If key recommendations from a new report tabled in federal parliament overnight are enacted, you may be barred from accessing the internet unless your PC has anti-virus software and a firewall installed.
The recommendations were made by the Standing Committee on Communications in its report called Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime.
Some of the key recommendations in the report include:
* the establishment of a 24-hour seven-day-a-week cyber crime consumer helpline
* the setting up of an Office of Online Security within in the Department of the Prime Minister to oversee cyber-crime on a national scale
* free access to malware-detecting scanning software
* development of a Code of Practice for Internet Service Providers (ISP) that requires:
a. ISPs to provide basic security advice to new account holders
b. mandatory notification to consumers if an ISP believes the user’s IP address has been compromised by malware infection
c. users to have installed anti-virus software and firewall before the internet connection is activated, that they keep the software updated and take any reasonable steps to remove any infections once notified.
In the response to the report, Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Tony Smith, said he believed mandating contractual obligations on consumers to have and maintain anti-virus software as being “problematic”.
“Every fair minded person agrees that it is critical to take steps to ensure all internet subscribers understand the importance of, and their responsibility to secure and maintain security of, their own computer systems. It is clear that while many Australians do take steps to ensure the security of their systems by installing and diligently maintaining security software, large numbers do not, many of whom are unaware of the dangers and potential costs to themselves and the wider community,” Tony Smith wrote.
The Shadow Minister added that to implement the requirements could leave consumers open to liability.
“However, to dramatically and quickly institute a requirement that ISPs contractually require the subscriber to install anti-virus software and firewalls before connecting to the internet, whilst well meaning, opens up a plethora of new liability issues for subscribers.”
Committee Chair Belinda Neal says “Australia needs to take a cyber-space perspective and cut through the territorial and jurisdictional boundaries of traditional institutions”.
Funny, but there was no mention about the Portal…