Security software firm Sophos launched its first web control appliance today.

Using URL filtering the WS1000 device aims to protect businesses by blocking access to malicious websites. The product also defends users against those sites where additional code is downloaded, should they become infected with a trojan, according to Sophos.

"This is the next generation. Researchers at Sophos are always scouring the web looking for new malicious code and this intelligence is built into the appliance," said Graham Cluley, chief technology consultant at Sophos.

"Virus writers are very active and security firms need to be proactive in preventing the bad stuff coming in."

Steve Munford, CEO, Sophos, claimed the new WS1000 is the first complete web security control platform. "Our ability to track billions of web pages for malicious code means that organisations can deploy the most comprehensive defence against all threats," he said.

The software built into the new appliance also allows system administrators to control what employees browse on the web to enhance productivity. Cluley said: "For too long the lunatics have run the asylum. Users have been able to download and install what they like, and make their own decisions. But, in a corporate environment it has to be the IT team that make that decision."