If the top Google suggestions for “how to get around” prove anything, it’s that people want access to websites like Facebook and YouTube during times and at places where such web usage is normally prohibited. In fact, “how to get around blocked sites” is the number one “get around” topic suggestion on Google. Students seek ways to thwart content filters at schools, and employees try to outwit the policy management controls of enterprise networks.
Embedded URL Categorization for Web Content Filtering OEMs
Web content filtering software too often inspires the pursuit of workarounds. One such workaround is to copy and paste desired blocked URL into a translation service like Google Translate.
This exemplifies an embedded URL. Embedded URLs are elementary in nature, yet they manage to exploit vulnerabilities in common web filters to allow access to prohibited websites or inappropriate web content. The inadequate blocking of embedded URLs poses significant risks to web content filtering OEMs.
Web content filtering software requires the flexibility to grant access to translator and sometimes even proxy or anonymizer websites, while maintaining the capability of blocking inappropriate end content. zvelo OEM Partners utilizing the zveloDB® URL Database benefit from this embedded URL filtering flexibility in a feature called Embedded URL Categorization (EUC).
EUC comprises both manual and automated options for decoding and effectively categorizing embedded URLs within query strings. The manual option, which is a new API function, will search for embedded URLs in either plain text or obfuscated formats (including Base64 and rot13). The automated option identifies embedded URLs in anonymizer and translator websites and returns merged category sets for the full URL queried.
For example, through zvelo website categorization technologies, if a user attempts to surf playboy.com through the Google translator, the EUC would return the URL as having the Translator, Pornography and News categories (instead of simply returning that the URL itself was a Translator). This functionality is highly effective when used for filtering embedded content, and eliminates one of the most common ways of getting around blocked sites.