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Internet Security Software

(22 Posts)
PamT Tue 17-Dec-02 22:29:57

I am looking for a suitable security package for our home computers. We currently use Norton's AV and Zone Alarm Firewall but the AV software is about to come to the end of its trial session so we need to buy something new.

We are also wanting to give the children internet access on their own computer and need some sort of NetNanny software to restrict their access. We have been really happy with Norton AV and are considering buying Internet Security which includes Parental Control. Is it worth having and easy to use?

We have also had Cybersitter recommended but this seems to be available only as a download in the UK and the web site asks for payment in dollars (is there a conversion fee or additional payment for using a UK credit card?).

Can any of you recommend a good package for either combined protection or for a site blocker? All comments welcome. Thanks

SoupDragon Tue 17-Dec-02 22:36:37

You can try re-installing Norton AV. I did this when the free AV update period ran out and it worked a treat.

Tinker Wed 18-Dec-02 00:02:03

grisoft is free to download, quite rated and has stopped about 3 viruses for me so far.

PamT Wed 18-Dec-02 07:15:19

We are really wanting to buy a complete version of Norton AV because it has worked so well over the last year. We run a couple of business web sites and a club web site from our PC so get a lot of e-mails from these sites and we'd like to stick with an AV program that we trust. My question was more on the Parental Control side of things and whether we should get the Norton's combined package or go for a different type of site blocking program.

SoupDragon Wed 18-Dec-02 08:53:16

I've heard good things about Norton internet security 2002 (think that's what it's called). It's on my list of things to get eventually. I'm told it stops those annoying pop up ads

Lucy123 Wed 18-Dec-02 09:40:39


We generally use Norton and I've lost count of the times friends have phoned for advice because they have a virus that their non-Norton anti-virus software can't get rid of. In particular don't get PCcyllin (or whatever it's called) as it is evidently rubbish.

Saying that, someone has just recommended a programme called AVG Antivirus which is free (you'll have to search on the name). I haven't tried it yet but it is free!

As for netnannies - I don't really trust any of them and they can block perfectly harmless sites. However if it's cheap you may as well buy Cybersitter and try it (I'd be interested to know how you get on) - if you pay in dollars with a credit card you simply get an exchange rate 2% below the market rate. As most currency traders sell a little below the market rate too you'll barely notice the difference (I think I got 1.51 dollars to the pound a couple of weeks ago). You can phone the card company to check the current rate before you make the transaction.

How much is the norton netnanny?

PamT Wed 18-Dec-02 11:55:39

Norton Internet Security is £49.99 and includes ad filters and spam filters as well as Norton Parental Control. The basic Norton AV is £39.99. So for the extra £10 I am tempted to give it a go anyway. The Cyber Sitter was about $40 I think, so we'd be talking around £25 for that one.

Lucy123 Wed 18-Dec-02 12:35:19

yes - it's worth the extra £10 just for the pop-up filters (cheapest one of those I found costs a tenner).

I know you're probably aware of it but do remember that some sites deliberately name things in such a way as to avoid net nanny software (the bastards). It's not very common, but I'd treat all such things as I would a child swimming device - safer with one but you still have to keep your eyes open.

PamT Wed 01-Jan-03 08:56:23

Thought I'd resurrect this thread to see if anyone else could add anything. We have reinstalled Norton's with a bit of difficulty but at least we are safe again now in terms of viruses. Does anyone use a net nanny type software to stop their kids accessing the wrong stuff?

Also, how do I stop all the porn spam coming through? It seems to be coming from America with very graphic titles and front pages full of photos. I delete it immediately but can't block it as they come from a different address everytime. Changing my e-mail address isn't really an option. DH is threatening to stop our e-mail access altogether if it continues! I don't register with many sites but have been sent a couple of e-greetings and have bought things through large stores using the address which I think is how my address has been picked up.

dkdad Wed 01-Jan-03 12:02:16

For spam filtering you might consider Mail Washer ( which is free. It filters all known spam before you get it and allows you to filter your mail before you download it. It 'bounces' spam back to the sender making them think that your email address does not exist.

When registering with websites, you might consider what I do. Buy your own domain name ( for example) from costs only £2.59 per year. With this you get mail forwarding so that any mail sent to gets forwarded to your normal email address. The clever thing is that you can have any number of email addresses, you can call them whatever you like and you don't have to set them up. For example, when you register with Amazon, you could use the email address Then, if Amazon sold your email address (they don't), any spam you got addressed to would be a dead giveaway. You could then block any mail to that address.


SimonHoward Thu 02-Jan-03 10:30:26


Never used one for stopping kids getting anywhere but where I work has been using similar software for content control for all users of it's network and it works ok.

The main problem you will find with all of them is getting the settings right. Some of the guys I work with and I have repeatedly shown how easy it actually is to bypass this sort of control if you know what you are looking for.

The classic example is things like Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities, you have to either block them all or let them all through and some of them are definately not suitable for children.

The other problem is how often will you update the list of sites that have been catagorised? If not done on a regular basis then you can have a perfectly functioning system that does not block access to sites that are newer than your last download, with all the possible problems that causes.

If you want to know more about the Norton solution then I believe their website has a good rundown on what it can and can't do, but in the end it is mainly down to how you use and configure it.

PamT Thu 02-Jan-03 15:41:11

Thanks for the suggestions, I might well try mailwasher, does it stop the newsletters that you want to receive?

