They don’t talktalk together and they certainly don’t play together like a team

TalkTalk logoTalkTalk rather high-handedly protects their clients from themselves by preventing a perfectly legitimate piece of software from being installed on their computers. The software in question is Teamviewer – that allows the user of one computer to see the screen of another computer and control the keyboard and mouse of that computer.

So what have TalkTalk done?

They have decided that if you (their customer) accept their default settings regarding internet security, then you will not be able to download the Teamviewer software. Now, I don’t know if this also affects any other software that works in the same way as Teamviewer (Logmein, for example) but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Why would they do this if Teamviewer is legitimate software?

As everybody knows, there are an awful lot of criminal scumbags out there who have realised that scamming other internet users can be an easy way to earn a dishonest pound. These scams can take many forms and most of us are familiar with many of them. One example is the email that purports to come from a friend who has been mugged in Spain and needs urgent financial help.

Another is the telephone call that comes out of the blue claiming to be from Microsoft or British Telecom or any other organisation, suggesting that your computer is full of viruses, errors, gremlins, boll weevils, or whatever. One of their tactics is to tell you that they can “prove” this to be true if you’ll let them take control of your computer (using Teamviewer) so that they can point out the problem. What they typically do then is to show you a part of Windows called the “Event Viewer” and pretend that all of the entries in the logs therein are “proof” of what they’ve been saying. As well as charging you to resolve non-existent problems, they might also use the “remote control session” to steal information from your computer, or plant viruses and malware.

Teamviewer logoNow, the point is that it is NOT Teamviewer that caused the problem. It is the gullibility of the user who allows Teamviewer to be misused in this way. TalkTalk’s high-handed stance is a bit like the nice lady at the Sainsbury checkout saying that no, I can’t buy a sandwich because I might decide to have a picnic on the outside lane of the M25. To put it bluntly, it would be none of her business. Neither is it TalkTalk’s business. And, by the way, have they not heard of the principle of “net neutrality” whereby all of the data that passes between an ISP and its clients should be equal as far as the ISP is concerned? According to this principle, they are not supposed to slow the data down or block it based on where it’s come from or is going to – and that includes remote control connections.

Luckily, you can change the (default) setting that causes the problem. I’m not a TalkTalk customer (as you might have guessed), so I can’t verify that the steps outlined below are still strictly accurate, but I hope that they are at least close enough so that you can work out what to do if you are one of their customers and want to be allowed to take your own decisions:

  • Log in to your TalkTalk account
  • Click on “My Services”
  • Click on “HomeSafe Settings”
  • Scroll down to “Scam Protection” and disable it. Despite the warning that TalkTalk might give you, you are not inviting the apocalypse by doing this
  • It may be wise to clear your browser’s data cache by clicking Ctrl Shift and Delete and following the instructions to clear browser data

Nanny

Do you really need a nanny to supervise your internet activity?

I have been using Teamviewer for years as a valuable aid in providing IT Support. It’s perfectly safe as long as you only invite trusted people to connect to your computer using it.

Oh, and just a little PS for TalkTalk: you could at least inform your customers when you are blocking something that they would normally expect to work. How do you expect them to know when an apparent malfunction is caused by your nannying?

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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