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Social Media Release:
When Web Applications Collide with Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

SEATTLE (February 28, 2011) – WatchGuard Technologies

Highlights / News Facts:

CIPA – an overview: According to the FCC, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted in 2000 by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. CIPA imposes certain types of requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program – a program that makes certain communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries.

CIPA and Firewalls: The most common CIPA solution for schools and libraries rested in a firewall appliance that could perform a variety of security tasks. This included web blocking, content filtering, as well as advanced monitoring and reporting tools for quick remediation and forensics. Until now, this was very effective.

Compliance at Risk: Traditional firewalls are unable to distinguish a web site from a web application, which means web blocking and content filtering alone will not stop harmful web applications. With the explosion of new web applications and rich social media capabilities that can by-pass web filters, new vectors of obscene material, offensive content and potentially dangerous payloads hiding malware, spyware, etc., are putting school and library networks at risk, and furthermore, jeopardizing CIPA compliance.

Application Control: To combat these new threat vectors, WatchGuard recommends that schools and libraries upgrade their firewalls to CIPA compliant solutions that include Application Control. Application Control, unlike web filters, provides granular control over the latest web applications. Benefits of Application Control include:

  • Ability to control thousands of applications, including sub-applications such as IM, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. This allows schools and libraries to allow students to use popular social media applications without risking CIPA compliance;
  • Real-time monitoring gives administrators immediate ability to exercise authority and/or immediately restrict access;
  • Block anonymizers and web-proxy by-pass applications so that students are unable to sneak around firewall and security policies.


CIPA, Children's Internet Protection Act, School Security, Library Policies, Application Control


About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.
Since 1996, WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. has been the advanced technology leader of business security solutions, providing mission-critical protection to hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. The WatchGuard family of wired and wireless unified threat management appliances, messaging, content security and SSL VPN remote access solutions provide extensible network, application and data protection, as well as unparalleled network visibility, management and control. WatchGuard products are backed by WatchGuard LiveSecurity® Service, an innovative support, maintenance, and education program. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle and has offices serving North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit

WatchGuard is a registered trademark of WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. All other marks are property of their respective owners.

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