URL Filtering

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) filtering is restricting/allowing access to certain web sites. URLs contain the names of the websites that you would put in to go to a particular web site. URLs filters categorize web site names in order to allow or block access to them.

The reason for filtering web sites is primarily for security reasons. URL filtering is also used for restricting access to objectionable content, such as offensive adult content. URL filtering limits access by comparing web traffic against a database to prevent employees from accessing unproductive, harmful sites such as phishing pages or malware infected web pages.

There isn’t any good reason to allow users access to these infected web sites. The hacker community continually infects web sites and tricks users to go to the infected web sites through social engineering techniques, such as phishing. In fact, in 2018 security expert’s research shows that 1 in 10 web sites are malicious. URL filtering is done for the security and safety of our institution’s, faculty’s, staff’s and student’s information.

We filter web access to specific categories, which are constantly being modified by the vendor which provides our URL/web filtering capabilities. The categories MCPHS University filters are Adult, Command and Control, Dynamic DNS, Hacking, Malware, Phishing, and Weapons sites.

We also use white listed URLS for certain devices that process specific protected information such as PMI (Personal Medical Information). These white lists contain only specific URLs which are allowed and all others are blocked.

There is some confusion when a web site is blocked or just not available. If MCPHS University URL filtering blocks a web page a unique blocking page will come up with the MCPHS logo showing the specifics about the site including the site’s category. There will also be a link to our Acceptable Use Policy and a link to open a ticket if the user requires more information or want to request access.

Yes users can request access to a site being restricted by URL filtered. On a case by case basis we will review requests to unblock a web site. If it is determined that a business required access to a web site which contains no objectionable content and is not a threat to MCHS University, the block will be removed.

Conversely, where we use white-listed URL filtering profiles, a site will be added to the whitelist on a case by case basis.

A Faculty or Staff member can request the URL be unblocked by contacting the help desk or by opening a support ticket via the block landing page. When making the request the full URL should be included with the business reason site access is being requested.