Web Content Lockbox

WatchGuard's AppLock/Web provides strong, if limited, data protection.

With the current onslaught of worms that take over Windows systems to attack other systems, a little Web page graffiti may seem to be the least of IT security concerns. However, Web site vandalism—whether its obvious defacement or small but insidious changes to company information—can be a big problem for many businesses.

AppLock/Web 1.01, released last month by WatchGuard Technologies Inc., is the latest product to attempt to protect company Web sites from being defaced by automated worms, malicious hackers or disgruntled employees. Unlike competing products such as Lockstep Systems Inc.s WebAgain, which refresh Web content from a protected directory, App-Lock/Web simply makes it impossible to change or rename protected files on the Web site.

eWeek Labs found AppLock/Web to be effective at protecting content from being changed, but we also found some weaknesses in the design of the product that limit its effectiveness. The most obvious weakness is that AppLock/Web can protect only Web sites running on Microsoft Corp. servers and using the IIS (Internet Information Services) Web server. Competitors such as WebAgain can protect Web sites running on any server. Also, although competing products can easily protect several mirrored servers, AppLock/Web would need to be individually installed on each in order to provide protection.

Its also relatively easy for businesses to build home-grown solutions that provide similar protection against site vandalism. For example, many sites have created automated scripts that periodically refresh Web site directories using content in a protected directory. However, like WebAgain, AppLock/ Web is priced low enough, at $595, that businesses might find it worth purchasing simply for the time and effort saved.