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Kudos0

Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

What is the point of NSM? It's supposed to protect our kids, but it seems more like Symantec is using us parents to beta chk their s/ware as it is NOT complete it has too many flaws the main one being it DOES NOT work!

In 2010 Symantec is considering charging for this so-called "FREE" s/ware so presumably from now till then we're acting as their free beta testers - it'd be nice if they owned up to this!

My point, it is SO easy to disable NSM without admin rights, my sons managed to disable it on numerous occasions & even extend times WITHOUT permission. The flaw is related to being "offline" at the time this is done. So as NSM cannot verify the email & password entered it "allows" the user to extend their time or disable the s/ware

MAJOR flaw, this means any person can disable NSM without permission. Just by disabling their internet connection & then trying to extend or disable the s/ware once it's been done then re-enabling the internet. He's now managed to get hours more use than i'd allowed. Thank god for Microsoft (i would never have said that normally), i'm also now considering using other internet suite s/ware like Kapersky IS which has in-built parental controls features which are NOT as advanced as NSM but they DO seem to work (ie a child cannot disable the s/ware or logging if offline)

Symantec must sort this out & also let us know how much they will want to charge us for this s/ware we're testing for FREE for them! I do feel they should provide this s/ware FOC for all NIS users.

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

What is the point of NSM? It's supposed to protect our kids, but it seems more like Symantec is using us parents to beta chk their s/ware as it is NOT complete it has too many flaws the main one being it DOES NOT work!

In 2010 Symantec is considering charging for this so-called "FREE" s/ware so presumably from now till then we're acting as their free beta testers - it'd be nice if they owned up to this!

My point, it is SO easy to disable NSM without admin rights, my sons managed to disable it on numerous occasions & even extend times WITHOUT permission. The flaw is related to being "offline" at the time this is done. So as NSM cannot verify the email & password entered it "allows" the user to extend their time or disable the s/ware

MAJOR flaw, this means any person can disable NSM without permission. Just by disabling their internet connection & then trying to extend or disable the s/ware once it's been done then re-enabling the internet. He's now managed to get hours more use than i'd allowed. Thank god for Microsoft (i would never have said that normally), i'm also now considering using other internet suite s/ware like Kapersky IS which has in-built parental controls features which are NOT as advanced as NSM but they DO seem to work (ie a child cannot disable the s/ware or logging if offline)

Symantec must sort this out & also let us know how much they will want to charge us for this s/ware we're testing for FREE for them! I do feel they should provide this s/ware FOC for all NIS users.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

While it is undoubtedly true that there are still some problems with the software and I wouldn't want to pay for it in its current state, I want to make two points in reply to the message from thetazman.

1. When I signed up for Online Family/Safety Minder it was very clear to me that the software was in a beta testing stage and I would be a beta tester in return for which I have had use of the software and the opportunity to influence its development.

2. Members of the software development team have been very active on this forum in responding to the questions and suggestions made by the beta testers. As a result, the software now includes some important improvements.

As thetazman has made the comparison with Microsoft I also want to add that I have suffered at the hands of some pretty major flaws in Microsoft software for which I have paid and their staff are much less eager to provide meaningful support.

David

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Dgardner i take your point, and i agree that we did agree to being "beta" testers for the s/ware. Its just that this s/ware does not work. My son yet again disabled the software so easily by doing as i've mentioned in original post.

"Members of the software development team have been very active on this forum in responding to the questions and suggestions made by the beta testers. As a result, the software now includes some important improvements."

Since i've posted it - you mention the symantec e'ees are very fastidious & efficient - no e'ee of symantec has come back to me or replied to this thread to help with my situation. I'd posted it a day or 2 ago & to be honest i did expect some feedback from them by now, but so-far nothing. I thought they'd insert their normal spiel about the user has your admin info or they have admin rights etc... but nothing. The s/ware includes major improvements ... but it doesn't work for me, its too easy to disable, or is that not a major problem?

i'm very disappointed as i did expect something by now, if there is no solution then can norton or symantec let me know. so i can move on as the s/ware itself is useless otherwise. if you can so easily disable it - even a 5 yr old could! - why was this not fixed sooner, or are all my pc's infected with viruses/spam that are disabling the NSM, if that's the case then i better get in touch with my A/virus/F/wall s/ware provider, oh wait that's norton/symantec also!

My comment re: microsoft was ONLY with respect to the parental controls in Vista. Overall i too have found M'soft to be very lacking on the customer service front.

Can someone pls let me know how i can sort this matter out, if it can't be done or i'm too dumb to figure it out then let me know!

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

thetaxman, you are right. You have revealed a major flaw in the software and you should have had an immediate response. My previous impression was that interaction between the development team and the beta testers was good but it seems to have slacked off a bit now.

I have duplicated the disabling problem from a non-administrastor account with ease.

This needs fixing.

David

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Still no word from the symantec or norton team!!! Has my son found a serious flaw in this s/ware. I think so and that is why they haven't even bothered to reply to this thread!!!

If your s/ware does not work - which it quite obviously doesn't - tell us, be honest or is that not the norton way???

I remember how good dr solomons was I'm sure they wouldve fixed this problem by now

my only parental help has been the vista parental controls but even they are easy to crack!!! My sons been able to do that quite a while ago that is why I thought NSM was the key. But it's not it is a useless piece of s/ ware. Until the symantec or norton team own up to the fact it does not work and fix it immediately!

Here's hoping

dgardner pls don't call me the taxman, perish the thought that I'd work for the HMRC or as we say the inland revenue - like the IRS in the us!Message Edited by thetazman on 10-29-2009 09:32 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Here's hoping that someone at symantec has the decency to own up to this major flaw!!! my kids have been surfing online in the past with me thinking symantec is watching over them to make sure they're safe with nsm but they weren't the s/ware does not work

dgardner explained exactly how my sons managed to extend his time plus disable nsm. Did symantec not test the s/ware themselves?

Also don't rely on vistas parental controls they work better than nsm I admit but changing the clock is the easiest way to avoid it!
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I posted ove in the (2nd) thread about "NSM disabled messages" that I verified this major flaw in the software, but I will repost here for emphasis and to document this. I recognize that us parents posting this is potentially counterproductive since it will be only hours until Google and Yahoo searches turn this up dfor children to read how to disable this, but I'm posting it anyway since it's not like we found some complex windows registry hack to disable the software.....it's a cake walk to do and I submit that kids have been doing it a long time and generating messages to us that we've been ignoring. My otehr post pasted below:

----

OK, that didn't take long. I switched user on a Windows Vista laptop to my stepson's account which is a Standard User and not an Administrator.

I couldn't get the wireless switch on this Dell laptop to shut off the 802.11 wireless so i just clicked on the network icon and chose 'Dicsonnect from Network XXXXXXX'.

