PC Nanny secures your desktop

PC use is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, so is PC misuse.

An innocent slip of the mouse can result in an inadvertent download or a fatal registry tweak. There's an emerging threat to your desktop security, and its lurking within your home. It's your kids. But as luck would have it, you can hire a nanny.

Net Nanny, an Internet filtering and PC security developer, on Monday released PC Nanny, a utility that protects your computer from unauthorised access and unwanted manipulation. PC Nanny is currently available for download from the Net Nanny Web site for a six-week introductory price of $US19.95. Estimated retail price is $US24.95.

With PC Nanny, you can hide or block access to display settings, hardware settings, MS-DOS, the Device Manager page, the Start menu, the Find key and individual files. You can also restrict access to your hard, Zip and CD-ROM drives. PC Nanny takes up less than 1MB of space and is compatible with Windows 95 and Windows 98.

"PC Nanny is designed for the individual to take control of exactly what is happening on their machine," says Gordon Ross, president and CEO of Net Nanny. "Security has moved from corporate back rooms into the home thanks to the advent of the Internet and cheap hardware."

And PC Nanny is scalable. "End-users can secure their terminal to the specific level that they want," Ross says.

Kids and spouses and friends, oh my!

While PC Nanny can guard against your own blunders, it also protects against other household members.

"Owners are increasingly anxious about kids, spouses, roommates, and others accessing, deleting or corrupting important documents," Ross says.

Unlicensed or corrupted Internet software also can paralyse your system and even incur liability for the computer owner. All it takes is a curious teenager surfing the wrong site at the wrong time. Fortunately, with PC Nanny, you can configure your system to prohibit unauthorised downloads.

PC Nanny also boasts an intuitive user interface with a clean layout. "We wanted to make this technology a no-brainer," Ross says. "With the simple folder interface, you just have to type in a password or encryption key."

Rival babysitters

Despite PC Nanny's scalability, ease-of-use and branded support, there are worthy competitors in the home PC security space. WINSelect KIOSK from Hyper Technologies enables you to disable or grey any feature in a Windows 3.x, Windows 95 or Windows 98 program. The company recently shipped WINSelect KIOSK 4.01 for Windows NT.

Rival encryption utilities include the Windows Security Suite and iLock 2.4, which can disable startup applications, automatically close dialogue boxes in other programs, and restrict access to Windows configuration functions.

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