REAL Parental Controls
I recently used the trial version of F-Secure's SAFE for Windows, and I don't like the fact that F-Secure SAFE is devoid of some very basic yet vital aspects of protection that users should not be without for this type of application-------The premise of which leans heavily on the idea of protecting the user while online.
That being said, the main problem is that the 'Family' Control module of the product as well as the option to block access to specific web-sites (by typing in the sites into a "Deny" list), is not effective and quite frankly dangerous if you have kids. When I clicked on the Family control section, it simply didn't do anything but tell me to login to change the settings, but when I did that, it brought me to the website and then nothing happened, nor did it provide me with any settings to adjust while I was logged in to "My F-Secure" online.
Furthermore, when testing out the Web access feature, by going to one of the sites I put on my "Deny" list within the application itself, SAFE blocked my access in my browser. However, it also provided an "Allow Site" hyperlink on the same screen, that, all I had to do was simply click on this hyperlink with my mouse and I was immediately taken to the site on my "Deny" list (No prompt for a password at all).
This is an inherently flawed feature because it provides no way of stopping access to a restricted site, other than to momentarily distract the user with a browser screen that basically says, 'Hey, Access to this site is Denied, but if you still want to go to the site, just click the link below.'
The very reason for creating a "Deny" list in the first place is fundamentally connnected to the idea of providing true [ PARENTAL CONTROL ]. The restricted site list is no deterrent at all, if all's a user or the user's kid has to do is simply click a hyper-link at the bottom of the page in order to be taken to the restricted site-------a site that they would otherwise not be able to reach if the SAFE account holder actually had a way to completely lock access by setting up a Master Password within the application itself.
The SAFE application should provide a means to set an application password, so that when a browser window opens to a site on the "Deny" list, it will not allow the site even if the person clicks the "Allow Site" hyperlink---until the person keys in the correct application password. That's what true website and parental control is all about. Anything less than that is nothing more than a frivolous attempt to provide this type of protection and especially when the products modules are based on "Family" and/or "Parental" controls, it should go without saying that a master password is implemented in conjunction with setting limitations. The SAFE account online is also devoid of any sort of "Master" password for Parental or Family control reasons.
I don't understand the logic behind this mixed message F-Secure is sending by providing an application that it says provides a Family control service that it really does not provide. That's not only dangerous, it's irresponsible to say you provide this type of protection when in reality, you only provide the user with the thought of feeling SAFE.
Children will easily get around these features because the application simply displays words across the screen in these instances, instead of actually providing a real physical deterrent by locking it down.
F-Secure should change the name of it's 'SAFE' product, because it does not actually protect users of the host device from un-wanted & dangerous content on blocked sites, despite the fact that the user sets access rules to block access to them.
If these settings, or lack there of, are easy to circumvent-------then what really is the point of having them in the first place?!
I just don't see how F-Secure can predicate this product on being SAFE when it doesn't actually provide the type of security that would in fact "Control" a users access to sites on the so-called "Deny" list (by actually denying access unless a Master Password that the user [i.e., the parent] could set up was used).
The application's current architecture is, in and of itself, a blatant contradiction in terms to say the least, but more than that, when it comes to the "Family" safety front, F-Secure just doesn't deliver the goods as promised-----------And yet the company has the audacity to call this application SAFE?!
Fix this problem and I might actually believe you. If F-Secure takes this feedback seriously and actually makes a concerted effort to improve this aspect of it's SAFE application, so as to provide a way for users to lock it down with a master password, then I might reconsider my position on how I view F-Secure as a whole, but for now, my faith in this product line from F-Secure has been shaken and I can no longer see any plausible reason to continue using this product.