When I could see I was disconnected I clicked on NSM in the System Tray and chose 'Disable Norton Safety Minder'. I was prompted for a parent email and password and I typed in random characters.

I wasn't sure that took since it told me that wasn't correct so I did it again and I got prompted with "NSM is not sure about your credentials, do you want to continue and an email will be sent to your parent"?

I chose OK and BOOM...NSM was disabled- greyed out icon in Systra!

I immediately opened Firefox and proceeded to the playboy.com website which should have been blocked.

A minute later my Blackberry buzzed with one of so many NSM has been disabled warnings that I might easily have disregarded due to the original topic of this thread.

This is unfortunate and unacceptable. I guess we should start a separate thread for this that is properly titled.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


pwscott61 wrote:

This is unfortunate and unacceptable. I guess we should start a separate thread for this that is properly titled.




I did not want to post a thread title marked "how to d!sab!e nort0n safety minder!" as if I had the number of google searches by kids would be unbelievable. But would that have been a better idea than doing this??? To-date symantec has done NOTHING do should we be helping them to beta test s/ware when they ignore us?

Also I did not list a step by step guide as to how to d!sab!e nsm, I wrote down the idea, so enough for people to confirm I was right and for something to be done but I didn't want an idiots guide on disab!!ng nsm

but another member has now posted the method I'd noted down in my 1st post as a step by step guide. That was what my kid had done and now a number of users have confirmed it works making nsm useless. That is what my point is ... What is the purpose if nsm as it is not a parental control system - it doesn't work!

But thinking about it and the huge number of pm's I have rec'd from the nsm team - sorry I was lying there - was it a good idea not to highlight this issue more by titling this thread properly???
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

To hell with it, here's the idiots guide on "how to easily disable norton safety minder that even a 5 yr old could do" thanks go to dgardner for listing down the steps described in my 1st post above

this is a true step by step guide on how useful this software really is ... Let's see how many kids google this to disable nsm for themselves!!! Hopefully before then the symantec team will realise how imp't this major flaw is and sort it out or at the very least respond to our threads!!


dgardner wrote:

As I mentioned in my post a few messages before, I get the message and then monitoring continues.

But since reading @thetaxman's message I have followed his method on a non-administrator account and completely disabled NSM.

AND as @thetaxman said, it is blindingly simple, his 5 year old did it. I am sure it took me a little longer but I also managed it. I can't believe none of us ever thought of this before.

Here's how:

1. While in a monitored account, disconnect from the internet (I did it by flicking the switch on the laptop that shuts off the wireless signal and I also did it through the "connect to" menu item).

2. Click NSM (dog's paw).

3. Click disable NSM

4. When asked for the "parent email" and "parent password" type anything (but you must put something in both fields)

5. Click OK

6. You will get a message

7. Ignore it and click OK

8. NSM is now disabled. reconnect to the internet and there will be no monitoring of activity.

This method also works for extending time.

I was astonished that such a simple loophole has not been discovered before. I can't help wondering whether any of the seemingly harmless times I have seen the disabled message were really times in which my kids were wandering the internet unmonitored.

David


Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Just been onto google and typed in " how to disable nsm " this thread was 5th in the listings the other on disabled msg's is coming in at 6th!!!
" how to disable norton safety minder " this thread was 3rd in the listings
" how to disable safety minder " this thread was 2nd in the listings

It won't be long now before all kids with 1/2 a brain will visit these pages to find out how to crack nsm or norton safety minder!!!

I just hope this will wake up those sleeping symantec e'ees and get them to do something! Otherwise they have got a useless piece of s/ware!!!
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

@thetazman- I'm with you on this. When I said it's unfortunate and unacceptable I was talking about such a glaring whole in a piece of security software, Beta or otherwise. Having worked for a number of security hardware and software companies over the last 15 years, the key here is the software engineering group being able to plug this hole almost immediately. A workaround or a patch or a dot release, whatever. Let's hope we see a response from Symantec here that is definitive and effective.

At this point I don't see letting children use their PC or Mac in a closed room or solo environment. If we can neither prevent kids from disabling NSxxM nor rely on the messages saying "NSxxxM hase been disabled" to be correct (for months now by the way), then for sure we can't rely on this software. For now it's in the kitchen or family room I suppose, and back to trying to check the history logs in Chrome, Firefox and IE, although our kids are pretty good at purging those.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

For any parent still worried about their kids & internet access - as it seems Norton/Symantec don't care about us (that can be duly seen by their speedy responses to this urgent issue!) - you can always use the following s/ware:

Blue Coat's K9 Web Protection (link below to their FREE software)

 K9Website

www.k9webprotection.com/

Their s/ware has been FREE for a number of years, and I was using it before NSM. NSM if Norton/Symantec actually did something - is FAR FAR superior - but it seems that the norton team didn't realise the s/ware was as useless as it is so are now burying their heads in the sand or are they crying for mama?

Sorry if people feel i am being rude to the developers but to be honest i don't care. They are using us as Beta testers, we've now found a MAJOR flaw in the s/ware which makes it un-workable. So do the developers get onto it & spk to the beta-testers to let them know they're on the case, NO! They just keep quiet

I am quite please now with the high listing in Google for anyone to find how to crack NSM. I've also informed my friends who were also using the s/ware and recommended they turn it off & use either Windows own (not very good - but better than NSM) parental controls or K9

I hope some of the other parents out there find K9 to be useful, they do update regularly & I never had too many issues with it before. Again it is possible to crack but its not as easy as NSM to hack into & disable.

I DO NOT work for K9, I'm an English parent who wants to make sure my kids surf the net in safety. Norton promised they would do this but they did not & are STILL NOT delivering. If NSM is really this bad and does not work - the reviews were excellent online for this s/ware - then how can i believe that i'm being protected with Norton Internet Security Suite 2010 (as it's the same developers is it not?)

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Hi All, 

How about downloading the Add-on Pack V4. Is this any bette than the one downloaded from 'OnLineFamily.Norton(Norton Safety Minder). Let me know. Thanks to All.

Zaboo

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


Zaboo wrote:

Hi All, 

How about downloading the Add-on Pack V4. Is this any bette than the one downloaded from 'OnLineFamily.Norton(Norton Safety Minder). Let me know. Thanks to All.

Zaboo


thanks for that, just visited the following site to download the pack as you mentioned above:

http://www.symantec.com/norton/products/parental-controls/index.jsp

the file is called "AOPESDDownloader.exe" and is suitable for NIS2010, even 360 is covered

however the info on the site is quite lacking, and it seems this add-on is not a patch on the NSM we were hoping for. it does not seem to have online access (which is a big plus with NSM) also all users must have a running/current NIS a/c to use this s/ware. NSM is free (at the moment) for beta testing purposes

it only covers basic parental controls (ie web blocking & confidential info), ie it is about as good as Windows vista parental controls! so what is the point of this add-on? if it covered all the areas NSM did then it would be a valuable add-on (if NSM worked of-course)

i for one won't be installing this add-on as i do not see the need when i have vista parental controls setup & also now K9 protecting my kids [there is a workaround to block K9 also - but it is not as easy or simple as stopping NSM!]

the blurb below is what is on the symantec site for anyone interested ...

