Forcepoint: Difference between revisions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(updated Controversy section into three sections; removed unconfirmed or incorrect citations: Naval Base photo unverifiable, sourcing information incorrect)
Line 19: Line 19:
 
}}
 
}}
   
'''Websense''' is a [[San Diego, California|San Diego]]-based company specializing in [[World Wide Web|Web]] [[Content-control software|security gateway software]]. It enables clients (businesses and governments) to block access to chosen categories of websites.<ref name="peacefire">[http://peacefire.org/censorware/WebSENSE/ WebSENSE Examined], [[Peacefire]].</ref> The company has come under some criticism from [[civil liberties]] groups on the grounds that it provides repressive regimes with a way to restrict [[freedom of speech]].<ref name ="opennet">{{Cite document | url = http://www.opennetinitiative.net/studies/yemen/ | publisher = OpenNet Initiative | title = Internet Filtering in Yemen in 2004–2005: A Country Study | postscript = .}}</ref><ref name="amnesty">[http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA170012004 China: Controls tighten as Internet activism grows] ([http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/001/2004/en/9dc9d9e2-d64d-11dd-ab95-a13b602c0642/asa170012004en.pdf direct link] to PDF).</ref>
+
'''Websense''' is a [[San Diego, California|San Diego]]-based company specializing in [[World Wide Web|Web]] [[Content-control software|security gateway software]]. It enables clients (businesses and governments) to block access to chosen categories of websites.<ref name="peacefire">[http://peacefire.org/censorware/WebSENSE/ WebSENSE Examined], [[Peacefire]].</ref>
   
 
==History==
 
==History==
Line 41: Line 41:
   
 
==Controversy==
 
==Controversy==
  +
[[File:Example.jpg]]
[[File:Computers at Guantanamo are protected by 'websense'.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Computers at the [[Guantanamo Bay Naval Base]] are protected by Websense software]]
 
 
<!-- Deleted image removed: [[Image:Websense blocking amnesty.org.png|thumb|left|260px|Websense classifies websites and enables clients to block access to chosen categories: here it is seen blocking access to <nowiki>amnesty.org</nowiki>, the administrator having set it to filter "advocacy groups" {{POVassertion|"Controversy" section|date=April 2009}}]] -->
 
<!-- Deleted image removed: [[Image:Websense blocking amnesty.org.png|thumb|left|260px|Websense classifies websites and enables clients to block access to chosen categories: here it is seen blocking access to <nowiki>amnesty.org</nowiki>, the administrator having set it to filter "advocacy groups" {{POVassertion|"Controversy" section|date=April 2009}}]] -->
   
  +
'''History'''<br>
Anti-censorship and human rights organizations have said that Websense has censored free speech in repressive régimes, and in those with restricted civil liberties.<ref name="opennet"/><ref name ="amnesty"/> Websense was denounced by [[Peacefire]] as having a [[double standard]] when deciding how websites are categorized.<ref name="peacefire"/>
 
 
On occasion, Websense's filter has categorized notable sites in error. In 2007 [[Norman Finkelstein]] and [[Noam Chomsky]]'s websites were blocked by network administrators blocking the 'racism/hate speech' category for approximately 24 hours until Finkelstein complained.<ref>[http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1351#rdrl Websense filtering out this site], official website of [[Norman Finkelstein]], "Reader letters: reply from Websense stating that www.normanfinkelstein.com has been reviewed and now categorised as 'News and Media'"</ref> In 2009, Websense briefly classified router company [[Cisco]]'s website under 'hack sites'.<ref name="leyden"/> The blocking of cisco.com was solved in less than 24 hours. <ref name="leyden">{{cite news | work=[[The Register]] | author=John Leyden | date=2009-03-20 | title=Websense mistakes Cisco.com for hack site | url=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/20/websense_blocks_cisco/ }}</ref> Websense has a submission form on the website to report mistaken categorization <ref>See something wrong? Suggest a category change using the Site Lookup Tool Contact suggest(at)websense.com for all other categorization-related inquiries and Site Lookup Tool feedback</ref>. They also monitor Twitter reports of the same.<ref>Twitter reply from Websense http://twitter.com/#!/websense/status/72712180033785857</ref>
   
