Getting started with Web Control

Page updated
November 15, 2023

Status
We are thrilled to announce the full integration of Web Control into our Business Hub, available to all Premium and Ultimate Business Security subscribers. Elevating your cyber defense strategy, Web Control empowers you to restrict access to non-essential websites and proactively blocks malicious domains, safeguarding your systems even before they connect.

About Web Control

Web Control is our latest managed web content filtering solution available in the Avast Business Hub. It operates on two distinct levels:

  1. Web content filtering: Administrators can define web content categories, as well as specific domains and subdomains, to regulate access from their managed devices. This feature helps prevent users from browsing or downloading content that's unrelated to work, or content that's potentially dangerous, inappropriate, or harmful. Moreover, it assists in stopping the upload of sensitive data to file-sharing web services.
  2. An additional layer of security: Web Control acts as an added layer of security during web browsing. It blocks devices from accessing malicious domains* even before the standard Web Shield protection activates.

* As determined by Avast’s web categorization engine.

 

🚀 Quick start guide

You can start using Web Control right away, provided your devices run Premium or Ultimate Business Security. Please follow the steps below:

Before you start, please make sure both Web Shield and Real Site are enabled in the policy applied to the particular device. Also, upgrade Avast Antivirus on your devices to version 23.10 or later.
1
Go to Devices (if you don't see the Web Control column in the Device list, click on the icon on the right side of the table header and tick the box to show 'Web Control').
2
Select devices where you want Web Control to be installed.
3
Select ⠇ More › Manage services › Enable Web Control.
4
Restart the devices (this requirement will later be removed).

 

Service components 
Policies Reports Devices

Under the Settings tab within each policy, there's a new tab labeled Web Control. It gives the admin the following options:

  • Allow or block certain categories
  • Allow or block certain domains/subdomains
  • Check how a particular domain is categorized
  • Add contact details to the block page displayed to end users, should the user feel they should be allowed to access certain websites

Your reports page (site view for multi-tenant Hubs) now contains the new Web Control report. It provides insight into the browsing behavior of the managed devices.

  • The history of requested domains remains accessible for 90 days (rolling)

 

 

A new column labeled Web Control shows the status of the service on each device.

  • Click on a specific device to see the device detail. There's a section called Web Control. 

ℹ️ Please be aware that each access to the device detail is logged, and there's a UI prompt informing you about this. Ensure that you are legally permitted to view the browsing details under your local laws.

This protects you in case authorities require you to demonstrate that you haven't invaded privacy of people using the endpoint devices beyond what the applicable law permits.

Alerts Dashboard Block page

Admins can choose to receive an alert when a malicious website has been blocked by Web Control.

Web Control alerts can be accessed from Hub UI. Email alerts will be added soon.

The Web Control dashboard widget is displayed on any site dashboard where Web Control can be activated.It shows the number of requests blocked, either based on your rules or because the particular domain has been tagged as dangerous by us.

 

When a user tries to visit a blocked site, a block page loads in their browser instead. The admin can add their contact info to the block page ('Customize your block page' section in Web Control policy settings) and give users the chance to contact them in case they feel the particular page shouldn’t be blocked.

 

System requirements
  • Avast Premium Business Security or Avast Ultimate Business Security subscription managed from Business Hub
  • Endpoints running Windows 7 or later 
  • Endpoints running Avast Business Antivirus 23.10 or later, agent 23.6 or later
  • Real Site and Web Shield active
  • Firewall – Enabled UDP 53 DoH, TCP 80, TCP/UDP 443, TCP 7500; *.avast.com, *.avcdn.net

Unsupported systems

  • Mac – coming later
  • Server systems

 

💡 Good to know:

  • Web Control works with many major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, Waterfox, Hero Browser, QQ Browser, Yandex Browser, Spark, Maxthon, Vivaldi, Brave, Sogou (+ partial support of Avast browsers, due to them using their own DNS and built-in VPN)
  • Web Control works in browsers and doesn’t block connections initiated by other applications
  • We recommend password-protecting your endpoint Avast installations. Otherwise the end user can turn Web Shield and/or Real Site off locally and circumvent Web Control

 

Good to consider
  • Domain filtering: Websites visited by your users may ping additional domains in the background. We're working to filter these out from your reports as effectively as possible. Please tell us how it works for you.
  • VPN compatibility: Avast VPN may interfere with Web Control efficacy.
  • Real Site: Web Control requires Real Site to deliver its web filtering functionality and ensure users are directed to authentic domains. Real Site's proprietary DNS may prevent access to internal domains. Although we recommend enabling Real Site on protected devices, we are working on a solution for Web Control to operate independently, to be released in the coming months. If you don't utilize internal DNS, you can disregard this notice. We welcome your feedback on the prospect of running Web Control without Real Site. 
Troubleshooting

Do you encounter any issues deploying Web Control? Below are a few points you might want to check. Again, we're keen to hear your feedback

  • The target device runs AV 23.10 or later
  • The target device has Web Shield and Real Site turned on
  • The allow/block definition may not apply instantly. Ensure your browser cache has had sufficient time to clear. A device restart may help.

What are your thoughts?

Try Web Control today in your Business Hub. Let us know what's good, and what we should fix.

 

Available content categories
Business and institutions Advertising
Business
Careers
Law, government & politics
Military
Communications and social networking Email, chat, messaging
Online conferencing
Social networking
Data control and bandwidth Content servers
File sharing
Streaming media
General information Abortion
Arts & entertainment
Automotive
Dating
Education
Family & parenting
Food & drink
Games
Health & fitness
Hobbies & interests
Home & garden
Kids
News, weather & information
Personal finance
Pets
Real estate
Religion & spirituality
Science
Shopping
Society
Sports
Style & fashion
Travel
Potentially inappropriate Adult content
Alcohol
Extreme graphic, explicit violence
Gambling
Hacking and cracking
Hate content
Incentivized
Profane content
Tobacco, cigars, vaping & accessories
Unmoderated message boards
Weapons
Security concern Copyright infringement
Illegal content
Illegal drugs
Potentially unwanted apps
Potentially unwanted search engine
Sites containing potentially unwanted apps
Warez
Technology General
Information technology
Media
Web search
Web Control avoidance Language translation
VPNs, proxies, filter avoidance
Page change log
 
15 November 2023 Web Control released. Minimum requirements for AV version changed to 23.10 and agent 23.6.
25 October 2023 Minimum requirements for AV version changed to 23.9+. This version simplifies the deployment of the service on devices that have a fresh installation of Business Hub services. Additionally, it eliminates the need for an extra restart.
9 October 2023 Web Control beta released to public. Any Business Hub account with Premium and/or Ultimate Business Security subscription can now use it.