My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

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Lightfeather
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My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Sat May 05, 2012 10:05 pm

Was it something I did? My forum has been up for almost ten years and my users check in while at work to read and post on their breaks. This weekend I got a note from a user stating that Ironport web appliance now thinks the forum is a game and is blocking it. Just happened this last week sometime.

He asked me if I did anything different on the forum lately and the only thing I can recall that I did differently this last week was add a bunch of bots to the fourm bot list so I could see what bots were visiting. Was that what did it? Previously I was getting a lot of "guests" and when I started looking them up I realized that many of them were actually bots crawling my forum. I wanted them identified in my who's online list so I added them to the phpbb3 bot group.

Did that somehow allow them to do something they weren't allowed to do before? The same forums that are available for guests to see, registered users can also see. The only thing you get when you register is the ability to post.

I guess I'm just wondering if what I did with the bots creeping about my site adversely affected my standing with web security sites. My site talks about gaming. It's a "game" site in the sense that users talk about games. Do you think the block was just an unlucky coincidence? I tend not to believe in those.

Do you know of any way to get my site unclassified as a game?
Last edited by HGN on Wed May 09, 2012 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by /a3 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:11 pm

You'd best ask them. Try sending an email and see why it is blocked.

If they don't come up with any decent reason, you will have to inform the user that it's out of your control.

It sounds sort of like Websense, actually. Ahh, those good memories...
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Lightfeather
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Sat May 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Crud. I have the Phpbb Arcade mod installed on the forum. It's invisible to guests but when you register, you can see it. When you add bots to the forum bot group, does that allow them to see the forum as a registered user? If so that means they can parse the Arcade mod right? Do you think that's what triggered the forum to get classified as a game?

How can I hide the arcade from bots if this is the case?

/EDIT- I just checked to see if the bots had access to the arcade and it's set to "No access" in the permissions list so the arcade isn't being crawled as far as I am aware.
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by CaNNon_ » Sat May 05, 2012 11:59 pm

As I-T controls the router/firewall from your users work, it's much more likley someone blocked the site on that end.

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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by lurttinen » Mon May 07, 2012 7:26 am

Indeed, tell the user to ask their network admin why they block it.
Someone just don't want them to spend time playing games. :P (at work perhaps?)
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Lightfeather
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Mon May 07, 2012 10:44 pm

He's going to ask. The forum has been around for nearly ten years and this person has worked at this company, and checked the forum from this company, for a good number of those years. They had selectively blocked the images and the arcade for those years, he told me, but he was always able to access the written content and was allowed to respond. Now, out of the blue, it's been restricted as well and I was just confused about how it all worked.

When he first told me I though Ironport web security, the company, had put a block on my site for all users of the Ironport web security software, much like virus definitions pushed out to clients of a virus scanning software. I have since been educated that clients of Ironport web security set their blocking lists up on a per user basis.

So I'm not universally blocked by everyone who uses Ironport, which is what I thought when I first started this thread. I just didn't understand how it worked.
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by /a3 » Mon May 07, 2012 11:25 pm

Lightfeather wrote:I have since been educated that clients of Ironport web security set their blocking lists up on a per user basis.
Actually it's probably a per-category basis, like Websense. I should note that such web filters are rarely accurate though.
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Lightfeather
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Tue May 08, 2012 4:49 am

What I meant by " per user basis" was, company A buys Ironport and sets the filtration up for their company the way they want to. Company B does the same, as well as companies C, D, E etc. So if company D decided to block my site, the computers at the other companies wouldn't be affected. Only computers at company D.

At first I thought it worked like a virus or malware product. Companies A through E buy Ironport and install it. Ironport headquarters collects a universal blacklist that it pushes to all its clients, so if my website ended up on the blacklist, all users of Ironport would then no longer have access to my site.

Instead it works more like a firewall. You set it up and decide, client side, who to let in or out and what you do with it has no bearing on another company also using Ironport.

So while it's poopy that one client of Ironport decided to block my site, it's not as dire as I thought it was.
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Mick » Tue May 08, 2012 7:22 am

Lightfeather wrote:So while it's poopy that one client of Ironport decided to block my site, it's not as dire as I thought it was.
Don't worry about it, it's nothing to do with you, FortiGuard does exactly the same, it's a complete pain!!
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Pony99CA » Tue May 08, 2012 10:17 pm

Lightfeather wrote:What I meant by " per user basis" was, company A buys Ironport and sets the filtration up for their company the way they want to. Company B does the same, as well as companies C, D, E etc. So if company D decided to block my site, the computers at the other companies wouldn't be affected. Only computers at company D.
It may not be quite that simple. I suspect that Ironport has classified various sites into different categories -- games, adult, social networking, warez, etc. Each company using Ironport can probably choose what categories to block, not individual Web sites.

