Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Part 2: Forefront TMG URL Filtering

Following up on part 1 regarding Forefront TMG user authentication on AD mode, this part would look into URL content filtering feature. By default when URL filter is enabled during the startup wizard, TMG will block access to certain undesirable sites, including porno, gambling, malware etc.

Quite often, when you visit free news sites, you would be greeted with anonying Web Advertisements (Web Ads). And you wish to block them. Let's take a popular free news site at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/. Immediately, you will be seeing Web Ads on its top banner:


You can configure TMG to add Web Ads URL category into the block list. On the TMG console, right click on the "Web Access Policy" and choose "Configure Web Access Policy" on the context menu.

When the wizard starts, choose "No, do not create the rule for me" on the first page. On the next page (Blocked Web Destinations), click "Add", expand the "URL categories". Add "Web Ads" item. 


Complete the rest of the wizard as in default options. Apply the new changes. When you restart the client Web browser and visit the same Web site again, you'll notice that most (if not all) of the Web ads are gone.


New Site Categories Reporting in Service Pack 1
Among the new features in Service Pack 1, the new User Activity report displays the sites and site categories accessed by any user. All Forefront TMG reports also have a new look and feel. Reports can be generated one-time or recurrently. For example, you can see a sample one-time generated report for top visited URL categories as follows:


Rooms for Improvement in Reporting
Nevertheless, I still find the reporting features quite basic and lacking, as I couldn't find any filtering and search options in the report generation. 

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