TalkTalk claims it is the first ISP to offer a network-level internet security system by launching HomeSafe.
HomeSafe has been launched in a bid to prevent malicious websites infecting users PCs with viruses or malware, as well as offering parents the ability to prevent their children accessing certain websites. Traditional anti-virus software is installed on PCs but HomeSafe runs on the company's central computer system and sits between the web and individual home connections. The system scans every website a user wants to visit and checks for malicious software. If the site is found to be clean, it’s placed on a “white list” for 24 hours. The system has previously been criticised for its tracking of user’s internet use, but TalkTalk has said that it does not record details that could identify individual customers, such as their IP address.
The KidSafe program will allow parents to set their own content filters via a website and will allow them to set time limits on certain sites as well as completely blocking others. It will allow parents to set time limits for sites such as Facebook or games portals, which will no doubt lead to a lot of arguments. However, securit experts have said they think a lot of teenagers will be tech-savvy enough to bypass this system. TalkTalk said the system will be able to distinguish between sites which mention a particular subject and sites wholly dedicated to that subject. Some security experts have warned that the 24-hour "white list" may not be enough as many sites, again such as Facebook, see malicious apps appear many times within a 24-hour period.
This new system from TalkTalk is certainly something which many less tech-savvy users will welcome considering the increasing instances of malicious software appearing on the web. However, like most anti-virus software it will not protect against everything and could quickly become obsolete.