 
In 2004 [[Amnesty international]] cited several foreign companies ([[Cisco Systems]], [[Microsoft]], [[Nortel Networks]], Websense and [[Sun Microsystems]]) which had reportedly provided technology that was used to censor and control the use of the Internet in China.<ref>^ a b c China: Controls tighten as Internet activism grows (link to PDF) - http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/001/2004/en/9dc9d9e2-d64d-11dd-ab95-a13b602c0642/asa170012004en.pdf</ref> The [[OpenNet Initiative]] has reported that Websense technology was used by the government in [[Yemen]] to enforce censorship of the internet.<ref>^ a b c Internet Filtering in Yemen in 2004–2005: A Country Study. OpenNet Initiative.</ref><ref name= "yemen times">{{cite news | work=[[Yemen Times]] | title=Internet censorship in Yemen | author=Jane Novak | issue=1135 (volume 8) | date=6–9 March 2008 | url= http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1135&p=local&a=5 | quote=The government ISP automatically denies internet requests from Yemeni users by using Websense and Antlabs to filter internet content. Websense enables the government to block websites by category and to define specific internet sites to block }}</ref>
In a 2005 report the Rhode Island branch of the [[ACLU|American Civil Liberties Union]] called Websense a deeply flawed technology.<ref name= "riaclu" /> It refers to an earlier 2001 report on the inaccuracy of the software, and notes that the [[Children's Internet Protection Act]] was struck down in 2002 by a federal court in a decision that was partly based on similar reports.<ref name="riaclu" /> It further notes that, although the blocking technology has improved over the years since 2002, it still remains a "blunt instrument" and that in public libraries equipped with Websense people of all ages "are still denied access to a wide range of legitimate material." <ref name="riaclu">{{cite web | url = http://www.riaclu.org/20050418.html | title = R.I. ACLU releases report on "troubling" internet censorship in public libraries | author = The Rhode Island affiliate, American Civil Liberties Union | date = April 2005 | accessdate = 2009-06-26 }} {{Dead link|date=October 2010|bot=H3llBot}}<br>* [http://www.riaclu.org/friendly/documents/2005libraryinternetreport.pdf full report].</ref>
 
 
[[Amnesty international]] complained in 2004 that Websense is being used by the [[Chinese democracy movement|Chinese government]].<ref name = "amnesty"/> The [[OpenNet Initiative]] has reported that Websense is used by the government in [[Yemen]] to enforce censorship of the internet.<ref name = "opennet" /><ref name= "yemen times">{{cite news | work=[[Yemen Times]] | title=Internet censorship in Yemen | author=Jane Novak | issue=1135 (volume 8) | date=6–9 March 2008 | url= http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1135&p=local&a=5 | quote=The government ISP automatically denies internet requests from Yemeni users by using Websense and Antlabs to filter internet content. Websense enables the government to block websites by category and to define specific internet sites to block }}</ref>
 
   
  +
'''Reaction'''<br>
 
The company states in its website that "Websense does not sell to governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are engaged in any sort of government-imposed censorship", and won't engage in any arrangement with foreign government that implies oppression of rights.<ref name="legal info"/> The only exception is for providing filtering capabilities to block child pornography or to prevent minors from accessing sexual websites, as long as adults who have given [[proof of age]] are allowed to see websites carrying sexual content.<ref name="legal info">{{cite web | title=Legal Information. Important Information Regarding the Websense Website | publisher=Websense | accessdate=2009-03-31 | url=http://www.websense.com/site/footer/legalinfo.html }}</ref>
 
The company states in its website that "Websense does not sell to governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are engaged in any sort of government-imposed censorship", and won't engage in any arrangement with foreign government that implies oppression of rights.<ref name="legal info"/> The only exception is for providing filtering capabilities to block child pornography or to prevent minors from accessing sexual websites, as long as adults who have given [[proof of age]] are allowed to see websites carrying sexual content.<ref name="legal info">{{cite web | title=Legal Information. Important Information Regarding the Websense Website | publisher=Websense | accessdate=2009-03-31 | url=http://www.websense.com/site/footer/legalinfo.html }}</ref>
   
