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What is whitelisting?

What is whitelisting?
Sep 27, 2022
Whitelisting is a term that refers allowing digital apps or websites to operate on your devices. However, you need to be careful while using whitelisting. Let's learn the details first, and then you will be able decide when you need to use whitelisting.
Dilara Yavuz
Cyber Security
What is Whitelisting? How Does Whitelisting Work? - FastVPN
In the digital age, there are many dangers lurking on the internet. Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit unsuspecting users. This is why it’s important to know how to protect yourself online. One way to do this is by using whitelisting software, which allows you to only authorize specific programs or websites to run on your computer. This can help keep your computer safe from malware and other online threats. So, if you’re not sure what whitelisting is or how it can help protect you, read on for more information.

How does Whitelisting work?

Whitelisting is a security term that describes the process of allowing only specific items or actions while blocking all others. This can be done manually, by entering specific addresses, websites, or applications into a whitelist, or automatically, by enabling malware detection software. That uses whitelisting as one of its security features.
When used in the context of computer security. Whitelisting is a valuable tool for preventing malicious software and unauthorized access to systems and data. Malware can prevent from running by adding the executable file to a whitelist, which will allow only authorized programs to run on the system. Similarly, websites can allow to open in browsers only if they are on a pre-approved list. This prevents accidental exposure to malicious content, phishing attacks, and other online threats.
Whitelisting can also be use to restrict user access to specific applications or data. For example, a company might want to allow employees to access only the applications they need for their work duties and nothing else. Or, a parent might want to whitelist only certain websites that are appropriate for their children to visit. In both cases, the goal is to protect users from harm while still allowing them to do the things they need to do.
Overall, whitelisting is a powerful security tool that can help protect systems and data from malicious actors. By limiting what software can run on a system and which websites can be accesse. Whitelisting can help to reduce the tracking risk.

What is Blacklisting?

Blacklisting is the act of adding a domain name or IP address to a list of URLs that are not allowed to be accessed. This is usually done to protect users from malicious content, such as malware or viruses. Blacklisting can also use to prevent access to certain websites or services.
Some common reasons for blacklisting include:
  • The website contains illegal or infringing content
  • It is known to spread malware or virus.
  • The website is engage in spamming or other unethical marketing practices
  • The website is known to involved in phishing activities
Blacklisting can have a significant impact on businesses. As it can restrict access to important web resources and make it difficult for customers to find them online. In some cases, businesses may be able to get their website remove from a blacklist by addressing the reasons for inclusion. However, this can be a time-consuming and difficult process. And there is no guarantee that the website will be removed. As such, it is important to take steps to avoid being blacklisted in the first place. Some tips for avoiding blacklisting include:
  • Regularly scan your website for malware and viruses
  • Make sure your website is not engaged in spamming or other unethical marketing practices
  • Ensure that your website does not contain illegal or infringing content
  • Be aware of phishing activities and take steps to protect your customers’ information

Different Types of Whitelisting

There are many different types of whitelisting, but they all have one goal in common. To allow only specific, approved users or items access to a system or network. Some of the most common types of whitelisting include:
  1. User Whitelisting
  1. Email Whitelisting
  1. Application Whitelisting
  1. IP address Whitelisting
  1. Advertising Whitelisting

1. User Whitelisting

User whitelisting is a process that allows only specific users access to a system or network. This can be done through manual entry of user names and passwords. Or by using automated methods such as Active Directory or LDAP. Application whitelisting is a process that allows only specific applications to run on a system. This can be done by manually adding the applications to a list, or by using an automated tool such as AppLocker.
Email whitelisting is a process that allows only specific email senders and recipients to send emails to a system. This can be done by adding the email addresses to a list, or by using an automated tool such as Spamhaus. IP address whitelisting is a process that allows only specific IP addresses access to a system or network. This can be done by adding the IP addresses to a list, or by using an automated tool.

2. Email Whitelisting

Email whitelisting is a security measure that allows you to approve specific email addresses or domains. So that all messages from those senders will be delivered straight to your inbox, without going through the spam filter. This is a great way to ensure that you always receive important messages from your contacts. While keeping your inbox free from unwanted junk mail.

How Does it Work?

To set up email whitelisting for a specific sender, open the message and click on the “More” button (the three dots in Gmail). Then, select “Add sender to contacts” and confirm by clicking “Yes”. The sender will then added to your approved list. And all future messages from them will deliver to your inbox automatically.
You can also add entire domains to your whitelist, which will allow all messages from those domains to bypass the spam filter. To do this, open your email client and navigate to the “Settings” or “Preferences” menu. Then, look for the “Whitelisted Domains” or “Trusted Senders and Recipients” section and add the desired domain(s).