Changing the email address isn't really an option, its for my business and needs to be fairly public. In hindsight I should have kept a seperate address for registering with everything like mumsnet, amazon etc. and used the other one purely for business, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

As for the net nanny business I might have a play around with Norton Parental Control when dh gets it loaded (we've only got AV on at the moment). We can't stop Yahoo groups because DH runs 2 and I am a member of others but stopping chat rooms and msn would be preferable on the kids' machine. We could probably set up the software to automatically check for updates on a daily basis as Norton AV currently does, so updating wouldn't be such a problem.

I have posted the net nanny question on two separate parenting boards and am amazed that not one person has come forward to say that they use software to stop their kids accessing certain parts of the internet. Do other families not let their children use the internet or do they live in hope that their children don't find some of the sites that I would rather avoid?

SimonHoward Thu 02-Jan-03 17:06:08


I can't say that i have thought much about it yet but I did have the idea that when DD is old enough to use a computer and not just bite it/drool on it I would use a mixture of the control software and the account software that Windows has in it when run with a server to stop them having access to the internet connection at certain times of the day or even stopping access to the PC totally at certain times of the day (like when they should be in bed)

helenmc Sat 22-Mar-03 19:49:03

Warning to all - I was probably a bit complacent until my dd put instead of and came up with some pictures of women in various poses. All of which were rather intimate and so am now evaluting software called surfcontrol ( This looks like it what we need and appears relatively easy to use and says it will provide daily updates as well as allowing you to categorise sites yoursefl (no I won;t let DH categorise mumsnet as adult/sexually explicit ...I'm not mentioning the rabbit thread here but....)
will let you know how much it costs and how we get on

PamT Sun 23-Mar-03 07:56:27

Dh got round the problem in the end, he took off the address bar so that they couldn't type any dodgy addresses in and made a home page for them with a few safe links. They can only access the pages on those links (CBeebies, Lego, Knex etc)and have to ask for any more links to be added.

I got a shock the other week though when I did a search on Jeeves for a tv theme tune on our pc. I was directed to a very graphic porn site with no warning (we're talking video here not just photos). This site wouldn't close down and just sent me to one after another more porn sites. On the same day we acquired a load of spyware on the pc (don't know if it was linked to the porn site but it certainly wasn't asked for - just downloaded itself without asking) and dh was very miffed as he spent ages trying to remove it all.

I fall for the 'have a look at this it's very funny' line every time on message boards, yes they are very funny but they have a nasty habit of adding unwanted programs and cookies to your pc.

lucy123 Sun 23-Mar-03 10:30:11

PamT - do you have ad-aware? It's an anti-spy-ware programme that you run every now and then and it deletes all this stuff from your PC. Very handy.

PamT Sun 23-Mar-03 12:43:55

Yes we do have Ad-aware, it was that which alerted us to the problem. Double-click is one which pops up evertime we do a scan but this comes from virtually every site that receives revenue for advertising (Mumsnet included). On that particular day we had 38 unwanted files added to our computer including a date/time manager that would not stay deleted and just kept on reappearing. It's frightening to think how much stuff can land on your hard drive without you knowing. Our router acts as a firewall/blocker but this didn't stop it so we have now upgraded the Norton's Internet Security in an attempt to prevent further invasion.

I caught something on the news the other day about spam being banned unless permission was granted first, I hope this comes off, then we might see an end to all the porn e-mails that keep popping up. I don't know why they keep sending me all the 'earn millions of dollars' and 'increase the size of your penis' ones when I am a UK female. Clamping down on spam might free up a bit of internet air space and lead to better surfing speeds.

lucy123 Sun 23-Mar-03 13:07:53

You may be getting over-paranoid though. is an affiliate scheme that I have used, and it just leaves cookies (albeit ones which will track your usage accross other affiliate sites). They are not as far as I know where all the porn comes from and I have checked all of the documentation as i run affiliate sites.

I get a lot of spam too - our addresses will have been collected from the web by spiders and then sold on. Dp gets even more than me, and he gets some *extremely* offensive stuff because he has been known to visit the odd warez site. But there's not a lot anyone can do about it - they're often sent via hacked servers without the owner / hosts permission anyway. Spam is already illegal in most countries (which is why most now claim that they are 'opt-in' mailings).

You should complain to Ask Jeeves about the porn site though - they will de-list it.

GeorginaA Sun 23-Mar-03 13:21:52

Am currently using MailWasher which is a free program that can be used to filter spam before it hits your inbox and can thoroughly recommend it (although I wouldn't recommend the bounce feature - bounce just fills up the internet relays even more and doesn't actually achieve anything).

Been getting serious amounts of spam recently and this little program has really speeded up dealing with it.

PamT Sun 23-Mar-03 14:48:13

I've heard a lot of good reports about Mailwasher but dh, being paranoid as usual won't entertain it. He doesn't want our e-mail going though yet another port before it comes to us.

GeorginaA Sun 23-Mar-03 16:42:52

PamT - it's not like SpamCop account where the mail gets sent to another email account then sent to your computer (which I agree - adds something else to "go wrong" and slow things down). It checks your normal POP3 server, deletes any (with your "permission" unless it's one you've actively blacklisted - although it's quick as it marks all the likely spam for you) that are spam at the server (mail still hasn't moved from your normal mail account). Then your normal email program is activated and the remaining emails downloaded.

That explanation is probably horribly wrong from a techy point of view... but hopefully that makes sense! If your dh wants a proper techy explanation probably best to look at the link

Demented Sun 23-Mar-03 23:29:57

Can't tell you any technical stuff but we have been using Mailwasher too and are very happy with it. DH needs the e-mail/internet for business so wouldn't mess about with anything dodgy!

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