  +
In August of 2009, various news outlets reported that Websense technology was being used by Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country of Yemen to filter internet content, against Websense stated policy. On August 17, 2009 the company issued the following statement:
On occasion, Websense's filter has mislabeled and blocked notable sites. In 2007 [[Norman Finkelstein]] and [[Noam Chomsky]]'s websites were blocked under 'racism/hate speech' category for approximately 24 hours until Finkelstein complained.<ref>[http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1351#rdrl Websense filtering out this site], official website of [[Norman Finkelstein]], "Reader letters: reply from Websense stating that www.normanfinkelstein.com has been reviewed and now categorised as 'News and Media'"</ref> In 2009, Websense briefly classified router company [[Cisco]]'s website under 'hack sites'.<ref name="leyden"/> The blocking of cisco.com was solved in very short time, but it illustrates that the problem of false alarms is not restricted to antivirus software.<ref name="leyden">{{cite news | work=[[The Register]] | author=John Leyden | date=2009-03-20 | title=Websense mistakes Cisco.com for hack site | url=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/20/websense_blocks_cisco/ }}</ref> Due to Websense's method of filtering, users may find that they are restricted from websites based not on content, but the page name or header information itself.
 
  +
  +
“Since we were informed about the potential use of our products by Yemeni ISPs based on government-imposed Internet restrictions in Yemen, we have investigated this potential non-compliance with our anti-censorship policy. Because our product operates based on a database system, we are able to block updated database downloads to locations and to end users where the use of our product would violate law or our corporate policies. We believe that we have identified the specific product subscriptions that are being used for Web filtering by ISPs in Yemen, and in accordance with our policy against government-imposed censorship and compliance review policies (http://www.websense.com/content/censorship-policy.aspx), we have taken action to discontinue the database downloads to the Yemeni ISPs.”<ref> Websense Issues Statement on Use of its URL Filtering Technology by ISPs in Yemen http://community.websense.com/blogs/websense-features/archive/2009/08/17/websense-issues-statement-on-use-of-its-url-filtering-technology-by-isps-in-yemen.aspx</ref>
  +
  +
Websense General Counsel Mike Newman provided further commentary on a subsequent blog post explaining the company’s investigation, action and reasoning behind the company’s stated policy:
  +
“The simple answer is that we don’t want or need that kind of business. The purpose of our Web filtering and Web security products is to make the Internet a safer place to do business, ensuring security and organizational productivity, while limiting legal liability for employers. Government censorship is not on our product roadmap.”<ref> Websense Sets the Record Straight on its Anti-Censorship Policy http://community.websense.com/blogs/websense-features/archive/2009/08/20/websense-sets-the-record-straight-on-its-anti-censorship-policy.aspx</ref>
  +
  +
'''Recent Developments'''<br>
  +
The Open Net Initiative notes in their most recent report that testing in January 2011 indicated that Yemen’s ISP, YemenNet, was no longer using Websense software.<ref>http://opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologies-middle-east-censors-2010-2011</ref>
  +
ONI also notes that Websense has gone on record opposing the use of its software for the purposes of government censorship, except for the protection of minors from pornography. “Websense’s competitors have not articulated a policy about censorship at all.”<ref>West Censoring East: The Use of Western Technologies by Middle East Censors, 2010-2011, March 2011 - http://opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologies-middle-east-censors-2010-2011</ref>
  +
  +
In addition, one of the paper's coauthors, Jillian C. York, notes in her personal blog,“I will say that Yemen has stopped using Websense and we’re not aware of any other countries–at least in the Middle East and North Africa–that use the software.”<ref>Jilian C. York, March 28, 2011 http://jilliancyork.com/2011/03/28/west-censoring-east-or-why-websense-thinks-my-blog-is-pornography/</ref>
   
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 02:18, 12 July 2011

Websense, Inc.
public (NASDAQWBSN)
Industrycomputer software, computer security
Founded1994
HeadquartersSan Diego, California
Key people
John Carrington, Chairman
Gene Hodges, CEO
John McCormack, President
Arthur S. Locke III, CFO
Dan Hubbard, CTO
Jason Clark, CSO
Productscontent security, web security, email security, data loss prevention, advanced persistent threat protection, Security-as-a-Service (SaaS), mobile security, social networking security, risk and compliance, Web filtering and Information Leak Prevention
Revenue$332 million
Number of employees
1,450
Websitehttp://www.websense.com/