In Norton 360 Version 3.0, Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton Internet Security 2010

  • Parental Controls
  • Confidential Information Blocking
In Norton 360 Version 2.0 and Norton Internet Security 2008
  • Parental Controls
  • Confidential Information Blocking
  • Antispam
In N360 Version 1 and Norton Internet Security 2007
  • Parental Controls
  • Confidential Information Blocking
  • Antispam
  • Ad and Pop-up Blocking
What Are Add-on Pack Technologies?Parental Controls:Blocks unsuitable websites
  • Provides password-protected control profiles for adult, teen, and child.
  • Offers predefined standard profiles that are customizable for the individual user.
  • Blocks inappropriate Web sites based on user control profile settings.
  • Logs attempts to access blocked Web sites.
Confidential Information Blocking: Blocks sensitive information (identified as confidential) from inadvertent transfer out of your computer.AntiSpam: Filters spam out of your inbox — Deletes or moves annoying spam email to a junk mail folder.*Message Edited by thetazman on 10-30-2009 05:49 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

KATIEQ a symantec e'ee - seems to be answering a number of NSM issues on this site but for some strange reason she hasn't answered the queries i noted down on this thread nor the ones noted down in pwscott61's thread?

What is symantec playing at can they not have the decency to sort out this major flaw in their s/ware. Instead of answering trivial qn's like it won't do this or that, why not answer the main question as to why it does NOT WORK?

Let's wait a few more days for a reply from someone at symantec ... Or is there a postal strike there too?

Message Edited by thetazman on 10-30-2009 05:49 PMMessage Edited by thetazman on 10-30-2009 05:50 PMMessage Edited by thetazman on 10-30-2009 05:50 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


thetazman wrote:
To hell with it, here's the idiots guide on "how to easily disable norton safety minder that even a 5 yr old could do" thanks go to dgardner for listing down the steps described in my 1st post above
... etc. ....
I was astonished that such a simple loophole has not been discovered before. I can't help wondering whether any of the seemingly harmless times I have seen the disabled message were really times in which my kids were wandering the internet unmonitored.

David



I discovered this myself when I was trying to extend my daughter's time and we lost the wireless connection.

At the time, I considered this a useful failsafe.  Why have a locked-up computer is NSM whenever unable to verify parental intervention?  The worst case might result in having to restore the entire system - that would be awful.

There needs, however, to be a better failsafe than that crude method.  Perhaps it consist of an alternative password for when the internet cannot be reached.  The verification password would be encrypted and stored locally.

It's a hard call.  The scenario I see that is probably on the mind of Symantec engineers would be something like this:

a.  The computer can really connect to the internet, but

b.  NSM can't reach it because of a programming glitch.

c.  The owner needs to reach the internet on the machine in question in order to fix the problem.

d.  Unfortunately, the programming glitch extends to the password, so the owner is blocked by NSM from getting to the solution that would fix the problem.

Any exit from the loop up would also be a potential door for violating security.  I'm glad I don't have to think this one through myself.  

Message Edited by mijcar on 10-30-2009 01:04 PM
mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

mijcar thanks for the comments.

But i feel that NSM should never be disabled for whatever reason. If you lose the password or can't remember it contacting symantec should get you the code. if NSM can't log-on onto the internet then typing in any password/email should not allow the program to be disabled.

In-fact it should log each attempt & when internet connection is restored should then relay this info (ie the attempted hijacking of the s/ware by your kids) to the parent! The parent can then restrict their internet or computer habits even further if necessary, a bit draconian I know but there is SO much harmful stuff out their online, we parents need something to protect our kids.

mijcar when you found this loophole did you not notify Symantec about the issue so they could resolve it, as if you'd had this problem a while back & someone with your long-standing on this forum they may have listened & resolved it? at this time it seems Symantec is losing faith in the product or with me maybe & not bothering to help

It IS a shame as there is SO much potential in this s/ware & over a minor glitch it has caused such a major flaw within the program! Pls symantec do something about this ...

The add-on another member mentioned is similar to one i use at the moment with Kapersky's Internet Suite 2010, they too offer as a free element within the program (not a seperate download). Yet I had always felt NIS 2010 was better, but maybe it isn't anymore? If this loophole exists within NSM what lurks within NIS?

Its now been 2 days approx since i posted the original thread still NO word from Norton! Thanks for showing us you care about us beta-testers/parents!!!

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Hi all,

This is Marian Merritt from Norton. I have read over most of this thread and am very appreciative of the feedback from such dedicated users. I know the product team is also discussing your comments and taking the criticism to heart. That being said, I want to share with you the philosophy behind a program like OnlineFamily.Norton. We set out to create a program that could be used to build communication between parent and child. We want parents and children to discuss their House Rules and reach an accord as to how the OF.N settings will be configured. We also don't want to create any stealth or Big Brother mode that can be perceived as allowing spying, whether from parent to child or spouse to spouse.

The issue I'm reading here is about the ease with which anyone can disable the Safety Minder. This is true, it's not hard to do. But the parent or account owner will be notified of this event. It is our belief that the notification which should lead to a discussion between parent and child is an important teaching moment. If the child in question persists in defeating the program, perhaps the monitoring provided isn't the issue, but a larger discipline concern looms ahead. Not all parenting dilemmas will be or should resolved via technology.

Our philosophy may not be for everyone. If another solution better fits your parenting style, we understand your decision may be to switch programs. We remain confident that the approach we've selected, with guidance from internationally recognized parenting and educational experts, is solid and should assist in guiding our children to use the Internet in safe and age-appropriate fashion.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Hi marianmerritt thank you for taking the time to post & share the views of norton to us members (me only being a short-lived member of this forum)

From your comments it is quite apparent that this "loophole" or "major flaw" as a number of users would describe is part of the way norton operates. Is this the same for Norton Internet Security Suite or similar program, should children be allowed or able to adjust major component elements within the s/ware with no repurcussions.

As I now realise this FAULT within the s/ware is not going to be fixed by Norton, getting a msg to the pc to say NSM has been disabled is a valuable element for a discussion to be had between parent & child. BUT during this time they are able to visit unsavoury websites & use the pc for areas they were not originally entitled to do.But Norton says don't worry about it Mr or Mrs Parent your kids need a good talking too, then once that's finished with you can enable NSM again & let them do what they please ...

