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TalkTalk launch HomeSafe Internet security system
Monday 09 May 2011 08:49:15 by John Hunt

TalkTalk have launched their network-level Internet security product today which they are calling HomeSafe. It offers to protect users from nasties on the Internet giving warnings if web pages are infected with a virus or malware. The product has been mentioned before due to its somewhat controversial method of gathering data about what sites are infected by viruses by following users around the Internet and scanning each webpage they visit.

Other options included within this product are 'KidSafe parental controls' which allow the account holder to block categories of content that they don't want their children accessing, such as pornography and gambling sites. A 'Homework time' option lets parents block social network and online gaming websites to ensure that children aren't distracted from doing their homework.

"Our customers tell us that they couldn't imagine living without the internet now, especially given how much their children rely on it for school work and social reasons, but they still worry about the innate risks the internet brings with it. In particular they're concerned about what sort of things their children could stumble across when they're surfing online.

This is especially important now that children are regularly using devices like phones, and not just the main family PC, to access the internet. Our research found that 33% of children aged 12-17 use their mobile phones to surf social networking sites and 29% use it to instant message when at home.

HomeSafe is our answer to this. Of course, it's not a silver bullet and it doesn't absolve parents from the responsibility of knowing what their children are up to online. But our research shows parents understand this. They don't want their ISP to control what content they can or can't access online - they just want their ISP to give them the power to implement settings that are right for their family."

Tristia Clarke, (Commercial Director) TalkTalk

The new HomeSafe option is free to all TalkTalk customers who can choose to adjust the settings at any time to suit their families needs. This new tool is a welcome piece of kit to a parents armoury which will allow them to better manage their children's Internet usage. Of course, it shouldn't be seen as a magic wand as kids are often resourceful at finding ways around restrictions, and educating children about the appropriate use of the Internet remains important.

Comments

Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
All the scare stories about privacy aside as a parent I can see how this would be very useful. No substitute for proper supervision and education but useful nonetheless.
Posted by Hatari over 5 years ago
Unfortunately, Homesafe is not reliable and does not check all the files that talktalk customers accesses on a website, see http://www.broadbandadvice.org.uk/Website/Special%20Articles/Talktalk_Parental_Control_Anti-malware_System.htm
Posted by CommanderZendo over 5 years ago
Is it easy to circumvent by simply dropping the url of the blocked website into a proxy website?
Posted by uniquename over 5 years ago
So what is there in their T & Cs disclaiming all responsibility if the user picks up malware or a child gets access to hard-core?

I expect enough to make it not worth relying on unless you are rich enough, (like most TT customers haha), to be able to hire top class QCs to sue TT.

So you need your own security suite anyway, so the point of TT doing this is what exactly?
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
I stopped reading at 'Prior to publishing this article, a copy was sent to Talktalk asking for their comments about it, TT has not responded. However, it does mean that there are no major flaws in the article and it can be taken as correct.'

Did they pay you your 10 quid per website access you demanded under thread of legal action? Worth mentioning your history with the company when trying to present your opinions as facts because they didn't respond to you.
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
Sorry Hatari I see it's 20 quid a pop now, my mistake.
Posted by baby_frogmella over 5 years ago
Well said Dixi, seems Hatari is related to that website he linked to.
Posted by Caninekiller over 5 years ago
The Homesafe product is presented as an addition to, not a replacement for your own AV\PC pc based products. It's free, not PC based and totally controllable by the account holder.
Also re Hatari's article that the homesafe product will slow down your connection, well during TalkTalk Trials of the product, the ping and response times to all pages remained the same whether the homesafe product was active or not. Looks like a sour grapes article from an "Independant" broadband advice site.
And no I do not work for TT, I was on the initial trial of the product.
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
Well yes Frogmella, it's his site. From bottom of page underneath the threat of legal action and the copyright message: Website created by Hatari.org.uk
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
For a more objective critique of the system see: http://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2011/05/10/talktalks-new-blocking-system/
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
(The interesting bit being this report: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/talktalk.pdf)
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
Another reason to stay away from Talk Talk, It may be used to safeguard people at the moment, but if it uses the same technology as Phorm or even any where close to it then what is to stop it being used to chuck adverts at people? It should be opt in, after al;l surly it is up to their customers if they want Talk Talk to protect them?

Posted by pistolpete1980 over 5 years ago
Should be opt in??? It is opt in, you have to go to your account to activate it.

How do I switch on HomeSafe?

HomeSafe is free to all TalkTalk customers and all the features are switched off by default. To switch them on and set up Virus Alerts, Kids Safe and Homework Time log in to your TalkTalk MyAccount
Posted by ianXX over 5 years ago
I opted IN a couple of minutes ago. It will be interesting to see how many web sites I visit are reported as dodgy.
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
TT said that it it would not be opt in or out, you will have it and that is that, they must have changed their mind. they could be doing what Phorm was going to do, you would be able to opt out, but you would still be tracked.

Would not trust TT
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