NEW YORK - As the nation observes Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, Internet users can take advantage of security tools from Verizon - many without charge - to assess their vulnerability to Internet-based threats and to keep their children safe online.
With industry estimates of more than a million viruses stalking the unprotected computers of Internet users, the need for adequate protection from these and other threats has never been greater. Verizon Security Advisor provides consumers with a fast and simple way of determining their level of risk and follows up with tips and instructions on how to stay out of trouble.
"Recent data collected by Verizon indicates that up to 65 percent of PC owners have inadequate or no online security software protection," said Peter Castleton, executive director for Verizon corporate marketing. "This number is stunning given the level of discussion and warnings about these cyber threats in both the public and private sector in recent years."
Through a fast and simple three-step process, Castleton said, Verizon Security Advisor provides an instant diagnosis of a PC's security status and detects whether essential anti-virus, anti-spyware and personal firewall protection is in place. Launched earlier this year, Verizon Security Advisor has nearly 2 million subscribers who further benefit from free monthly security tips and tutorials as part of the award-winning software's ongoing risk assessment.
Internet users can access the free security scan at www.verizon.net/securityadvisor.
Verizon also offers consumers free parental controls and has launched a Parental Control Center offering tips and tools for parents on how to protect their children when they're online. The Parental Control Center features simple downloading of the parental-control software and tutorials on subjects such as Social Networking and Safe Surfing for Kids. Links are available to Web sites for organizations like WiredSafety, the largest cybersafety organization, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber Tipline. The center is available at www.verizon.net/parentalcontrol.
In addition to the free security tools and software, Verizon also offers consumers a comprehensive suite of security products for a monthly fee of $5.99 that can be added to a customer's monthly Verizon bill. Customers who sign up online get the first month free.
Earlier this year, Verizon announced that it had added online fraud protection and a PC tuneup tool to the Verizon Internet Security Suite, complementing an already powerful lineup of protection features.
The Verizon Internet Security Suite includes:
- Anti-virus - Helps protect against known malicious viruses, worms and Trojans by detecting them, removing them and cleaning the affected files. The service runs in the background and blocks incoming virus attacks and related threats, including e-mail. Updates occur automatically every three hours.
- Anti-spyware - Offers powerful, up-to-date protection that automatically detects and eliminates a broad range of the spyware and tracking software that inappropriately tracks personal information and is widely responsible for degrading PC performance and online access. This service acts as a preventive step against the installation of hidden programs in a customer's system and can detect and remove more than 60,000 kinds of spyware.
- Firewall - Acts as a shield to automatically block unauthorized intrusions, malicious hackers and other hostile attempts to access customers' computers. The Firewall is an easy-to-use, yet powerful defense for both dial-up and high-speed connections.
- Fraud Protection - Helps protect users from online fraud by alerting them when they attempt to access a suspected "phishing" Web site. Phishing sites are sites that pretend to represent legitimate companies in order to trick the user into providing personal and financial information such as bank account numbers and passwords.
- Parental controls - Allows consumers to monitor and manage Internet usage by determining the types of content and specific sites that may be accessed. Parents can also define appropriate Internet usage and schedules, and block access to non-permitted Internet Web sites.
- PC Tune-Up - Can defragment the computer's hard disks and delete unnecessary files from the computer, allowing the computer to run more efficiently. These important tasks can be scheduled to run automatically or by the user at any time.
- Pop-up/ad blocker - Helps ensure a browsing session that is faster and less cluttered by blocking online ads such as pop-ups, pop-unders, banners, animations and tile ads.
- Privacy manager - Scans all outgoing communications for sensitive or identifying information to help prevent its release without user consent. It also provides control over cookies and how much information Web sites record about browsing habits. And it has a cleanup utility feature that allows users to automatically remove traces of data left behind by Internet browsers and other programs.
- Content management - Enables small-business customers to increase employee productivity by controlling the time of day and day of week for Internet access as well as ensuring users do not receive or have access to sites not intended for them.
The Verizon Internet Security Suite utilizes advanced technology from Radialpoint, provider of managed Internet security services.
More information regarding Verizon's security suite is available at www.verizon.net/VISS.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.