What is Whitelisting?

Cyber SecurityAnti VirusSafe & Security

A "whitelist" is a list of organizations that have been approved for permitted access or privileged membership in a certain region of the computer world. These entities might be electronic groups or organizations, restricted websites, or even email addresses. A whitelist may also refer to an actionable promotion or recognition of a company, organization, or individual. This is also known as an "approved list."

  • Whitelists are sometimes used by Internet Service Providers to safeguard their consumers. Commercial, non-commercial, local area network (LAN), program, and application whitelists are all examples of whitelists.

  • Whitelisting, rather than blacklisting problematic websites, is seen as a proactive action. Whitelisting is a method of allowing access to relevant and secure websites that may be used instead of anti-malware software.

  • In case of emails, a whitelist is a list of email addresses that are deemed acceptable and hence are not filtered out.

  • Similarly, application whitelists are used as a safeguard to ensure that only safe apps are allowed that do not jeopardize computer functioning or security.

  • Institutions such as public schools utilize organizational whitelists to ensure that their pupils are protected from hazardous websites. Only those sites that support organizational goals, such as those that aid students with school tasks, may be allowed, or whitelisted, by these organizations.

  • Advertisers use commercial whitelists to ensure that their favored consumers receive the material they want. Non-profit organizations can also create non-commercial whitelists.

The antithesis of a whitelist, a blacklist is a list of things that are rejected, shunned, or unacknowledged in the computer world.

How Does Whitelisting Work?

A whitelist is maintained by an IT administrator and is based on a set of tight policies.

  • When an administrator is certain about access rights, employing a whitelist eliminates the need for extra knowledge about components that are not allowed since they are forbidden by default.

  • Administrators create a list of approved sources, destinations, or programs that users need access to, and then apply it to a network appliance, desktop or server software, or operating systems.

  • The network device or server then monitors user, device, or application requests and only permits access to whitelisted services after being configured. All additional services sought are turned down.

While the whitelist allows access to and communication with particular allowed apps or services, prohibited requests include those that fulfil the following criteria −

  • They are either software or harmful code, such as malware, advanced persistent threats, or ransomware.

  • They include content that violate business internet usage restrictions.

  • They may result in sensitive information being leaked to the public and inadvertently supports the use of shadow IT.

Updated on 18-Apr-2022 11:47:28