VPN service Windscribe has spent the last four months working on an update to its integrated server-side domain blocking tool, R.O.B.E.R.T. This feature is designed to block various malware, ad and tracking domains at DNS level on all Windscribe servers, and is included in all of the provider’s custom apps.
An article published on Windscribe’s website claims that all the limitations of the original R.O.B.E.R.T. “have been mitigated”, and a whole host of new features have also been added. It remains unavailable on Windscribe’s browser extensions.
Perhaps the most notable new addition is individually toggleable block lists, which allows users to enable or disable specific block lists. This means they’re no longer restricted to the ‘block levels’ seen in the original version, but can rather select from eight different categories.
Each blocking category is made up of multiple block lists that Windscribe has combined into one. It has also removed a large number of false positive domains via its hand curated whitelist. The categories are: Malware, Ads & Trackers, Social, Porn, Gambling, Fake News, Cryptominers and Other VPNs.
The Malware blocker is automatically enabled, but you’ll have to visit the My Account section on Windscribe’s website to toggle the rest of the categories on or off as you see fit. There’s also a tab called ‘Custom Rules’ which allows you to block or whitelist up to 1,000 different specific domains. This means that even if you turn on the Social Media blocker, you can still access sites such as Facebook or Twitter if you add them to your custom whitelist.
It’s also a useful tool for companies that use Windscribe as their business VPN, as it enables them to block employees from accessing a whole range of harmful sites, but permits them to filter through the safe ones.
All these changes to R.O.B.E.R.T are now live, meaning there’s no need for users to wait or reconnect to the VPN before updates take effect.