edit]

The software is very difficult to disable or remove without an administrator password. The uninstaller requires the administrator password to run, and if the service or process is stopped all web access is disabled. Similarly, attempts to modify the program from the windows registry or file system will also lead to all web access being disabled.

However, in Windows 7 at least, it is straightforward to disable the software. This can be done by going to Device Manager, View menu ➢ Show hidden devices, then, in the "Non-Plug and Play Drivers" group, locating the "bckd" driver selecting Properties, and in the Driver tab, under Startup, under Type:, selecting "Disabled". After a Windows restart, the driver will be disabled and K9 will not work, without affecting Internet access. Enabling the "bckd" driver again and then rebooting makes K9 work normally again. This does not work on Windows 10 however.[citation needed]

While uninstalling K9 via the Windows Installer requires a K9-specific password selected at installation, a Super User article detailed how, with administrator access, which does not display a password prompt when logged in as an administrator, one can use shell scripts to uninstall K9.

There is a bug that causes K9 to kill HTTP Internet connections of some tools (VLC media player prior to 3.X versions, in example) (with error 10053: "Software caused connection abort"). It seems that this bug happens only when K9 is installed on a 64-bit platform. Additionally, K9 has been reported to occasionally cause SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED errors on Windows 8.1.

Reception[edit]

Ken Cooper from Family WebWatch praised its ease of use and clean interface. Cooper also praised K9 for not bogging down system performance because it uses an Internet-based database.[2]

On the other hand, Neil J. Rubenking, lead analyst for security for PC Magazine criticized the filter's inability to create custom filtering for individual family members, while praising the fact that he could not find a way for children to disable the filter without also disabling access to the internet.[3]

Cnet gave it a 4 (out of 5) star rating, and ranks it #8 in Parental Control. Cnet criticizes "the lack of a chatware filter" which "leaves some holes for predation".[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Release Notes". K9 Web Protection official website. Blue Coat Systems. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  2. ^ "Review: K9 Web Protection". Familywebwatch.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  3. ^ Rubenking, Neil J. "K9 Web Protection 4.0 Review & Rating". PCMag.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  4. ^ "K9 Web Protection - Free download and software reviews". CNET Download.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.

External links[edit]