So either your site recently got classified by Ironport as a gaming site or your user's company recently started blocking gaming sites.
Lightfeather wrote:Instead it works more like a firewall. You set it up and decide, client side, who to let in or out and what you do with it has no bearing on another company also using Ironport.
If I'm right, it would have a bearing for any company choosing to block gaming sites.
Lightfeather wrote:So while it's poopy that one client of Ironport decided to block my site, it's not as dire as I thought it was.
It's not "poopy" at all -- it's the company's right to choose what traffic it wants to allow on its network. Many companies monitor Web and E-mail traffic, for example, and that has been upheld as legal (at least in the U.S.). You don't want your employees frittering away their time on gaming instead of business. :)

Of course, it's also not really a phpBB problem and therefore not really a support issue. ;)

By the way, did I miss the URL for your site? I'm curious if my employer blocks it. Our Web blocker tells (or used to tell) what category the site was in that caused it to be blocked.

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Lightfeather
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Wed May 09, 2012 1:18 am

No you didn't miss it, I didn't put it down because it didn't seem relevant in context but I'll PM it to you because I'm curious to find out what the site has been classified as. I totally understand companies having the right to block. I don't dispute that at all. It's just after nine and a half years of a dude checking the site from work at lunchtime or a break, all of a sudden logs in and finds he can no longer access it and brings it to my attention as if it were something I've done differently, I of course had to sleuth out what happened.

I was curious if the fact that I ran this the same week he got blocked:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... #p12119145

to add a bunch of bots properly to my forum would have been the trigger that got him shut out of the website, or if it was on his end and his employer was just tightening their grip on their personal network. I still don't know the answer for certain. But I'm leaning towards it being on his end and not mine.

I also apologize if I posted this in the incorrect forum. :cry:
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Pony99CA » Wed May 09, 2012 1:41 am

Lightfeather wrote:No you didn't miss it, I didn't put it down because it didn't seem relevant in context but I'll PM it to you because I'm curious to find out what the site has been classified as.
We're blocking your site, too. I don't know if we use Ironport, though.
Our Web Security wrote: This Page Cannot Be Displayed
( http://www.example.com/redcated )

The site you requested is blocked under the web category "Games".

You can:
Submit a site review request to your network administrator.

Use your browser's Back button or enter a different Web address to continue.
Lightfeather wrote:I was curious if the fact that I ran this the same week he got blocked:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... #p12119145

to add a bunch of bots properly to my forum would have been the trigger that got him shut out of the website, or if it was on his end and his employer was just tightening their grip on their personal network. I still don't know the answer for certain. But I'm leaning towards it being on his end and not mine.
I'm the author of that script. The only way that it could cause a problem is if Ironport checked the results of one of those added bots and if the bots had more permissions than guests. As you said that you have bots set to not see the Arcade, I doubt that the second condition applies.

Everybody on the board should be in the Registered users group with two exceptions -- Bots and Anonymous (Guests). So unless you added bots to another group, I don't think that running my script caused this.

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Lightfeather
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Wed May 09, 2012 2:10 am

Nope, I checked that first. Bots are restricted like guests. Possibly even to a greater degree as many radio buttons are in the NEVER section rather than just the "No".

I guess because most of the forums are about current or past games that we've played as a group, we got categorized as a game site. Which isn't untrue in the sense that we talk about games. With category titles like "Guild Wars 2 - No monthly fee! *And there was much rejoicing...*" and "The Old Republic - -Waves Hand- This is not the forum you are looking for." as well as "World of Warcraft - 'Cry "Havoc", and let spill the Grog of War!'", I can see how we'd have been parsed as such.

I just find it curious that facebook wouldn't get blocked as a "game" site since you can waste hours on there playing games, moreso than on my forum. The same user who is now blocked from my forum has full access to facebook and can play farmville till his virtual cows come home.

What is this site classified as? I mean the www.phpbb.com. Is there a "forum" classification? I wonder if I can get myself reclassified as just a forum because really, that's what we are. We just happen to TALK about games.
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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Pony99CA » Wed May 09, 2012 2:59 am

Lightfeather wrote:What is this site classified as? I mean the http://www.phpbb.com. Is there a "forum" classification? I wonder if I can get myself reclassified as just a forum because really, that's what we are. We just happen to TALK about games.
I've seen sites classified as "social networking", but not "forum".

As for getting reclassified, you'll probably have to talk to Ironport (and maybe other Web filtering companies).

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Re: My forum is being blocked by Ironport web security

Post by Lightfeather » Wed May 09, 2012 3:40 am

What a clustermuck this has been so far. So I went to the Cisco website and after digging around I finally found this page:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2103436

In which the user is directed to this url to submit a petition for website reclassification because I would like to be unclassified as a "Gaming" site, which is reserved for things like online casinos etc and REclassified as an online community. Which is more applicable (and also not blocked my my friends workplace).

So I click this link:

https://securityhub.cisco.com/web/submit_urls

and I am told I must register to access that page. After a few failed attempts at registering and one success I finally navigate back to the page only to be presented with this error:

"Sorry!!! Uncorrect Ironport contract, please open a ticket with support."

I'm just having a bear of a time getting in touch with these guys. =/
"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."

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