Featured Freeware: K9 Web Blocker

K9 Web Blocker gives parents peace of mind by providing a Web site logger and blocker in one effective tool, but comes up short on one key piece of kid protection.

For a free Internet filter, K9 Web Blocker does its job well, providing a broad collection of options for customizing your remote Web supervision needs. The app comes with a handful or so of predesigned filters and an option to customize. With more than 50 categories for organizing Web sites, and the keyword-free proprietary K9 rating system, the Web monitoring and blocking aspects of the software functioned well. K9 also has categories for blocking sites that have been detected as potential malware threats. Equally impressive--and a little bit scary--was the log that detailed not just blocked Web sites but also every Web site visited.

K9 does have some drawbacks. The only big one is that there's no chatware filter, which leaves holes for predation. Other less serious problems include Web site-only registration, and a control panel accessible only via the Internet. Uninstalling the app requires three laborious steps, and it's possible--although not likely--that an enterprising user could disable K9 on a shared computer because the password is e-mailed to the person who registered the program.