Thank you for being so honest and letting me know that this flaw is going to remain as its an important element within NSM's security to allow kids as young as 5 to view pornographic, violent, racist websites. At least i now know what Norton stands for, so thank you ... But i can chat to them afterwards to say don't worry kid those pictures or images you saw try & forget about the, don't worry ...

As stated by you NSM is NOT a parental control application software, i presume therefore it will not be distributed within the UK on the basis that it is! As it quite plainly is not a method to control internet or other pc activities by the child. All other parental control s/ware on the market BLOCKS websites that are unsuitable for children, but NSM doesn't care what a child views as they can just disable it at their leisure! Thanks NSM ...

Your comment as to will i be moving to another product, the answer to that is quite simply yes! And i am sure a number of parents visiting this site will also do likewise!

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

@thetazman (sorry about previous mistyping) you make an important point about me having provided an easily googleable step-by-step guide to disabling.  I just wanted to make it easy for others on this forum to verify the procedure. My intention was not to make it too easy for kids but they are very smart and they will work it out and news will get around. To make it slightly less easy for my kids I have included the URL of this forum as a blocked site in NSM for my kids but that is probably a weak defence.

I hope the development team for NSM comes up with a quick fix as I like this software and was devasted when you revealed how easy it is to crack.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


dgardner wrote:

@thetazman (sorry about previous mistyping) you make an important point about me having provided an easily googleable step-by-step guide to disabling.  I just wanted to make it easy for others on this forum to verify the procedure. My intention was not to make it too easy for kids but they are very smart and they will work it out and news will get around. To make it slightly less easy for my kids I have included the URL of this forum as a blocked site in NSM for my kids but that is probably a weak defence.

I hope the development team for NSM comes up with a quick fix as I like this software and was devasted when you revealed how easy it is to crack.


Sorry to say david, but the Norton e'ee above has confirmed that this IS a BONUS feature within the NSM s/ware. As Norton's NSM s/ware is NOT a parental control s/ware it is designed as an aide for parent & child to have a chat about the internet & what not to view/see

I could not believe it when they mentioned in post 34 (i think?) that it was never the intention of NSM to limit a childs online activities but if they do disable it for a child/parent to have a chat about it! don't worry about the fact your child has viewed images which could damage their future development, all you need to do if NSM has been disabled is sit down with your sprog and tell them that they shouldn't have done it!

I don't think Norton is going to do any fixes for this, the e'ee did not mention at any time that this was a flaw, she even made the point that this may make me go to another s/ware provider. to be honest it will!!!

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Whoa!

Mariann, I appreciate the time that you've taken to share Symantec's philosophy with us.

But it worries me.

I've taught and counselled and worked with children for over forty years.  I am in a position to offer some advice to you guys.

First, never put a child in a position where a lie benefits the child and can be hidden from the adult.  Children are awful at avoiding temptation; in fact, they rely on us to keep them from it.  They don't ask for supervision directly; but they appreciate it.

When a child finds a way to get to the internet unsupervised it puts him (or her) into a very awkward position, morally-speaking.  On one hand, the child knows there are places he or she shouldn't visit.  But the child equally "knows" that his intentions are good and that he won't be hurt by whatever he is exposed it.  The child "knows" that the parents "don't really get it."  If they have a means to hide something from their parents, most will do so -- not to be bad, but because in their hearts they know they are doing the right thing.

This is something no child gets.  Most kids don't even comprehend this through their thirty's.  They just know that whatever it is they want to do, they are pretty safe, they are in control, they won't get in trouble.

The kind of dialogue you guys come up with sounds like something out of Ozzie and Harriet or a junior high school student.  Kids love these heart-to-heart conversations.  They smile and agree with the parents and make rueful noises and nod their and make promises.  And then they go and do exactly what they want to.

And again -- you must understand this -- they do it from goodness, not badness.  They are protecting us, their parents, from our own confusion about how the real world works.  They "know" we don't get it; but they do; and so they protect us -- by deceiving us, by lieing to us, by getting the cool (translate as "enabling") parents of their friends to cover for them.

Now throw online family into the mix.

"I noticed you disabled your Safety Minder yesterday."

"No, Dad, I didn't."

"Son, I got a message from Symantec."

"Well, that was probably because of that stupid modem glitch.  You know we've been losing our signal every so often.  Something to do with the Comcast changeover to include phonelines."

And you think about and you know that it is true that there have been momentary (10 to 30 seconds) of line loss with Comcast; and yes, your computer did reconnect without you doing anything special, but you also know that your son's computer is slowed down with the added burden of Safety Minder and it might well have not been able to regain a strong connect through the router for two or three minutes, way longer than necessary to Time Out the Safety Minder and cause it to disable itself.

So what do you believe at this point?  Do you choose to trust your Son?  Do you choose to accuse him of lieing?  Both are wrong.  It is wrong to trust anyone to do the impossible, it imposes unfair pressure.  Kids are normal little human beings; and they do normal things that other kids do; and one of the most normal things a kid can do is lie.  I mean, how many of us were totally truthful with our parents?  You know, about sex? about cigarettes? about alcohol? about about deep fears? about our loneliness? about cheating on tests? about the things we were willing to do to be more acceptable to other kids? about our perversions?  There are boundaries that are normal and necessary between child and parent.

What does all this mean?

It means it is my job to be Big Brother, to trust my child but only in that he is a normal healthy child who is doing his best to explore a dangerous world and to find out where he is at risk and to intervene.  Just as it is his biological job to be secretive and take a million risks and to learn from them and to get away with it.  And we will know he has become an adult when he is better at his job than I am at mine.  If I abdicate my job, he will probably be harmed.

So I don't want to be trapped in that situation with the disabled Safety Minder and having the two pathetic choices of accusing my child of lieing or pretending to believe that yes, this fifteenth time Safety Minder has been disabled is just one more in a string of time out's, and watching that smile of satisfaction, that complacency as he nods his head and learns to deceive others.

Symantec, you aren't listening.

You are telling us to blow it off; and yet here we all are telling you we want good, reliable data.  But because that is the only kind of data you can base a decision on.  What we do about that data is up to the individual.  There are some here who I am sure will ignore it, at least in the short run.  And there are some here who will shut down our child's computer for a week.  It is my job -- our job individually -- to come up with our own house rules.  IT IS NOT YOUR JOB!  Your job is to provide reliable information and not to explain away poor design by saying it was the result of a philosophic vision that you feel gives you the right to tell us how to be with those who are closest to us.

mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

My god mijcar I wholeheartedly 2nd that! I agree that I DO NOT want to be a "big brother" to my kids. But some of them are very young & very impressionable so they need guidance as to what not to visit and not be blasted with "porn" or "violent" or other profanities etc... I feel my job as a parent is to ensure they are not bombarded with this type of info/images.

