Is Websense Database corrupted?

When I got a chance to test the Websense Web Filter product in an environment, I found very strange issue with the database. I even cross verified  and confirmed it with their LIVE database (Using Site Lookup Tool). Then I immediately reported to their Websense Support and got a reply too. It was a great fun to share this here! Tongue

Before that What is Websene Web Filter?
Websense scans millions of websites per day and categorize them under  a common 90+ categories in their database. Some of the categories are
(categories are numbered only for our understanding)

  • Category 1: Games – Sites that provide information about or promote electronic games, video games, computer games, role-playing games, or online games. Includes sweepstakes and giveaways.
  • Category 2: Gambling – Sites that provide information about or promote gambling or support online gambling, involving a risk of losing money.
  • Category 3: Entertainment – Sites that provide information about or promote motion pictures, non-news radio and television, books, humor, and magazines.
  • MP3 and Audio Download Services – Sites that support downloading of MP3 or other sound files or that serve as directories of such sites.

Note: Read here to know about Complete List of Websense Web Filter Categories- URL Categories

Once we subscribe to websense, the database provides for the organization gateway-based protection from various Web threats via the categorization. Anyhow that is completely different story on how to use it for gateway. So like this, Websense has categorized millions of websites under this 90+ categories and stores in a database. Websense says “With more than 90 URL categories and over 36 million Web sites representing more than 50 languages, the Websense Master Database is the industry’s most accurate, current and comprehensive classification of URLs.”

But what I found was very funny. Their own website was categorized as NONE and the world largest search engine, Google, was stated as Network Errors; Miscellaneous

My Email to Websense Team:-

——————-Original Email—————————————
From: *******
Sent: 4/23/2009 4:30:46 AM
To: Websense DB Update
Subject: Websense shows wrong categories for their own website
Dear Websense,

******c*******doing testing on Security products and providing valuable feeback

**(hidden)**find a strange categorization behaviour from yesterday. Lot of sites are categorized as NONE. To my surprise, even “” is categorized as NONE. Howcome! LOL ! even your own website is categorized as NONE. Then I tried some random websites and found strange results… – categorized as NONE – Network Errors; Miscellaneous

Then I tried in Websense > Site Lookup and Suggestion Tool, but it was showing something else

Category Results: Help

Category Database Version
Miscellaneous Websense Enterprise 93287
Miscellaneous Websense Web Filter 3289

My Websense Category db details
Previous download:
Websense download at: 2009/04/22 07:08:40 +0300
Downloading from
Processing download file
Retrieved update to version: 83287
Download size: 11635987
Database version: 83287
Database date: 2009-04-21
License expires: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 21:00:00 UTC
License max users: 50
Licenses in use: 51
Library version: [BCSI rev A]

After this, i downloaded latest version but same problem

Download log:
Websense download at: 2009/04/23 13:35:23 +0300
Downloading from
Processing download file
Retrieved update to version: 83288
Download size:      16167379
Database version:   83288
Database date:      2009-04-22
License expires:    Tue, 30 Mar 2010 21:00:00 UTC
License max users:  50
Licenses in use:    51
Library version: [BCSI rev A]
I thought that I should bring this to your notice for immediate action.



Email Reply from Websense

Thank you for writing to Websense.

The sites you submitted have been reviewed.  They are appropriately classified and filtered accordingly: – Does not resolve to an IP at this time, therefor it is being filtered as Network Errors – Search Engines and Portals

This has been verified using the latest database publication which will be available for download shortly.

To ensure proper filtering of these sites and others, please make sure that your Websense product is configured to download database updates regularly.

If you continue to have problems with these sites being incorrectly filtered, please let us know.

Thank you for your inquiry,

The Websense Database Services Staff
Friday, April 24, 2009 7:41:21 AM

Very funny…right? They have not categorized properly their own website and Google.

2 thoughts on “Is Websense Database corrupted?

Leave a Reply