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November 17, 2007 // 12:15 pm - Video game consoles, which are increasingly being used to surf the Internet, aren't generally equipped with antivirus protection like PCs.

Security vendor Trend Micro Inc. thinks they should be, though. It has launched software for Sony's Playstation 3 that promises to block malicious Web pages and those dealing in sex, drugs and violence.

The company bills the software as the first of its kind for a home gaming system. It was released earlier this month as part of a PS3 upgrade and will be free until April.

Some industry experts wonder whether consumers will leap for the technology the way they snap up security products for the more vulnerable PC and whether protection for video game consoles is really necessary.

"I think the jury's still out," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Friedman Billings Ramsey. "Over the coming years, as the console becomes more common in terms of Web browsing, that's when you can really try to gauge what type of opportunity it is for the antivirus vendors."

Tokyo-based Trend Micro's software applies the company's technologies for identifying Web sites that host malicious code and those that serve as launch pads for scams to steal passwords, financial data and other personal information.

The company says video game players are increasingly vulnerable to Web attacks as they use their consoles for more than just gaming. It vows the new software will make PS3 users feel safer browsing the Internet.

In addition to blocking malicious Web sites, parents can use the software to block their children's access to sites that depict illegal activities or sexually oriented material. A password is needed to access that feature.

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