I don't spy on them, i don't chk all the alerts i get as some are extremely silly,like my sons visited a "gambling" website as he viewed online vouchers for HMV? Or my daughter visited a "porno" site as she was viewing a website on beauty? But i want them to be safe so i don't mind these minor blips

But to say that NSM is designed as a tool for a parent/child get together is completely the wrong way of designing an online safety minder.

If Norton do not change NSM and sort out this farce I am sure a number of us users will just walk away from Symantec. As it seems you guys just don't care about the feelings of us parents who want to ensure that our childrens online activities are safe. A number of parents work for a living and as a result cannot chk the childs online activites 24/7 as its not just possible. A young impressionable child won't know any better by clicking on a link for online games and it takes them onto some unsavoury website about gambling or porn or violence.

NSM's job I felt was always to put the childs interest & welfare first and to protect them from this! Unfortunately it seems that this isn't the case

In my example my eldest kids share the laptop with the younger one's. If my eldest son disables NSM then when my younger kids go on the laptop they're going online "un-protected" that is surely not the NSM or Norton way is it??? From you're e'ee's comments it seems that this is a positive element of the s/ware - a bonus add-on you could say! Pls Symantec get your "PC" hats off and be parents for a change - or are the developers too young to know what parenting is all about?

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


thetazman wrote:

 ...

are the developers too young to know what parenting is all about?


I hope you're wrong.

I think you're right.

Remember how when we grew up, we (most of us anyway) always knew how to be a good parent and it almost always was to NOT be the way our parents were?

Same thing for teachers, too.

So here we have a lot of young coders and designers who are basing their thinking on simply trying NOT to be their parents or teachers.   And the older ones who might know better want to be cool and a member of the team, so they agree with them.

But, maybe (fingers crossed) I'm wrong.

Message Edited by mijcar on 10-30-2009 06:52 PM
mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

@Mariannmerritt:
I'm stunned by your reply. Mostly I am stunned by the outright arrogance of your reply....it's almost laughable. To assert that the program is designed to be easily defeated is preposterous and I'm embarrassed for you.

When you say: "....The issue I'm reading here is about the ease with which anyone can disable the Safety Minder. This is true, it's not hard to do. But the parent or account owner will be notified of this event.....which should lead to a discussion between parent and child is an important teaching moment"...I guess you missed the multiple threads and posts about the fact that the program has been sending many of us parents erroneous reports of the program being disabled- some times 4 or 5 times an hour even when we can see that it's working. If I treated each of those bogus alerts as a "teaching moment" I'd look pretty ignorant to my child who has not in fact disabled the program- despite how easy that turns out to be.

Unbelievably you go on to say "...If the child in question persists in defeating the program, perhaps the monitoring provided isn't the issue, but a larger discipline concern looms ahead. Not all parenting dilemmas will be or should resolved via technology...." For Symantec's first real response to the program working so poorly to include a forward-looking negative prediction about the disciplinary outlook for our child is really outrageous.

Message Edited by pwscott61 on 10-30-2009 06:10 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Mariann, I am so concerned over this policy that I think further comment is necessary.

About 5 years ago, there were just about 800,000 missing kids.

Of these, about 25% were family abductions (a parent or grandparent or other parent taking the child).

A small percentage were non-family abductions.

Another small percentage were discovered cases or rape and murder.

The majority haven't been accounted for.

Many missing kids are runaways; and of these many have run to someone who encouraged or enabled them in this act.  This is frightening, especially when these kids stay lost for good.

A larger and larger number of predators are using the internet, via social networks, to prey on kids who are insecure or vulnerable in some other way.  These are not necessarily kids from bad homes.  They can be kids who feel unattractive, who are rejected by other kids at school but are too embarrassed to ask for help at home; kids who have been caught cheating and are ashamed to go home; kids who for one reason or another are seeking a solution outside of their family.  All they have to do is be convinced into climbing into a stranger's car ...

It is not Symantec's job to try to stop me from intervening BEFORE THAT HAPPENS.  It is in fact your job to help me in every way to prevent it from happening.

You can publish a million disclaimers and have every user sign off (blindly) on the small print warning him that your product cannot be relied on, and yet I bet all it would take would be one dead, mutilated child that happened as a result of his being on an improper site under the imprimatur of your software, to convince a jury that you are culpable.

So if you won't help us for our sakes, maybe your bean counters will convince you to do it for yours.

Message Edited by mijcar on 10-30-2009 07:10 PM
mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

So in norton's view I am a bad parent for wanting to protect my children from obscene images???

I feel complete outrage for all users of nsm that had been lied to on numerous occasions by norton e'ees stating that the disabled nsm msg's were down to the child getting a hold of admin rights/passwords

before I posted this thread I viewed the other threads on disabled nsm probs and near enough in the bulk of those threads norton employees pushed the burden of blame onto the parents for not keeping a hold of their user accounts or passwords in safe places! As it now seems norton were aware if this flaw of disabling nsm and from marian's comments proud of it as it is the norton way! But is being honest to your user base not in your philosophy? Could you not have posted in ALL the threads on this site about disabled nsm's that this is the way it may have been done and if it was don't worry about your child viewing anything and everything as you did get a MSG to say nsm has been disabled (oh sorry was that because they got hold of admin rights so we should chg our passwords etc...)

please just be honest with us, Marian seems to have been. The philosophy of norton is one of complete and utter trust in your 3 yr old child. Don't worry about what they're viewing or doing that's irrelevant!!!
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I completely support you guys and I am astounded by the Symantec's reply. I do not blame them that they say all this politically correct crap. They probably want to look coll for young people, their future customers. However they are not honest to us, their current customers. Having said this, I am appaled by suggestions that if we do not like buggy software we are bad parents, because honestly, it looks like they mean this.

The main problem here is that they do not want to admit the obvious bug in their product. They are in deep denial. And the problem is that we, parents, are unable to distinguish false alarms from the real ones. And this is at the heart of the problem. I am not sure why the false alarms happen but I am expecting at least a comment and real effort in fixing this problem. But as we experienced for the last few weeks, we are ignored and then lectured about parenting. I am really disappointed. I am considering switching to other software. There is a number of software packages that offer features comparable with NSM. 

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

One more thought on Symantec's "philosophy":

"We want parents and children to discuss their House Rules and reach an accord as to how the OF.N settings will be configured."

How dare they intruding into my parenting style? Are they software company or child liberation front? What are they thinking suggesting me that I have to "reach an accord" with my child about the rules? Do the police negotiate with speeding drivers and "reaches an accord" with them on the speed limits?

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I was very disappointed to see the message from Marian Merritt in this thread. She is Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate.

