Australian government proposes enforced antivirus use

The Australian government has made a parliamentary report for cyber crime and suggested that the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) must force their customers to make use of antivirus as well as firewall software otherwise,  they risk of being disconnected.

The chair person of the committee Belinda Neal mentioned in the preface of the report named “Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime”, that because of exceptional increase in cyber crimes like malware and others in modern era, “the expectations which the users should bear solitary responsibility of having their online personal security isn’t an acceptable proposition any more”.

She further added, “We had to apply the same commitment and energy towards national security as well as the critical infrastructure protection for cyber crime threats which impact severely on society.”

The report has recommended a new compulsory “e-security practice code” for ISPs. It’s suggested that the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) and the IIA (Internet Industry Association) should jointly establish this code under Telecommunications Act.

This practice code would force ISPs as well as their users to install firewall and antivirus software. It’s also suggested that the users should be educated on how to guard themselves from malware and hackers when they sign up for the first time to the ISP. If any user’s computer is infected, this code would force ISPs to confine that user’s way in and eventually disconnect that user from internet fully until his/her system has been completely cleared from the infection.

This new practice code is probably based on the code which IIA drafted in September 2009 and its expected come into effect from December 2010. Though signing to that code is deliberate for ISPs.

In this report Tony Smith, Minister for Communications, has mentioned about mandatory obligation for ISPs. He said, “[To] quickly and significantly set up requirements, which ISPs contractually need its subscriber to install firewalls and antivirus software, prior to connecting to internet, opens up an overabundance of new responsibility issues for users.”

Some of the 34 recommendations mentioned in report include:

The Government should set up an “Office of Online Security”. This office’s head should be a cyber security controller, having proficiency in e-security and cyber crime. The office should be situated within Department of Cabinet and Prime Minster, with responsibility of whole government coordination.

The Government should develop a single portal for national cyber crime for online reporting and helpline.

The Government should establish an agency for overall data collection and set up agreements on how the industry and government agencies will protect and share information for research.

The Government should supply free antivirus software.

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