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Barracuda Web Security Gateway

How are user browsing time and requests calculated for Barracuda Web Filter reports?

  • Type: Knowledgebase
  • Date changed: one year ago
Solution #00005501

Scope:

Applies to all Barracuda Web Filters, firmware version 4.4 and higher.

 

Answer:


Browsing Time
The Barracuda Web Filter tracks a users Internet activity in the form of "Sessions". A browsing "Session" is a group of Internet requests where the time between two requests is less than the session time-out (3 minutes).
  • The total time spent by a user in a given session is the time from the first request of the session to the last request of the session with the addition of the session time-out (3 minutes).
  • The total time spent by a user browsing within a period is the sum of all session times in that period. Overlapping sessions will be correctly accounted for to avoid double counting.

Example:

Lets say a user visits www.cnn.com at 8:00am and makes Web requests on the minute till 8:05a. After this the next Web request is made at 8:10a and subsequent requests are made on the minute till 8:15a. In this case, the first browing session lasted for 8 minutes (5 + 3) and the second browsing session lasted for 8 minutes (5 + 3).

Referred Requests


The Barracuda Web Filter is configured by default to automatically detect referred requests and account for them appropriately in reports.


What are referred requests? Referred requests are requests that are embedded in a webpage, requests that the browser makes on behalf of the webpage, not the user.

Example:
A site like www.cnn.com embeds requests to Facebook, Twitter etc. Let's say a user, Joe, visits www.cnn.com and spends 15 minutes on the site. While a user might not explicitly click on these links within the cnn.com site, the embedded content makes periodic Web requests. On a report, this can appear as if Joe visited CNN, Facebook and Twitter, and spent 15 minutes on each site. While this is technically accurate, it can misrepresent Joe's actions on reports that are reviewed by his Human Resources department.

In most cases, the Barracuda Web Filter will be intelligent enough to make the distinction between such embedded requests and the actual sites the user visits, and subsequently account for them differently in the reports. Consequently, the reports more accurately reflect the user's actions and therefore are more actionable.

In the case above, with referred requests detected, the "Domains by User" report (for example) will show Joe spending 15 minutes on CNN.com, and not show the embedded requests to Facebook.com and Twitter.com.

Disabling Referred Request Tracking
The Barracuda Web Filter can be configured to show every link the user's browser went to without grouping referred requests. Reports will display a complete list of every request the browser made, but the list may include far more websites visited, greater numbers of requests and higher time spent than one might expect. The configuration you choose should be based on the information you need.
In most cases, you will want to ignore embedded requests. However, if you wish to disable this setting, contact Barracuda Technical Support and ask your representative to turn off referrer tracking.


Additional Notes:
Referred requests will be ignored in reports that list domains visited by users. Referred requests will, however, be accounted for when calculating total bandwidth consumed by a user, because this will be a true representation of how network resources are being used. In the example above, the total bandwidth consumed by Joe will account for the embedded requests to Facebook and Twitter from CNN.com.
Referrer tracking information is provided by each website. If, however, the website admin does not provide referrer information, the Barracuda Web Security Gateway won’t be able to exclude referred requests from the reports generated.

Link to this page:

https://campus.barracuda.com/solution/50160000000IQpaAAG