The Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications’ Inquiry into Cyber Crime entitled Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets was released last night. It is a very long report with many recommendations. the main ones being that an Office of Online Security be established by the government as well a 24 hour public help centre.
There was a clear message to the Committee that home users are most vulnerable to cyber crime, often unwittingly exposing themselves and others to e-security risks through a lack of online protections. While prevention through education is important, on its own education is insufficient to combat sophisticated cyber crime techniques. The Committee believes that it is time to shift our thinking toward a model where consumers, industry and government accept greater shared responsibility for personal Internet security.
This report is not dealing with the current fad of blaming all social ills on social networking sites, but to do with the most prominent of actual cyber crime, online fraud, theft or destruction of information via spyware and malware and the controlling of your computer (as a botnet) by others. This is a really major problem and one which is being addressed here. Some of the recommendations are excellent and would give home users better knowledge and tools to protect their computers. These include ISP’s having to inform you if they suspect your computer has been compromised, and the power to deal with websites that are corrupted or hosting spyware or malware. However some recommendations seem impracticable:
a requirement that [ISP] acceptable use policies include contractual obligations that require a subscriber to:
install anti-virus software and firewalls before the Internet connection is activated;
Read the report, and then go check your anti-virus.