Types of Email Whitelisting

Email whitelisting has 2 main types. Both types of whitelisting have benefits and drawbacks.
  • Non-commercial Whitelisting: This is a type of email whitelisting where only certain types of non-commercial transactions allow. This whitelisting can be helpful in protecting against spam and fraud. However, non-commercial whitelisting can also be limiting to scams or fraudulent activities.
  • Commercial Whitelisting: This is a type of email whitelisting that allows transactions from a wider range of businesses or organizations. Commercial whitelisting can help businesses grow and reach new customers. It can be more vulnerable to scams or fraudulent activities.

3. Application Whitelisting

In computing, application whitelisting is a security technique that allows only authorized applications to run on a computer. It is the opposite of application blacklisting. Which allows only authorized applications to run while rejecting all others.

How Can it Help Protect Your Organization?

Application whitelisting is seen as a more secure approach to managing software than application blacklisting. As it is more difficult for malware to escape detection. It can also help to improve performance. As only authorized applications are allow to run on the system.
There are a number of different approaches to implementing application whitelisting, including:
  • Using software Restriction Policies on Microsoft Windows systems
  • AppLocker on Windows 7 and above
  • Alternatively, whitelisting can perform using a dedicated tool. Such as WhiteListApp or Bit9 Parity.
Organizations that are looking to deploy application whitelisting. They should consider the specific needs of their environment. And ensure that they have the necessary resources in place to manage and maintain the system.

4. IP Whitelisting

IP whitelisting is a process that allows only certain IP addresses to access your network or computer. This is a useful security measure to prevent unauthorized access to your systems and data. IP whitelisting can use in conjunction with other security measures. Such as firewalls and passwords, to provide an extra layer of protection for your systems and data.
There are a few different ways to set up IP whitelisting:
  • One way is to create a list of approved IP addresses and add them to your security software or firewall.
  • Another way is to use a whitelisting service, which is a third-party service. That verifies the IP addresses of devices before allowing them access to your network.

5. Advertising Whitelisting

Advertising whitelisting is a process by which certain advertisements are allow to display on a website. While all others are block. This is done in order to ensure that only the most relevant and appropriate ads are shown to users. While also avoiding the clutter and chaos that can cause by unwanted ads.

How Does it Work?

Whitelisting is typically done by the website owner in conjunction with an advertising network or other advertising partner. In order to whitelist, an advertisement must meet a certain set of criteria. Such as its approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or being from a trusted source. Once an advertisement has been whitelist, it will display on the website whenever possible.
There are a number of benefits to advertising whitelisting.
  • First and foremost, it allows website owners to control the content and appearance of their site.
  • Additionally, by using whitelisted ads, website owners can improve the user experience by reducing clutter and avoiding unwanted distractions.
  • Finally, it can help to improve the overall reputation of a website by associating it with reputable brands and sources.
If you have interest in advertising whitelisting. Then be sure to reach out to your advertising network or partner for more information. They will be able to walk you through the process and help you in starting what you want.

Why Do We Need Whitelisting?

We need whitelisting because it is one of the most effective ways to protect your computer from malware and other unauthorized software. There are many reasons to use it, some are as follows:
  • Whitelisting is one of the most important tools for keeping your computer safe. It is a security feature that allows only authorized programs to run on your computer. This prevents malware and other unauthorized software from running. Which can help protect your computer from infection or data theft.
  • Whitelisting is very important for businesses. Because it can help protect their networks from unauthorized access and malware infection. By only allowing authorized software to run, businesses can reduce the risk of data theft and network disruption.
  • For home users, whitelisting can also be very helpful in protecting your computer from malware infections. By allowing only authorized programs to run, you can help prevent your computer from becoming infected with malicious software. So, this can help keep your computer running smoothly and protect your personal information.

How to Start Whitelisting?

  • The first step is to identify which programs and applications you want to allow through the firewall. After you have determine which programs should be whitelist. You can add them to the approved application list on your computer’s firewall. Depending on your firewall software, the process for adding approved applications will vary.
  • Moreover, some firewalls will have an “approved applications” or “allowed programs” list that you can manually edit. Other firewalls may have an automated process for adding approved applications. For example, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security allows you to add applications to the “approved list” by clicking on the “Add program…” button. And then browse for the executable file of the application you want to add.
  • Once you have added the approved applications to your computer’s firewall. Then the programs will allow through the firewall without any interaction from you. The next time you start your computer, the firewall will automatically allow these programs to communicate with the Internet. If a program is not on the approved list. Then the firewall will block its communication with the Internet. Regardless of whether the program is authorize or not.
Firewalls are an important part of computer security and can help protect your computer from unauthorized access and malware infections. By using a firewall and by adding your trusted applications to the approved application list. You can help keep your computer safe from unwanted intrusions and attacks.
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