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The Webwasher AG was in Paderborn -based software company from an idea of Siemens AG has emerged. In 1998 the company developed one of the first successful ad blockers , the Webwasher .

Webwasher was acquired by Cyberguard Corporation in 2004, which was acquired by Secure Computing in January 2006 . Secure Computing was acquired by McAfee in November 2008. In 2011, Intel took over McAfee, since 2017 McAfee has been registered as an independent company again. The product is now available again under the McAfee Web Gateway brand and specializes in enterprise content security products. These include the URL filter, anti-virus modules for web and e-mail, and SSL scanning. Development and technical customer support are still based in Paderborn .


The first, original product is a pop-up and ad blocker released in December 1998 called Webwasher Classic . The program is now available as freeware for Microsoft Windows , but is no longer maintained.

The program installs itself as a proxy on the local PC and configures the browser accordingly so that it only accesses the Internet via the Webwasher as a proxy. This enables the Webwasher Classic to analyze the content of the pages called up and filter out pop-ups and advertisements. In addition, the user can also enter his own list of URLs , which are then generally blocked by the program.

Furthermore was Webwasher SCM in the portfolio. This software was also a proxy that communicates with the internal ICAP server in order to scan the content accessed via it . This made it possible to filter URLs on a database basis, virus scan, malicious code filtering, etc. As an SSL proxy, the product could also open the SSL data stream and scan its contents.

Since the takeover in 2008, Webwasher has been under the name McAfee Web Gateway in version 6 and is offered as a new development in version 7 and is also available as an appliance , virtual solution and for blade servers . The solution can also be used as a reverse proxy to secure websites. The original version 6 has since been discontinued.


While the program received positive reviews from the trade press and was relatively widespread among Internet users, there was also negative criticism from some private website operators who organized themselves under the slogan “Wash and go”. They accused the Siemens concern of making the operation of small websites impossible with its program, which are dependent on advertising income. Ultimately, there is a threat that the Internet will be dominated by financially strong corporations, and users of the program have been accused of having a “scrounger” mentality. In some cases, the allegation of copyright infringement due to the website being changed by the webwasher was also raised, and Siemens was called for a boycott.

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Coordinates: 51 ° 43 ′ 32.7 "  N , 8 ° 47 ′ 43"  E