Block Downloading from the Internet

BrowseControl Web Filter Logo BrowseControl - Web Filtering Software

 

If you would like to learn how to prevent employees from downloading files from internet browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Opera, you have come to the right place.

In addition to step-by-step instructions on how to install BrowseControl and use it to block downloads from the internet, we will be outlining how your organization can benefit from blocking employees from downloading files, how filtering (blocking) files will help your organization reduce its vulnerabilities to malware such as ransomware, and how blocking file downloads can positively impact bandwidth efficiency and employee productivity.

 

Why You Should Block File Downloads

There are many legitimate reasons you should consider preventing the download of files in your organization using internet filtering software.

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): In addition to malware prevention, blocking select file downloads gives you an added opportunity to prevent employees from downloading work-only files from your organization’s cloud storage and copying them to less secure areas such as personal USB devices.
  • Cybersecurity: Proactively prevent the inadvertent or malicious downloading of harmful software such as malware (ransomware, viruses, worms, spyware, etc).
  • Piracy Prevention: In some circumstances, employers can be held liable for copyright infringement caused by their employees engaging in piracy with company resources. Piracy platforms are also a significant vector for malware transmission as they attract cybercriminals that mask malware as the intended file to be downloaded.
  • Bandwidth Efficiency: Employees that download large non-work files such as videos and music can cause a significant strain on your bandwidth, resulting in reduced productivity from slow internet speeds.
  • Employee Productivity: Employees can abuse your network to download video games to their work machines, wasting significant work time on unnecessary distractions.

Data Loss Prevention - Block Downloads to Prevent Data Leaks

By filtering file downloads you can not only prevent data loss that comes from malware, you can also prevent employees from downloading work-only files from your organization’s internet-based cloud storage to their local machines.

For an even greater data loss prevention (DLP) solution, you can combine the internet download blocking of BrowseControl with the USB file transfer monitoring/prevention capabilities of CurrentWare’s endpoint security software AccessPatrol.

Prevent Downloads from Cloud Storage

With BrowseControl you can prevent dowloads from cloud storages such as Google drive, giving you an added layer of data loss prevention (DLP) security. Your employees can continue to work by using your cloud storage providers’ built-in document collaboration features without interruption.

To do this, simply add the file extensions you would like to prevent downloading on from cloud storages (such as .docx for Microsoft Word or Google Docs) to your block list or use BrowseControl's web filtering and block the cloud storage website entirely.

Prevent Cloud Storage Downloads

Cybersecurity - Prevent the Download of Malicious Files

Not all files are created equal. Most organizations will have a legitimate business use for allowing the download of certain file types such as Powerpoints (.pptx) for presentations or PDFs for other work-related projects, but even legitimate (or legitimate-looking) files can be unknowingly compromised by malware, or the malware can be disguised as a legitimate file type to encourage your employees to click on them.

Malware programs are often disguised as legitimate files in emails and websites. In just a few clicks, your employees can introduce these malicious files to your network and cause serious issues such as data breaches, corrupted files, and even lawsuits against your organization should your cybersecurity infrastructure be deemed negligent for the level of security required for the data your organization handles.

While your organization can monitor devices for unauthorized software installations, by the time the installation has been discovered your network may already be compromised by malware. To provide an added layer of security, combine BrowseControl’s file download blocking with its integrated internet filtering features to proactively prevent access to websites that distribute malware.

Prevent Malware Downloads

Prevent Pirating in the Workplace

In the technology space, “pirating” refers to the unlawful download of intellectual property and other copyrighted works such as movies, video games, software, and images. Pirating is often done with the aid of dedicated peer-to-peer (P2P) software programs and websites that are dedicated to hosting the pirated files.

If not carefully monitored for suspicious activity, your employees could be engaged in piracy using your organization’s network. Depending on the laws that govern your organization you may be liable for the piracy-related penalties that stem from piracy within your workplace. For example. both the UK and the US state that employers can be held liable for the illegal actions of their employees, regardless of whether or not the employer was aware of the activity. Should employees within your organization be found guilty of internet piracy, you as the employer can be held legally responsible for the copyright infringement and you can potentially face steep fines.

Aside from the potential legal issues that stem from piracy in the workplace, these files present an incredibly significant cybersecurity risk as piracy and filesharing platforms are often rife with malware that can be unknowingly installed and executed along with the files your employees intend to download.

Prevent Pirating Download

Reduce Bandwidth - Block Wasteful File Downloads

“Bandwidth” refers to the data transfer rate of an internet connection or network. A network with a greater bandwidth can transfer its data much faster and in greater quantities at a time than a network with lower bandwidth. As your organization continues to grow, you are going to place a greater strain on your existing bandwidth and you will either need to pay for costly upgrades to your current infrastructure or you will need to ensure that your current infrastructure is used more efficiently.

When employees use your organization's network for non-work-related file uploads/downloads and video streaming, it can put an unnecessary strain on your existing bandwidth. When your organization’s bandwidth is strained it can hurt productivity with drastically slow internet speeds (latency), resulting in disrupted video conferences, difficulty accessing internet-based resources, and even disruptions in your access to cloud-based software.