 

Before subscribing to the Online Family beta I read statements from Marian about the philosophy behind it and understood and accepted that it involved parent-child discussion to build an understanding of the need for house rules. But I also got the impression that the software provided the capability to enforce those rules. This impression came from documents like Collaboartive family spirit is at the heart of new Norton guidance program written by Marian in December 2008 which included among a list of attributes of the software that it can “control the web content that flows into your home”.  And this view of the software still exudes from descriptions written as recently as August 2009 like A New Service Eases the Challenge of Keeping Kids Safe Online which is in the Norton Article Library and which states:

 “If you want to protect your kids from inadvertently interacting with inappropriate content, OnlineFamily.Norton makes that possible. The service blocks sites with mature material, and other questionable content.”These and many other similar statements describing the service are meaningless if the disabling of NSM by the child is considered an acceptable attribute of the software.  I question whether this attribute really does support the stated Norton philosophy. I also think it is very significant that there has been feedback from a number of parents questioning this apparent flaw in the software. But so far no parents have posted in support of it. Message Edited by dgardner on 10-30-2009 07:41 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


dgardner wrote:
...
“If you want to protect your kids from inadvertently interacting with inappropriate content, OnlineFamily.Norton makes that possible. The service blocks sites with mature material, and other questionable content.”

Read that carefully!

"Inadvertantly."  What an interesting word.  Think about what that sentence means.

If you want to protect your kids from ACCIDENTALLY interacting with inappropriate content ....

Great.

But if you want to stop your kids from DELIBERATELY interacting with inappropriate content, well, then, Symantec will have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Shopping for guns for your private Columbine, Symantec won't stop you.

Interested in how to make a lovely bomb of household items, Symantec won't stop you.

Feeling depressed and looking for an easy way to get out of it all, Symantec won't stop you.

But if there' the slightest danger that you might accidentally look at some site you don't want to (one about solving math problems, perhaps?) well Symantec will do everything in its power to keep that from happening.

mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Apologies for my last post above i'd spent quite a while writing a nice long post and the system messed things up & it was BLANK! I wonder if that was a Norton conspiracy??? I couldn't retrieve it again so i'm having to re-write what i can ...

Its been a while since a Norton e'ee contributed to this thread, sorry 1 norton e'ee with the great new norton way of doing things. it's a shame that norton seems to be composed of only "single" or "childless" people as there is no way a parent would agree with the principles or ethos of Norton/Symantec. Is it REALLY ok for my youngest child to surf "without restrictions" online, isn't it NORTON's job with this s/ware to protect their innocent minds, or as your e'ee stated who cares that is not our responsibility a parent should deal with it - i thought we were by buying (or in this case beta-testing your s/ware) your s/ware in the hopes it will protect them from harm?

Since my last posting i've been busy searching online for comparable  software but in this case that are actually sold as parental control apps rather than as ways of having a good hearty chat with my child. NSM is not a parental control appn it is not designed that way, it is purely an aide for us to have a 1 on 1 with our child if they decide to disable it, doesn't make any difference that my eldest disables it, shortly after my youngest goes online & views indecent images/articles. That's ok as Norton says that's all fine, its healthy for kids to view such things don't worry about it (as this is the norton way!). Due to Norton a number of us parents may have had our children view or witness online content which is NOT suitable for them.

I TRUSTED Norton to protect my child from harm (a big stmt I know but i had faith in Norton to work & keep them safe). I never realised that was never the intention of NSM till now!

The reviews i have seen recently online show NSM to be an excellent parental control app'n, do these reviewers actually know what they're talking about, have they actually used it? Do they know that it is NOT a parental control appn? Do they know it is extremely easy to disable by ANYONE??? I honestly feel like sending emails to these magazines/reviewers and give them the truth of the "ethos" of Norton, the norton way & of-course the fact NSM is not a parental control appn

BUT I will give the benefit of the doubt & hope someone in the Norton business sees the light & realises that we are right, disabling NSM should never be allowed for ANY reason (unless the parent disables it).

I wonder how many days or weeks it will be before a Norton E'ee shows their face on this thread & posts something, it seems if we beta testers find a major issue they call it a key component of the s/ware. A backdoor if you will to allow all full access to the WWW

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

The Defn of parental control software:

Parental controls provide parents with automated tools to help protect their children while using devices and services. ...

As nortons nsm does NOT do this can they legally be allowed to sell s/ware claiming that it is a parental control app?

The norton e'ee confirmed that is not the norton way ... (to protect our children!)Message Edited by thetazman on 11-01-2009 10:09 PM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

First, the developers are not too young to have kids, in fact I have 3, ages 8, 12 and 14.

Second the parents are notified whenever NSM is tampered with.

Let me pose a question to those that have written that this software should not be able to be disabled:

How do you prevent someone sitting at a computer with physical access to the machine from disabling any piece of software?

Matt

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

As for K9 Web Protection, I did a little research and although it appears to be a similar type product, this is a client only installed product. There is no way to configure or monitor from the internet as OnlineFamily.Norton does.

Also as for bypassing that product, there are many ways, including booting in safe mode, or a more clever way would be to just get a new license and install the product again:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_to_Remove_k9_web_protection

Unlike AV or security like products that are trying to protect against other software or internet threats, parental control software has always had the issue that the thing they are trying to protect against is sitting at the keyboard, which is a much different problem to solve.

Matt

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Matt- thanks for chiming in. You make some interesting points. If we could rely upon the notifications that the sw has been disabled, that'd be far more helpful. As it stands now, many of us,  for weeks and weeks, have been reporting receiving erroneous warnings that the sw has been disabled when it has not. You probably have heard the parable about the boy who cried wolf?? I could exemplify how a conversation spurred by bogus reports of NSM getting disabled might go with a 13 year old, but I'd like to keep this on topic to the software's functionality, accuracy, stability and dependability as opposed to parentind and parent<>child discussion. Let's see if may be Symantec can take care of  the software and we parents can take care of the parenting (I want to acknowledge the fact here that you're a parent Matt, thanks for saying so, and I bet you'd hate if Bill Gates or someone from McAffee or CheckPoint insinuated something about your child or your parenting huh?)

My participation in this forum started with just that issue..."hey, I keep getting these warnings yet I can see NSM working right in front of me...."  That hasn't been resolved as far as I can see. When it then came to light that some of these warnings for some of us parents are properly caused by the NSM so easily being disabled, well that pointed to software we can not rely upon.

Let's recall that Symantec billed this software this way in December of 2008:

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/norton/familyresources/resources.jsp?title=ar_try_our_norton_online_family_service

"...

December 2008 Summary
You’re away at work, or perhaps just in the other room. Your kids are online and you can’t see what they’re doing. Are they safe? Are they following the online rules you’ve set? Or are they doing things they shouldn’t? Do you know what they’re doing when you’re not there? Probably not. Many of us don’t. But now there’s a way you can be there, even when you aren’t......

