Website categories employers don’t want you to visit

Cybersecurity experts say that blocking certain websites lowers the risk of cyberattacks and removes distractions

  • Up to 72% of employers block malware and adult websites.
  • Phishing websites are blocked by 70% of employers, while gambling ones – by 43%.
  • Information or sales related to drugs websites are blocked by 37% of IT managers

 According to data collected by the cybersecurity company NordLayer, a significant portion of employers (72%) block malicious and adult websites. Malicious websites can pose severe security threats by spreading malware, while adult websites are often restricted due to concerns over inappropriate content and potential productivity loss. Gambling sites are blocked by 43% of employers, likely due to concerns over addiction and productivity loss.

Research shows that the Domain Name System (DNS) filtering feature is also used for blocking phishing, cryptojacking, illegal, and DDoS as a Service (DaaS) websites. This way, employers try to protect their networks and systems from cyber threats and illegal activities.

“In today’s threat landscape, where cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, DNS filtering plays a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive data, maintaining regulatory compliance, and preserving the integrity of organizational networks,” says Carlos Salas, a cybersecurity expert at NordLayer.

Employers seek to maintain a professional work environment

Besides just blocking adult websites, many managers take a step further to maintain a professional work environment. For example, 30% block dating sites, 28% do not allow access to sex education websites, and about 12% of employers even block lingerie sites.

Information or sales related to drugs websites are blocked by 37% of IT managers. Interestingly, 21% of employers block VPN websites, likely to prevent employees from circumventing network restrictions and accessing blocked content, which could pose security risks or productivity concerns.

“To lower distractions from work and promote productivity, 19% of IT managers restrict access to gaming websites because they can be time-consuming and embedded with ads and hyperlinks to other malicious websites. Additionally, celebrity news websites and social media are blocked by 8% and 7% of employers, respectively,” adds Salas.

Employer restriction priorities in different regions

When examining internet access policies across different regions, notable variations emerge in terms of the categories receiving the highest restrictions. In Europe, businesses exhibit the greatest inclination to block adult content websites, with 67% of employers imposing such restrictions.

North America prioritizes mitigating security risks by having the highest percentage (70%) of employers blocking access to malware websites. Asia stands out with a distinct emphasis on curbing access to illegal or unethical content, as evidenced by 73% of employers restricting websites within this category.

Intriguingly, Asian businesses demonstrate a stricter approach towards gambling and gaming websites compared to their European and North American counterparts. While 64% of Asian employers block gambling sites, the figures stand at 37% and 38% for Europe and North America, respectively. Similarly, 36% of Asian organizations restrict access to gaming websites, contrasting with considerably lower rates of 9% in Europe and 20% in North America.

Another noteworthy regional disparity lies in the treatment of dating websites. European and North American employers exhibit relatively comparable stances, with 25% and 28% blocking this category, respectively. However, Asian businesses adopt a more restrictive policy, with 45% of employers denying access to dating sites.

What is DNS filtering and why is it important?

As mentioned, DNS filtering works by intercepting website requests and subjecting them to additional security checks. If a requested site is found on a blocklist or identified as malicious, the DNS resolver blocks the request, preventing access and mitigating potential cybersecurity risks. Managers can choose what types of content shouldn’t be accessible by employees on company-managed networks and the DNS filters will do the rest.

Cybersecurity expert Carlos Salas explains why DNS filtering is important: 

  • It prevents people from accessing malicious websites, which might lead to ransomware, phishing, or cryptojacking attacks.
  • This feature allows organizations to enforce internet usage policies, control access to inappropriate or non-work-related content, and optimize network performance.
  • Blocking specific website categories improves the security of company and sensitive data in general.

“DNS filtering is a critical component of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. By blocking access to malicious and inappropriate websites, employers can significantly reduce the risk of malware infections and security breaches on their networks,” says Salas.


The statistics mentioned above were acquired by analyzing aggregated data gathered by NordLayer’s DNS filtering service in February 2024. No identifiable business or user information was collected, reviewed, or otherwise involved when the research and compiled results were conducted.