The company I work at uses zscaler to restrict access to certain websites.

Earlier today, I tried to visit pastebin.com, but got the error message in the picture below:

Website blocked. Not allowed to browse SHN-High Risk Services category. You tried to visit:https://pastebin.com/

Trying to google why pastebin is considered a high risk service, I didn't really find much, except this one blog post which talks about certain hacker groups pasting sensitive data to the site.

This alone doesn't seem like a very strong reason to block the site, as there should be a multitude of other options for making information public. What am I missing here?

  • You might have to talk to your IT team to ask why they think it is a high-risk service.
    – schroeder
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 10:27
  • Is "SHN" your company?
    – schroeder
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 10:30
  • Oh, I thought it'd be a feature of zscaler, not my local IT. I can see how it would be off-topic for this site if it is the latter @schroeder
    – eirikdaude
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 10:31
  • My company is Norsk Hydro. I haven't seen SHN as an abbreviation for it, or any of its subsidiaries, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist... @schroeder
    – eirikdaude
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 10:33
  • zscaler does automatically classify URLs, but this looks like a custom classification.
    – schroeder
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 10:33

1 Answer 1


This depends on your company's risk management strategies and security policies and, therefore, is entirely environmental rather than Pastebin being publicly rated as a high risk service.

Information Security SE might be a high risk service, too: after all you are able to share potentially confidential details on your company's security policy here. Likewise, Pastebin allows leaking information like source code or configuration files and make it publicly available. From this perspective, the decision seems reasonable and possibly even experiential.

  • Yes, many organizations block access to any uncontrolled ingress/egress service. How effective that is is a whole other discussion. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 16:34
  • The more the users are restricted, the worse alternatives they'll come up trying to circumvent it. Therefore, the best way to prevent them from using unwanted tools is to provide better permitted tools. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 18:50

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