 Unfortunately it seems to be turning out that the product marketing people should rephrase to say:

" ....But now there’s a way you can be think that you are there, even when you aren’t...."

They could even reasonably say that "...and, wait, theres, more....you can be notified that you're not there, when in point of fact you actually are, you're just relying upon a currently undependable tool for your presence..."

Getting the [late, inititial] response we got from Symantec was just, as I said in my earlier post, stunning.... I am accustomed to forums for customer input and for problem resolution, but I have never seen a reply like what we received above. And then no follow up, retraction, rephrase nor promise of resolution....just the suggestion that we look at our parenting and that we possibly go elsewhere. I just can't find a better word than stunning....may be the thesaurus helps here:

STUN:  amaze, astonish, astound, bemuse, bewilder, blow away, bowl over, confound, confuse, daze, dumbfound, flabbergast, floor, fog, hit, knock out, knock over, knock unconscious, muddle, overcome, overpower, overwhelm, paralyze, petrify, rock, shake up, stagger, strike dumb, stupefy, surprise

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I think we all support pwscott61 on that. We are not here to discuss our parenting styles, we are trying to ask you, Symnatec professionals, for help with a malfunctioning piece of software. We are really not that curious how hard is to be a software engineer. We are just asking for help from people who know how the software works and who wrote it. Is it so much to ask?

But the reaction of Symatec professionals is dumbfounding, stupefying and pertyfying. So, please, do not be surprised that people go off and rant here. We are expecting some damage control on your part. What we have received so far was an attempt to pretend that the issue does not exist, solving the problem by exchanging private messages with selected members of the forum, parenting advice and complaints how hard it is to write parental control software. Come on, people, get a grip!!!

Message Edited by zx81 on 11-02-2009 09:04 AM
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Ok with respect to the tamper warnings that the software has been disabled.

I can report to you that we have tried to reproduce the issue in house where the software claims to be disabled, but is not, but we have not been able to.

We have worked with several of the users of this forum and have yet to find an issue where in fact the software was not disabled. In each and every case so far, the software had some type of issue where it was not running properly and was resolved either by uninstalling and resinstalling, or just enabling it.

Now what does this mean, it means that right now we still don't know why it would be reporting that it is disabled, unless it actually was tampered with by the child.

So where do we go from here, I think if you are able (zx81, pwscott61) to reproduce this behavior that we would like to have our engineers take a look at your system and see if we can determine why it is behaving that way.

Matt

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I am open to helping Matt...I'd be OK with remote desktop to laptop etc. I have a day or so of meetings here but can send you a PM.
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


Matt_Boucher wrote:

As for K9 Web Protection, I did a little research and although it appears to be a similar type product, this is a client only installed product. There is no way to configure or monitor from the internet as OnlineFamily.Norton does.

Also as for bypassing that product, there are many ways, including booting in safe mode, or a more clever way would be to just get a new license and install the product again:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_to_Remove_k9_web_protection

Unlike AV or security like products that are trying to protect against other software or internet threats, parental control software has always had the issue that the thing they are trying to protect against is sitting at the keyboard, which is a much different problem to solve.

Matt


I know the shortcomings of K9 that is one of the main reasons i decided to try other "parental control" s/ware. Apologies for stating all Norton E'ees are parentless but just as the other 3 posters above (to whom i agree with) pwscott, zx81 (still not as good as the c=64 but that's a diff topic ) and of-course mijcar, I am getting very frustrated with the Norton team & that is why i'm venting off some of my frustrations. To be honest i'm being quite mild with my rant at the moment I feel very angry indeed with you guys for not viewing it from a parents persepective.

Matt (thanks for coming on the thread by the way nice to find someone at least responding to our views finally from norton!) mention another extremely silly point :


Matt_Boucher wrote:

How do you prevent someone sitting at a computer with physical access to the machine from disabling any piece of software?

You can't (in a lot of cases) if they're intelligent enough, but what MY issue is geared towards is that my youngest child is ALLOWED (by Norton) to view online content which is not suitable for them! Also if my 5 yr old can disable the s/ware is there any use having it? Most "protection" s/ware needs some knowledge of the registry or windows operating system to disable it completely. Yet NSM only requires a broken internet connection. Surely it would be prudent & a simple matter to NOT allow the s/ware to be disabled with 100% confirmation that the email address & password is correct, if you have no internet connection, NSM remains open & active. Once the internet connection is available NSM chk's the username/password to see if valid then disables or not

As i said in my post above:

"Parental controls provide parents with automated tools to help protect their children while using devices and services. ..."

NSM does not do this, I just want someone at Norton to put their hands up say yes this is a major problem & we will deal with it, please bear with us. Not if you don't like it then go elsewhere ...

I've said numerous times I do like NSM but this is unforgiveable allowing any individual access to diable the s/ware SO easily!

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled




dgardner wrote:

As I mentioned in my post a few messages before, I get the message and then monitoring continues.

But since reading @thetaxman's message I have followed his method on a non-administrator account and completely disabled NSM.

AND as @thetaxman said, it is blindingly simple, his 5 year old did it. I am sure it took me a little longer but I also managed it. I can't believe none of us ever thought of this before.

Here's how:

1. While in a monitored account, disconnect from the internet (I did it by flicking the switch on the laptop that shuts off the wireless signal and I also did it through the "connect to" menu item).

2. Click NSM (dog's paw).

3. Click disable NSM

4. When asked for the "parent email" and "parent password" type anything (but you must put something in both fields)

5. Click OK

6. You will get a message

7. Ignore it and click OK

8. NSM is now disabled. reconnect to the internet and there will be no monitoring of activity.

This method also works for extending time.

I was astonished that such a simple loophole has not been discovered before. I can't help wondering whether any of the seemingly harmless times I have seen the disabled message were really times in which my kids were wandering the internet unmonitored.

David



Matt if you go thro' the above steps listed down by David that should disable NSM without any problems, i have this issue on my main pc & on my kids laptop. Thanks for trying to solve this problem

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Matt,

Thank you. The problem on my systems is reproducing itself multiple times almost every day.

As I wrote before, I have NSM installed on two different Vista Premium 32 machines: an desktop using a wired connection to internet and a HP laptop using wifi. I am not using any other Symantec security software, however I have Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 on both systems.

What I noticed is that frequently I see duplicate NSM icons in the notification area even for accounts that are not monitored. When I right click those duplicate icons they dissappear.

The messages cannot be results of tampering by my kids. The messages were generated many times when I was logged into their accounts testing the software.

I will be more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

zx81

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

@thetazman  (off topic)

To be honest, when I was a kid, I tried all of them (zx81, zx Spectrum, C=64 and so on...), however for some wierd reason I finally got my own Atari (safe, no internet access obviously).

