Black List Removal: how to save your IP reputation

The growing volume of Internet traffics constantly increases the probability that users visit dangerous websites, compromising the IP reputation of their own IPs

Today, the growing volume of Internet traffics constantly increases the probability that users visit dangerous websites and forward undesired contents, compromising the IP reputation of their own IPs and asking Internet Service Providers to continuously advance requests for Black List Removal, with a consequent increase in the amount of time and resources dedicated to this issue.
In this article we will see in detail how to solve this problem.

1. “IP Reputation and removal” from blacklists

The IP public address – or range of IP addresses – is assigned to the router connected to the Internet connection and identifies unequivocally the device that requires access to the net and directs the incoming and outgoing traffic. Obviously, this is valid both for IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

Every day, several tens of thousands of addresses and ranges of this type end up in international blacklists because of dangerous or incorrect behaviors by the connected users, creating genuine problems in communications (es. sending of Spam, access to websites deemed illegal, etc.).

But let’s see together what IP Reputation specifically means. The different global Authorities continuously analyze the quality and integrity of data transiting in the web, both incoming and outgoing, they attribute a ranking and classify as trustworthy sources of traffic the IP addresses that exchange certified and safe data. Technically speaking, the “reputation” of an IP address is compromised when, either in an aware or unaware mode, the users carry out actions that damage other devices connected to the public net.

As a consequence, if sufficient precautions are not adopted, it is very easy to receive a penalizing ranking by the competent Authorities.
This evaluation is highly sensitive to several factors, such as random sending of emails, web navigation towards dangerous websites or inappropriate contents. The presence of breaches in perimetral security has an effect on the ranking as well, since some protocols could be exploited without us knowing, leading to the exposure to viruses and hacking attempts.

We shall not forget that IP Reputation influences that of all the users who navigate and visit that Public IP on the web. This means that all problems penalize hundreds of lower-level connections that are safe, trustworthy and certified. For example, some service providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. can reject accesses coming from IP addresses that are part of blacklists Black List Removal that require several days before they are accepted. And if the malicious traffic present online is not healed quickly, removing it later will be much more difficult and postponed in time.

2. Problems caused by a compromised IP reputation

Numerous problems arise once the IP Reputation has been compromised and the IP has been added to a Blacklist:

» The first problem pertains to email traffic, hence the outgoing communications from the Server, which could end up in SPAM. If the IP is compromised, both important communications to customers and advertisements result as stemming from an email domain deemed little trustworthy, and therefore could end up in undesired mail, which is often not considered. The damage consists in unread messages and in the jeopardizing of marketing investments. On top of this, there is a loss of public image for the sender, who will appear as untrustworthy to the eyes of those who discover his messages in the spam folder.

» A second problem, very common problem is CAPTCHA, which is required when you wish to access a page in order to verify and certify the access of the user, and that results in several slow down in content use.

» A third problem, still, exists for the users who want to play Streaming contents online and through SmartTVs, since among their checks they also include IP Reputation. If the public address is listed in specific blacklists, it can be impossible for the user to access the requested contents.

What the industry experts see is that the increase in the number of devices that enjoy Internet access is mirrored by an increase in the possibility to receive a bad IP Reputation. Global Black lists as well are applying rules and classification criteria that are more and more severe and strict, making the process of Black List Removal more and more difficult and in some cases even arduous.

The problem is becoming difficult to manage, especially in Organizations where the net and connected devices are available for several people. For this reason, Internet Service Providers prefer to adopt preventive measures and especially professional navigation filters, otherwise they will shortly have compromised IP addresses, difficult to rectify.

An intelligence that applies advanced technologies of Web Filtering like FlashStart is the first, essential stem in the prevention of IP Reputation problems and towards reducing the requests for Black List Removal, which hassle IT workers every day.

>> FlashStart is Multi-tenant and fast to install ? Request a quotation or try it now

3. How to require Black List removal

Black List Removal refers to the set of processes, actions and requests adopted in order to remove a Public IP Address from Global Black Lists.
Differently from personal or providers’ blacklists, which block at the private level only some contacts or specific suppliers, global blacklists are public and available for all the ISPs in the world. They are often used by navigation or incoming email filters. The result is that an IP compromised by the inclusion in a blacklist is excluded from most of the communications.