Websense is a San Diego-based company specializing in Web security gateway software. It enables clients (businesses and governments) to block access to chosen categories of websites.[1]

History

Websense was founded by Phil Trubey in 1994. It went public in the year 2000.[2]

Apart from Web filtering, also known as Internet content-control software, the company provides email security, and data loss-prevention technology. The software also tracks individual internet usage, and its reports can be data drilled by "risk class, category, URL, application, user, workstation, dates, and more."[3]

Websense allows system administrators to block access to web sites and other protocols based on categories. These contain lists of sites that may be blocked at will, either at specified times or permanently. The software offers clients a continue button which permits users to access an otherwise blocked category if it is work related.[4]

Policies can be produced that control either previously identified information that contains 'tags' such as account numbers, credit card records or any combination of many variables. A score is assigned based on a pre defined set of rules and an action applied. The process can be entirely automated but relies upon either pre set policy templates or bespoke rule sets that are developed in house.

The policies or rules that are applied, define what happens at every stage, like most processes the quality of the output depend on the quality of the input. Getting the policies right is critical. Traditional Information Security processes such as Risk Assessments and Information Asset Registers are important as they provide the information needed to create policies that work for particular situations. Although good policy templates are free out of the box, getting the most from them takes some tuning.

Products through acquisition

SurfControl was acquired by Websense on October 3, 2007. Websense has indicated it will continue the Surfcontrol business with a full staff until at least 2011.[citation needed]

Websense's proprietary "Deep Content Control" is software designed to protect confidential information. The company says it is a combination of its ThreatSeeker and PreciseID technologies.[5] PreciseID uses software first developed for the Israeli military.[6] The company has a Data Loss Prevention product called Information Leak Prevention, which was developed by the Israel-based data security company PortAuthority Technologies. In December 2006 Websense bought PortAuthority for $90 million.[7][8] Announcing the take-over, Websense said that it was "committed to maintaining the company's research and development presence in Israel."[7]

On January 27, 2009, Websense acquired Defensio, a security company specialized in blog plugins that help to fight spam and malicious links in the comment sections of blogs. This will help expand its ThreatSeeker Network and could be used by webmasters to warn as soon as suspicious content is posted to their websites.[9][10]

Controversy

Example.jpg

History
On occasion, Websense's filter has categorized notable sites in error. In 2007 Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky's websites were blocked by network administrators blocking the 'racism/hate speech' category for approximately 24 hours until Finkelstein complained.[11] In 2009, Websense briefly classified router company Cisco's website under 'hack sites'.[12] The blocking of cisco.com was solved in less than 24 hours. [12] Websense has a submission form on the website to report mistaken categorization [13]. They also monitor Twitter reports of the same.[14]

In 2004 Amnesty international cited several foreign companies (Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Websense and Sun Microsystems) which had reportedly provided technology that was used to censor and control the use of the Internet in China.[15] The OpenNet Initiative has reported that Websense technology was used by the government in Yemen to enforce censorship of the internet.[16][17]

Reaction
The company states in its website that "Websense does not sell to governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are engaged in any sort of government-imposed censorship", and won't engage in any arrangement with foreign government that implies oppression of rights.[18] The only exception is for providing filtering capabilities to block child pornography or to prevent minors from accessing sexual websites, as long as adults who have given proof of age are allowed to see websites carrying sexual content.[18]

In August of 2009, various news outlets reported that Websense technology was being used by Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country of Yemen to filter internet content, against Websense stated policy. On August 17, 2009 the company issued the following statement:

“Since we were informed about the potential use of our products by Yemeni ISPs based on government-imposed Internet restrictions in Yemen, we have investigated this potential non-compliance with our anti-censorship policy. Because our product operates based on a database system, we are able to block updated database downloads to locations and to end users where the use of our product would violate law or our corporate policies. We believe that we have identified the specific product subscriptions that are being used for Web filtering by ISPs in Yemen, and in accordance with our policy against government-imposed censorship and compliance review policies (http://www.websense.com/content/censorship-policy.aspx), we have taken action to discontinue the database downloads to the Yemeni ISPs.”[19]