Reduce Bandwidth

Improve Employee Productivity - Block Distracting Downloads

When your average employee loses productivity due to non-work tasks, they are often engaging in “cyberloafing” from browsing news, social media, and other distracting websites; BrowseControl can proactively block these websites using its internet filtering features.

That said, there is another productivity drain that unscrupulous employees can engage in that’s much more malicious - playing video games during hours where they are expected to be working. In addition to blocking websites known for hosting video games, you can use BrowseControl to block the download of common file extensions used in Windows video game installations: .exe, .7zip, .rar, and others.

Increase Employee Productivity


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BrowseControl - Web Filtering Software


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Now that we have established how blocking downloads from the internet can improve your organization’s data loss prevention, cybersecurity, bandwidth efficiency, and employee productivity, and piracy prevention, we would like to go into further detail about CurrentWare’s web filtering software BrowseControl.

CurrentWare customers typically use BrowseControl to restrict access that employees have to unlawful, dangerous, or distracting websites when using their work devices. In addition to BrowseControl’s web filtering capabilities, it can also be used to block files from being downloaded from HTTP websites on the internet, among a suite of other features.

 

Block File Downloads with BrowseControl’s Download Filter

BrowseControl’s Download Filter provides a list of file extensions that you (or your network administrator) can use to customize file download permissions on a per-user, per-device, or per-workgroup basis.

BrowseControl seamlessly integrated with the CurrentWare console, allowing you to combine the power of BrowseControl with your existing CurrentWare products in just a few click.

 
 

File types That Can Be Blocked From Download Using BrowseControl

BrowseControl’s Download Filter provides a list of file extensions that you (or your network administrator) can use to customize file download permissions on a per-user, per-device, or per-workgroup basis.

BrowseControl’s download filter can block an extensive list of file types, preventing your employees from downloading files that may be potentially dangerous or otherwise not necessary for completing their work-related projects.

 

Block Potentially Dangerous Files

With BrowseControl’s Download Filter, you can block files that may be a threat to your network such as executables (.exe) and compressed file formats (.zip, .tar, .rar).

Block the Download of Multimedia Files

With BrowseControl’s Download Filter you can also block the downloads of multimedia files including video, audio, and flash files using the corresponding extension.

 
Examples of Multimedia Files
 

  • .MPG
  • .MPEG
  • .MPE
  • .MPV
  • .MP4
  • .M4P
  • .M4V
  • .AVI
  • .WMV
  • .MOV
  • .QT
  • .FLV
Block Media Files Downloads

 

Filetype Permission Levels in BrowseControl

BrowseControl has two permission types - allowed, and blocked

Allowed List

File types placed in the “allowed” list will be explicitly enabled for download, allowing your employees to download these file types unimpeded. You should only add filetypes to your allowed list that you have deemed reasonably safe or that are critical for day-to-day operations within your organization.

Blocked List

File types placed in the blocked list for a given user, machine, or workgroup will be explicitly not permitted for download by them. File types that you have deemed to be unnecessarily risky, unproductive, or otherwise inappropriate should be added to this list.

 

 

How to Install BrowseControl to Block Downloading

On this page, we will show you how to use BrowseControl's download filter and web filter to block downloading and internet access and restrict your employees from accessing any files that are not work related from the internet.

Before you begin: Download the CurrentWare Setup File

Download CurrentWare's BrowseControl Web Filter

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Install CurrentWare Web Filter Console on IT manager's computer

1. Install the CurrentWare Console on the manager's computer

  • Run the setup file
  • Select BrowseControl and Category Filtering
  • The Installer will proceed to install the CurrentWare Server, Console and BrowseControl onto your computer
 

 
Install CurrentWare Web Filter Client on Employee's computers

2. Install the CurrentWare Clients on your employee's computers

  • Take the CurrentWare Client setup file and run it on the client computer.
  • The installer will ask you for the computer name of the CurrentWare Console to establish a connection.
  • After the CurrentWare Client is installed, it will connect to your CurrentWare Console automatically.
  • Repeat step 1-3 on all the computers you want to control the Internet.
 

 

How to use Download Filter

  1. Select Download Filter on BrowseControl
  2. Create Category Name
  3. Set the Policy Permission to Allow or Block downloading of images, audio, and more
  4. Add File Extension Types to Filter such as .jpg, .png, .mp3, .exe
  5. Downloading Blocked!
Block downloads from the Internet
 

 

How to use Category Filter

  1. Select Category Filter on BrowseControl
  2. Select File Hosting and Web Mail Categories to Filter
  3. Add the Categories to the Blocked List to block gmail.com, drive.google.com, outlook.com and more
  4. Click Apply to Clients
  5. File Hosting and Web Mail sites are blocked!
Category Filter to Block Downloads
 

Get Started with BrowseControl Today

Control Employee Internet Access
Download and install in a few minutes