The procedures for Black List Removal should be executed paying attention to suggested instructions available on popular websites such as MxToolBox, DNSBL and SPAMHAUS, which permit the re-evaluation of the IP Reputation of an Internet Network.

Every blacklist adopts different procedures for Black List Removal. In some cases they are easy since it is enough to restore IP Reputation, hence securitizing the net, to be classified again as a trustworthy source of traffic. Sometimes, on the other hand, such practices require complex iters with long presentation and acceptance periods.
The real problem is a request for removal that is repeated in time since this represents an obstacle for cancellation from the lists of “dirty IPs”.

Internet service suppliers make available to their users a specific number of IPs. If they end up in black list, they can ask for removal, but every time they do so the waiting time for removal becomes longer and longer until total compromission is reached, which implies a costly substitution with clean IPs.

For this reason, the more efficient solution is that of intervening with prevention measures by monitoring traffic and by exploiting the same global playlists with a navigation intelligence that is always updated and forbids users from accessing such addresses and hence from compromising their IP reputation.

>> If you are already using FlashStart, read this guide that explains how to extend Blacklists for Internet DNS filtering

4. How can I keep my IP clean?

To correctly approach a preventive maintenance of IP Reputation you need to be aware about the fact that the IP address is involved in every Internet navigation process, email, message on all social platforms.

To avoid having to ask for Black List Removal, the first step can therefore be that of managing internal traffic in your net using a navigation filter that allows you to block ex-ante, forbidding DNS resolution, access to websites considered malicious, infected, illegal and that include inappropriate contents that are subject to warning in international blacklists and could be a way to be the target of Viruses and Hacking attacks, compromising IP Reputation.

DNS intelligence, hence, is the easiest and cheapest tool an Internet service provider can adopt to shield ex-ante the traffic of his users and keep up a good reputation for its IP addresses.

DNS filtering hence plays a fundamental role in avoiding having to resort to Black List Removal.
Several Web Filter solutions are available, but in the next section we will see what made us define FlashStart as the most thorough one.

>> You can activate the DNS protection of FlashStart® Cloud on all types of Routers and Firewalls to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks

5. FlashStart:the perfect solution to avoid continuous requests for Black List Removal

If you wish to control and keep your IP Reputation, monitoring is needed and the ideal choice is to apply a filter at the DNS level. Filtering using the Domain Name Service is essential in order to keep a correct Cyber Security within the Net. At the same time, it is also more efficient for the purpose of IP Reputation preservation, since it intervenes before URL opening.

It is important for the supplier to update in real time, through automatic spiders, the database, since every day thousands of dangerous websites and pages are born. The FlashStart DNS filter is cloud based, with 85 different black list categories that are continuously updated using Artificial Intelligence.

The global distribution through Anycast network, with several data centers in all continents, grants stability and record speed, often faster than Google itself. Therefore, users will not even notice the presence of the filter until they visit a dangerous website and discover they have been blocked. Moreover, since it is cloud-based, it cannot be deactivated, not even by the most skilled users.

A very important aspect is the wide range of possibilities and ease of personalization and integration. For example, the FlashStart solution is one of the few that provides integration with Microsoft Active Directory and allows for granular filtering, hence it can block in a selective way the categories, applying different policies to different user groups. It is easy to install, compatible with whatever device, and multitenant, hence it allows the management of all customers through a unique interface.

Finally, another interesting and useful feature is the exclusive “Geoblocking” function by FlashStart, which forbids access to websites that are based in specific territories, traditionally considered dangerous.

Several FlashStart partners, both end users and Internet Service Providers, have left positive feedbacks about the results obtained after some days or weeks of DNS protection, proving that keeping the IP Reputation through a professional Intelligence is the most efficient way to avoid to continuously need Black List Removal.

>> FlashStart is a leader in competitiveness ? Request a quotation or try it now

You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks. 

Reading time 3 min
Andrea NotaroFlashStart Head of Partner’s network
Unlock enhanced digital security and growth potential by becoming a valued partner in our global DNS filtering journey.

View all posts by Andrea Notaro

Unlock enhanced digital security and growth potential by becoming a valued partner in our global DNS filtering journey.
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