CyberGuard Webwasher 1000 CSM Appliance review

Price when reviewed

CyberGuard’s Webwasher 1000 (WW1000) aims to deliver complete content security by amalgamating the company’s entire CSM software suite into one easily deployed appliance. It supports a wide range of deployment scenarios and in its simplest form functions as an HTTP proxy. It can also be configured to forward mail to one mail server or use MX records for multiple servers.

CyberGuard Webwasher 1000 CSM Appliance review

Our test clients were configured to use the WW1000 as a web proxy, and for our mail server we just needed to provide the WW1000 with its IP address. The appliance supports a wide range of third-party proxies such as Microsoft’s ISA Server, NetCache and Blue Coat appliances. It also functions as an ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) server, allowing it to integrate with many other third-party proxies and appliances that support this.

The appliance is easily managed, as the web interface provides a single point of access to the myriad functions. All component updates are carried out automatically at user-defined intervals, which can be as often as every hour. However, downloads of, say, virus signatures or the web content filtering database can be run manually whenever required. A couple of buttons at the top of the interface allow you to switch easily between system configuration and filtering policies, with each option providing a neat row of tabbed folders.

From the system configuration page, you can set up HTTP, HTTPS and FTP proxy services, mail gateway and delivery details, and ICAP server parameters. Usefully, all component updates are handled under one heading, where each one is accompanied by a log file showing the last few download details. The WW1000 uses the concept of corporate filtering policies, which it applies at the gateway for different users, groups, email senders and recipients or IP addresses. You can create multiple policies each with different content filters, anti-virus and anti-spam actions and apply them to different user types. Changes to any component may be applied to a specific policy or you can make them global.

Virus scanning is a particularly powerful feature of the WW1000, as it can use multiple engines from Sophos, Computer Associates and McAfee. Alternatively, you can pick any one or two and license them easily from the main interface. You can even decide the order of priority that each engine is used for filtering. Either way, scanning is activated by default and the settings may be accessed from the Content Filtering policy section, where you can switch on or off all scanning activity and decide what to do with ActiveX controls, executables and JavaScript, along with embedded objects and scripts. One smart feature is that in the event of a virus outbreak alert you can lock the system down with a single press of a soft-button. This has the effect of immediately overruling all policies applied to every user group and implementing an emergency policy for everyone.

The barrage of anti-spam measures starts with Mailshell’s SpamCatcher. This is partnered by RBLs, header and message body rules, URL filters and Bayesian analysis. It also uses the Habeas SWE DNS-based service, which provides safelists of audited and certified senders and aims to reduce false positives. CyberGuard’s URL filtering covers all the usual suspects in terms of dubious content, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to have control over. Options extend beyond simply blocking or allowing selected categories. You can add criteria such as allowing some during the weekend and blocking others during the working week. Controls over Internet access go even further, as you can use time and volume quotas as well. This only allows users a specific amount of web minutes on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and also restricts their download quota to so many megabytes over the same periods. You can even restrict users’ individual sessions to a specific number of minutes.

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