Jul 8 2003
Intego ContentBarrier X
The Internet is a welcome source of all kinds of information. However, when youngsters’ innocence or the company’s productivity is on the line, some of the Internet’s information can become quite undesirable.
There are as many reasons to filter Internet access as there are sleazy sites on it. Thankfully, there are many filtering suites out there. I think you’ll find, as I did, that ContentBarrier is among the best.
First off, Content Barrier is OS X native. It runs so unobtrusively in the background that you won’t notice it’s there. It works on a low level, so it is not dependent on your browser type. It can also intercept chat and email.
ContentBarrier is an easy, quick install. A portion of it runs all the time as a faceless system extension. It also sports an attractive, animated interface in which you can specifically define what and how much content you wish to block. These controls are secured by the system administrator password, with an optional second password.
Among the options are to block content by topic or by specific URL. In the anti-predatory chat filter, there are a set of predatory phrases in several languages. As with the web content, you can add your own customized keywords or phrases. You can export your custom settings as profiles for backup, other users or use on another machine.
One of the more unique features in this program is its ability to control what times users are allowed to use the Internet. With user-based settings you can specify different levels of control for different people as well. You can even set up email notifications of violation attempts.
ContenBarrier also keeps a log of violation attempts, so you’ll know who’s been naughty or nice. This is handy when troubleshooting as well. You will find that its settings tend to error on the conservative side. For the first few days of use, you will find yourself tweaking the “trusted sites” list until you have achieved the balance you’re looking for. That said, compared to other solutions, ContentBarrier is very low-maintenance.
If there is a shortcoming in this application, it is in the log. While it lists offending sites and times, it gives you no indication of why the email or web site was blocked. In chat, the anti-predator defense tells you specially which phrase was not allowed. The help system could be a bit better developed as well.
All in all this is a very thorough application. For a first OS X version, it is stable and well suited for the system. This one will only get better with time.
MSRP: $59.95 5-User Pack: $179.95
Also available as part of the Intego Internet Security Barrier suite for $99.95