NEC steps up battle against viruses and worms

NEC has begun notifying users when potential security problems exist on their PCs.

NEC has begun notifying users when potential security problems exist on their PCs.

The company, which is one of Japan's largest PC makers, said it is taking the measure to help protect its consumer users from problems caused by viruses and worms.

NEC will preinstall support software to monitor the security level of Internet Explorer and warn users when the settings have been changed from the recommended medium security level.

This is to guard against the lowering of settings without the user's knowledge by viruses or worms, said company spokewoman Aki Ota.

From the mid-November the company will also begin prompting users to install operating system patches before any changes are made and the remainder of the process will be automatic if the user agrees to the action.

The functions will be enabled on new PCs and also those sold since October 2002 on which NEC's support software is running.

The software polls an NEC support server for messages and updates from the company to the user and it will use this polling mechanism to enable the new functions.

A number of recent high-profile computer viruses has indicated that many users to do not bother downloading patches and updates for their operating system.

Microsoft issued a patch in mid-July that would protect systems from the Blaster worm. However the quick spread of the worm some weeks later should there be to many unpatched systems on the internet.

In response, the company said it was considering automatic patching of systems, similar to the action NEC has decided to take.

One of the actions included on a security CD-Rom Microsoft began distributing free to Japanese users in September is to switch on the Windows Update function.

Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service


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