REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 9, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Web Watchers, an Internet security and safety program directed at kids in grades three through eight. The program provides teachers with age and curriculum valid lessons that help students understand both the opportunities and risks of the Internet, such as how to help protect their identity online and avoid installing malicious software. Nearly 13,000 school districts across the United States serving 4.6 million students have the opportunity to take advantage of this program in the final months of this school year. As part of the program, participating schools will be eligible to win US$1,000 or $5,000 for the purchase of new computer hardware and software as an incentive for student’s families and friends to take steps helping secure their PCs.
Microsoft is joined in the program to educate students, teachers and families about the fundamentals of online security by AMD, which has recently released AMD64 processors with Enhanced Virus Protection capability, and other companies who have made a similar commitment to computer security such as McAfee, NetZero, Cox Communications, Comcast and The CyberSmart! Education Company.
Internet safety and security mirrors many of the issues found across society. For instance:
One in five Internet users younger than 17 received an online sexual solicitation or approach during the past year, according to ProtectKids.org.
A USA Today story detailed how intruders seeking to “hijack” personal computers for illegal purposes try to break into unprotected PCs connected to the Internet up to 341 times per hour.
More than half of fourth to eighth grade students say they have been bullied online according to a CBS 2 Special Report.
Beginning February 9, 2005, schools can sign up to participate and access program materials by visiting www.WebWatchersOnline.com . Once engaged, the site provides students and their families a 4-minute online overview that will walk parents through several important actions they can take to help make their computer’s more secure, and allows them to vote online for their child’s school to receive technology funding. Voting is open until March 31, 2005. Additionally, the website has a dedicated “Teachers Corner,” with content developed by CyberSmart!, providing curriculum, teacher’s guides, activity books, and other resources teachers can download to facilitate important classroom discussions, such as chatroom bullying.
“The Internet can be such an effective tool to deliver opportunities for children to learn, share, and participate in their community outside of the classroom, but there are risks that need to be understood,” said Anthony Salcito, General Manager for Education at Microsoft. “The Web Watchers program is intended empower teachers to educate students and their families, enabling them to make safe and educated decisions when using the Internet.”
“AMD cares about consumers. We developed Enhanced Virus Protection as our unique way to enhance PC security and help protect consumers against specific viruses,” said Marty Seyer, corporate vice president and general manager, Microprocessor Business Unit, Computation Products Group, AMD. “We truly support this initiative to protect PC users of all ages worldwide.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Enhanced Virus Protection will by default only protect the user’s Windows®
operating system. After properly installing the appropriate Windows release, users must enable the protection of their applications and associated files from memory buffer overrun attacks. Contact your application software vendor for information regarding use of the application in conjunction with Enhanced Virus Protection. AMD and Microsoft strongly recommend that users continue to use third party anti-virus software as part of their security strategy.