Just like people, everything on the internet has a reputation. From websites to files to apps and beyond, there’s a history for each internet object, how it has behaved over time, and what relationships it has with other objects. And, just like with people, if an internet object hangs out with a bad crowd that’s known for stealing information and spreading malware, then the object itself is probably bad too. In the case that a harmless domain gets hijacked to host a malicious website, then the domain’s reputation score will suffer. By association, the other sites linked to that domain may also see these consequences in their own reputations. To improve their reputations after being hijacked, benign objects will need to remain clean and unaffiliated with dangerous internet objects for several months or more. That’s web reputation in a nutshell.
Web reputations are typically used by web or URL filtering solutions to protect internet users from known malware sources and malicious or inappropriate content on the web. If you’ve ever gotten a “block” page while surfing the internet at the office, then your company is using web filtering. Administrators and security teams may choose to block a variety of content, both to protect their employees and guests from cybercrime, and to limit access to bandwidth and productivity drains like social media or video streaming sites. This type of protection is possible through web reputation.
The most important thing about web reputation services are their accuracy, which is usually determined by the breadth, depth, and variety of the data being used. The algorithms used to analyze the relationships between internet objects and determine web reputations must be continually trained by experienced human analysts, and the data they use must be continually refreshed. But with an accurate web reputation source fueling your URL filtering or firewall solution, businesses can rest assured that they’re well on their way to a strong, proactive cybersecurity posture.
Learn more about Webroot web reputation and how it works here.