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Ok, let's see if I can answer some of the issues here.

First, thetazman, those steps to disable the software, we know about that however what other posters have been saying is that it is reporting that the software has been tampered without doing those steps to deliberately tamper the software.

To that point, let me talk with the engineering team again to see if we are handling the case you describe in the best manner we can. BTW I only posed that question because there was a lot of concern about removing software without knowing the right password. Seems a lot of people early were annoyed that they had forgotten their password.

Second, I only pointed out the deficiencies of K9 Web Protection when you told others to use that instead of our solution, as hard as we have worked you can understand why I would defend my team and software when someone takes a shot at us with something else that I believe is not nearly as good a solution as OnlineFamily.Norton.

pwscott61, go ahead and send me a direct email, my email is in my profile, we can set something up and have a look, thanks for the help!

And finally zx81 (home come you guys don't use real names ) the duplicate icons usually indicates that the service has died and was restarted automatically. If we could have a look at your system to figure out what is going on that would help as well.

Thanks,

Matt

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Thanks matt, from your comments and zx81's it seems his issues are nothing to do with intentionally disabling nsm. Here's hoping you manage to sort out his woes

with respect to the disabling of nsm as both you and Marian before you stated norton is/was aware of this flaw. What I need to know is anything going to be done about it as to be honest if nothing is I'd rather go elsewhere like Marian recommended and find a proper parental control system. Nsm does not work, is thus going to be fixed?

I don't want to waste my time & effort on a program that does not do what it says on the tin (so to spk) but I need you to clarify it, Marian told me to leave (if i didn't like the fact the s/ware can be disabled then go elsewhere)

here's hoping for a speedy reply?
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

thetazman - this is what we know right now

when the network is not available, children are able to show the credentials dialog box and get that dialog to succeed

 there are 3 scenarios for this credential dialog to show up

- uninstall

- extend time usage

- disable safety minder

In all cases the parent is notified of each occurrence. However there are reasons for 2 of the 3.

For uninstall we found that many people "forgot" their password and found that if we offered no way of uninstalling our software that they would get upset. Again the parent is notified of this condition.

For extend time usage, imagine this scenario, you network goes down, your child is typing a paper in MS Word and the time monitoring screen shows up. The only way to extend would be to put your credentials in, since we can not validate as the network was down your child would be locked out. Again not a scenario that we wanted and also the parent would be notified of the time extension when the network returned.

For the final issue "disable safety minder" there was supposed to be check for when the network came back on to return the state back to enabled by default. And again the parent would be notified of the condition of disabling safety minder. I currently have my engineers looking at this to see if something changed over the previous versions.

So there are really 2 things going on here, several are reporting seeing "incorrect" tamper messages and you are seeing the behavior of not re-enabling by default when the network returns. We are looking at both of these issues.

Matt

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

Matt,

If I understand your point correctly, this problem (as perceived by the parents in this discussion) is caused by a need (as perceived by the software developers in this discussion) to be able to uninstall, disable or extend time even when there is no network connection. This is a perfectly reasonable need as it would be very frustrating to be locked into the software just because the network is down. But instead of handing over control to the child why not hand over to an administrator account on the computer. This would be like most other software we install for our children including, I believe, NIS. If from a limited account someone tries to uninstall or disable NIS they are told they need someone with an administrative password to do the job. In fact, I think this approach is already in place for uninstalling NSM. While testing the method for disabling I also tried to uninstall NSM while in a limited account but got the pop-up requiring an admin account password.

If NSM required an admin password to disable or extend time while the network was down, it would be able to report which admin account did it when the network was back up and it reported the disable/extend.

NSM might not be able to validate whether the admin account being used to disable/extend corresponds to the person who has the account at Online Family but to me that is far less important than the issue of NSM just giving up its job because the network is off.

David

Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

I just recently started using the NSM and have been pretty happy with it so far.  I have also been experiencing what others have with the dreaded "Norton Safty Minder: disabled".  Is the only way to disable the NSM with the internet trick?  I just don't think my daughter would be wise enought to disable and re-enable the internet connection.  She claims that she just closes the pop up boxes that come up and it some how disables the NSM.  She knows that I am pretty good with computers so I just don't think she would try to pull a fast one on me, but you know how kids are these days.  I have not had time to personally test the product, so I am not sure what exactly she is seeing and what she is doing.  I will be looking into it more tonight and sit down with her.
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled


dgardner wrote:

Matt,

If I understand your point correctly, this problem (as perceived by the parents in this discussion) is caused by a need (as perceived by the software developers in this discussion) to be able to uninstall, disable or extend time even when there is no network connection. This is a perfectly reasonable need as it would be very frustrating to be locked into the software just because the network is down. But instead of handing over control to the child why not hand over to an administrator account on the computer. This would be like most other software we install for our children including, I believe, NIS. If from a limited account someone tries to uninstall or disable NIS they are told they need someone with an administrative password to do the job. In fact, I think this approach is already in place for uninstalling NSM. While testing the method for disabling I also tried to uninstall NSM while in a limited account but got the pop-up requiring an admin account password.

If NSM required an admin password to disable or extend time while the network was down, it would be able to report which admin account did it when the network was back up and it reported the disable/extend.

NSM might not be able to validate whether the admin account being used to disable/extend corresponds to the person who has the account at Online Family but to me that is far less important than the issue of NSM just giving up its job because the network is off.

David


And this is the strategy used by practically every family safety program available.  No matter who owns the computer, there must be an administrative user with a password AND the child user.

Now, I understand his point about a child trying to finish a book report when the computer loses internet connectivity.  For full protection and helpfulness, this should be a recognized state to NSM.  When the child is using the computer in this state, the child should have pre-determined limited access (to various office suites, editing programs, etc), but not to the Control Panel or other means for disabling or deactivating NSM.  For example, the child should not have access to Program Files or to anywhere NSM might have itself or its database situated.  All browsing software will be blocked.

Once an internet connection has been re-established, then NSM should return to its normal monitoring state and all browsers unblocked per NSM current standards.

mijN360 2013, v.20.1.0.24; Win7 Pro, SP1 (32 bit), IE 9, Firefox 14, No other active securityware
Kudos0

Re: Norton Safety Minder - what's its use? Disabled

We've currently isolated this problem regarding disabling the safety minder when there is no internet connection. A bug was found in the behavior described by Matt earlier in the thread, which is the current solution, in that the safety minder product will check to see if an internet connection is present, and then check to make sure that the client was disabled with an authenticated password, if it was not, the safety minder will be re-enabled.

You can expect this fix in the next version of the the Norton Safety Minder which will be released very soon. 

If you have additional problems around this area please start new thread. 

Thanks to everyone for their input. 

Andrew D. Software Quality Assurance Engineer Symantec Corp.

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