Internet service provider TalkTalk has launched a network-level security service for its home broadband customers.
TalkTalk has launched a network-level security service for its home broadband customers. Photo credit: Mark Hillary/Flickr
The service, called HomeSafe, uses a blocklist system to alert TalkTalk customers if they are connecting to a web page infected with malware. It also provides parental control tools to stop minors from accessing inappropriate content.
HomeSafe works by scanning the network's traffic and assigning websites to a whitelist or blacklist. The lists are recorded in temporary memory and are permanently deleted every 24 hours, a company spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Monday.
The company said it provides more comprehensive protection from web-borne threats than stand-alone products that run on an individual system as it protects any device registered on the network, including mobile phones, tablets and games consoles.
"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 percent of children aged 12-17 use their mobile phones to surf social-networking sites and 29 percent use it to instant message when at home," Tristia Clarke, commercial director of TalkTalk, said in a statement.
As well as alerting users to the potential threat from viruses and malware, HomeSafe provides KidsSafe parental controls that parents can use to block gambling, pornographic or violent websites. There is also a feature called Homework Time, which allows parents to block social-networking and gaming sites in the hope that it will help them focus on their homework.
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.– Tristia Clarke, TalkTalk
However, TalkTalk said the service is not a catch-all for online security.
"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," Clarke said.
The feature is turned off by default but customers can choose which settings to switch on and off as they wish through the MyAccount portal, the company said.
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