'Leaky' Internet heads to safer waters: IIA

The second-generation Internet will be designed for e-business and its protection levels will increase in line with its value, according to Internet Industry Association chief Peter Coroneos.

Coroneos, who launched the association's campaign against spyware last week, said he disagreed with statements made by Professor Trevor Barr, Swinburn University of Technology, that the Internet would be in chaos by 2010.

"When the Internet began as an offshoot of a research unit between universities, there was absolutely no reason why you would need to interfere with someone else's machine and cause it to act in a destructive way," he said.

"Then the Internet exploded in size far quicker than systems could be developed to keep it secure. We are now just dealing with the legacy of a first-generation Internet that was not engineered for e-business and security."

The evolution of IPv6, which allows for end-to-end security, shows that technology is moving in a more secure direction and we are now just in a transitory stage, Coroneos said.

"Microsoft's Longhorn project is an example of a more secure technology, where the operating system is being written from the ground up to make it secure," he said.

"We are at the moment patching a leaky ship until the new one is built. It doesn't mean the old one is not seaworthy, it just means we've got to be a bit more cautious about how we use it," he said.

Coroneos said the IIA's campaign was developed to make people more aware, but not afraid, of the security issues.

"We want people to know that there are problems, but to not be afraid of them and know that there are tools out there to enable them to still participate in e-business in a safe and secure way," he said.

According to the IIA, about 80 percent of machines have some form of spyware installed on them, often without the owner's knowledge.

The IIA defines spyware as software that is secretly installed on a computer and takes information and/or bandwidth from it without the permission or knowledge of the user.

The IIA national anti-spyware campaign includes a series of fact sheets and free or discounted trials of various anti-spyware solutions. Details at http://www.security.iia.net.au/australian_resources/security_issues/spyware.html)

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Dahna McConnachie

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