ISPs called on to bar 'nasties'

Internet service providers could lift their game when it comes to clamping down on malicious code such as worms, viruses and of course spam, according to McAfee chief security officer Ted Barlow.

While most offer third-party spam filtering, the time is fast approaching when anyone who uses an ISP could demand and expect "security in the clouds", Barlow said. Because ISPs and carriers currently share information about their networks and might see questionable activity two to three days before bad traffic - in the form of viruses or malicious code - becomes a problem for users, they could have a perfect early warning system.

"ISPs need to deliver connectivity and would help in the overall fight. Instead of value-adding their product, they might show better performance down the road," Barlow said.

"Why not stop something before it spreads to all machines as it moves through their (ISP) backbone?" he asked. If the problem could be stopped at the source or key points it would be a much better job.

"I think the best place to tackle the problem is with service providers; companies and individuals expect them to provide clean pipes without viruses, and I think consumers should also fairly soon be able to expect security in the clouds - of course people should put defences in place as baseline security, but they should also expect extra protection from service providers."

A spokesperson from Telstra said customers are provided with security platforms included in various Internet connection packages; however, it is a matter for customers whether or not they choose to install or use provided security.

"We warn customers on the dangers of the Internet and that is why we make security products available," the spokesperson said.

"However, if customers have sensitive information then a firewall at their end makes all the difference."

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Michael Crawford

Computerworld
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