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Bloxx Warns Of the Dangers Of Anonymous Proxies as Kids Return to School

September 2008 by Bloxx

Bloxx, the UK web content filtering specialist, warns that as the new academic year approaches, educational institutions should be aware of the escalating use of anonymous proxies by students trying to bypass web filtering technology and the risks associated with unrestricted internet access.

The Internet is an incredibly important and useful resource for education, yet it can also impact productivity as students have the opportunity to waste time surfing social networking websites or bandwidth-sapping media download sites.

"Teachers notice when students are spending too much time gossiping in the classroom, whereas quietly surfing the Internet is not quite so obvious, yet it has the potential to expose children to inappropriate and even harmful material if not properly regulated," warns Bloxx Managing Director, Eamonn Doyle.

This is particularly concerning for the education sector as school IT administrators are required to protect children from the pernicious aspects of the Internet.

As children’s knowledge of technology and the Internet continues to evolve, students are finding new subversive ways in which to access non-work related sites during school hours, creating further challenges for internet filters and IT Managers. The easiest and most popular means of doing this is by connecting to an anonymous proxy server, a website that enables users to access URLs that may otherwise have been blocked by an Internet filter.

St. George’s College is a leading independent Roman Catholic co-educational school based in Surrey. The school’s IT and Network Manager, Darren Harryman recently installed Bloxx’s Tru-View Technology web filtering appliance after becoming concerned that students were finding ways to circumvent the existing web filtering solution from RM Smart Cache, by accessing anonymous proxy sites.

"Child protection is our first priority and so blocking access to inappropriate content is critical," explains Harryman. "Bloxx’s Tru-View Technology can automatically categorise web pages which on the surface appear to be appropriate but which in reality are not. We now have no issues with anonymous proxies and it has given us an extremely high level of confidence that we are providing a safe, secure and productive learning environment for our students."

"Students are incredibly tech-savy and each year are becoming more knowledgeable about how to successfully evade internet filters by using anonymous proxies. Hundreds of anonymous proxy sites are created each week and blocking them using traditional internet filtering software, which rely on black lists, is simply no longer effective," comments Bloxx Managing Director, Eamonn Doyle. "Schools must be aware of how to manage and regulate Internet access by deploying the right technology in order to avoid children coming across inappropriate online content, whether accidentally or otherwise."

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