Websense General Counsel Mike Newman provided further commentary on a subsequent blog post explaining the company’s investigation, action and reasoning behind the company’s stated policy: “The simple answer is that we don’t want or need that kind of business. The purpose of our Web filtering and Web security products is to make the Internet a safer place to do business, ensuring security and organizational productivity, while limiting legal liability for employers. Government censorship is not on our product roadmap.”[20]

Recent Developments
The Open Net Initiative notes in their most recent report that testing in January 2011 indicated that Yemen’s ISP, YemenNet, was no longer using Websense software.[21] ONI also notes that Websense has gone on record opposing the use of its software for the purposes of government censorship, except for the protection of minors from pornography. “Websense’s competitors have not articulated a policy about censorship at all.”[22]

In addition, one of the paper's coauthors, Jillian C. York, notes in her personal blog,“I will say that Yemen has stopped using Websense and we’re not aware of any other countries–at least in the Middle East and North Africa–that use the software.”[23]

References

  1. ^ WebSENSE Examined, Peacefire.
  2. ^ "He's All Business On the Internet, Phil Trubey Unveils His Latest Venture Even Though He Could Retire Today". San Diego Business Journal. 2000-12-11. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  3. ^ Websense: reporting tools.
  4. ^ Websense: list of the categories used to classify the URLs.
  5. ^ Websense: Deep Content Control
  6. ^ Websense: PreciseID.
  7. ^ a b Israel-Times.com Websense to acquire portauthority for 90 million in cash (broken link 26/Feb/2008).
  8. ^ Robert McMillan, IDG News Service (2006-12-20). "Websense to buy PortAuthority". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  9. ^ Websense acquires Canadian blog-spam fighting security company, Maxine Cheung, itbussiness.ca, 2009-02-04
  10. ^ Robert McMillan, IDG News Service (2009-01-27). "With Acquisition Websense to Silence Comment Spam". PCWorld.
  11. ^ Websense filtering out this site, official website of Norman Finkelstein, "Reader letters: reply from Websense stating that www.normanfinkelstein.com has been reviewed and now categorised as 'News and Media'"
  12. ^ a b John Leyden (2009-03-20). "Websense mistakes Cisco.com for hack site". The Register.
  13. ^ See something wrong? Suggest a category change using the Site Lookup Tool Contact suggest(at)websense.com for all other categorization-related inquiries and Site Lookup Tool feedback
  14. ^ Twitter reply from Websense http://twitter.com/#!/websense/status/72712180033785857
  15. ^ ^ a b c China: Controls tighten as Internet activism grows (link to PDF) - http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/001/2004/en/9dc9d9e2-d64d-11dd-ab95-a13b602c0642/asa170012004en.pdf
  16. ^ ^ a b c Internet Filtering in Yemen in 2004–2005: A Country Study. OpenNet Initiative.
  17. ^ Jane Novak (6–9 March 2008). "Internet censorship in Yemen". Yemen Times (1135 (volume 8)). The government ISP automatically denies internet requests from Yemeni users by using Websense and Antlabs to filter internet content. Websense enables the government to block websites by category and to define specific internet sites to block
  18. ^ Websense Issues Statement on Use of its URL Filtering Technology by ISPs in Yemen http://community.websense.com/blogs/websense-features/archive/2009/08/17/websense-issues-statement-on-use-of-its-url-filtering-technology-by-isps-in-yemen.aspx
  19. ^ Websense Sets the Record Straight on its Anti-Censorship Policy http://community.websense.com/blogs/websense-features/archive/2009/08/20/websense-sets-the-record-straight-on-its-anti-censorship-policy.aspx
  20. ^ http://opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologies-middle-east-censors-2010-2011
  21. ^ West Censoring East: The Use of Western Technologies by Middle East Censors, 2010-2011, March 2011 - http://opennet.net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologies-middle-east-censors-2010-2011
  22. ^ Jilian C. York, March 28, 2011 http://jilliancyork.com/2011/03/28/west-censoring-east-or-why-websense-thinks-my-blog-is-pornography/

Further reading

  • Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering, Ronald Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, Jonathan Zittrain, MIT Press, 2008. ISBN 0262541963, 9780262541961

External links