Computer Infected? Call the hotline

Government sets up another cyber-defence centre
Image credit: <a href="">Renjith Krishnan</a>

Image credit: Renjith Krishnan

A 24x7 cybercrime complaints office could be added to Australia’s burgeoning online defence portfolio, following calls by a federal parliamentary committee on Monday.

The office would join the twin government Computer Emergency Response Teams, the Cyber Security Operations Centre, the Attorney-General's Department, the office of the National Security Advisor, and the Department of Broadband Communications and Digital Economy to form part of what committee chairwoman Belinda Neal called “a national multi-sectional coordinated response” to cybercrime.

Neal said the committee also recommends that Internet providers be legally responsible for helping users remove malware and install security applications including anti-virus, anti-spam and firewalls.

"If we can follow the footprints of cyber criminals we can ultimately identify and prosecute them,” Neal told parliament.

“We want an e-security code of practice [to ensure] ISPs help educate users and help them remove malware.

“92 per cent of consumers support this... many consumers are oblivious to the threats.”

The mandated code would force Internet providers to educate new subscribers on the dangers of malware, phishing and botnets as they sign up, and bind standard practice of assisting law enforcement to locate and eliminate infections.

Member for Riverina, Kate Hull, said consumers have a “responsibility to be educated” and must become familiar with terms such as ‘phishing’, ‘worms’, ‘Trojans’ and ‘botnets’.

“We were told when home users falls victims... they go on a ‘sucker list’ where they are targeted more intensely,” Hull said. “I have educated my electorate on the dangers of cybercrime [and] the distribution of child porn and I handed out a booklet of what to look for, and how users can check for botnets on their systems.

“You would be surprised how many users would have botnets on their computers.”

The committee report, dubbed Hackers, Hoisters and Botnets – Tackling the Problem of Cybercrime, was referred to the next Senate sitting.

Join the Computerworld Australia group on Linkedin. The group is open to IT Directors, IT Managers, Infrastructure Managers, Network Managers, Security Managers, Communications Managers.

More about: Attorney-General




“92 per cent of consumers support this... many consumers are oblivious to the threats.”

And what was the question posed to those 92 per cent of people? I'll bet it had nothing to do with a bit of spyware being put on their computers or an internet filter...



92% of people support this, is becuase those 92% of people have no idea about spyware etc...the question was worded in a threatening manner, and most peoples reactions are always going to be the affirmative and will support such actions. I mean really, ISP's are going to get involved in this situation. As if they want to and have the resources. Its typical of government making or trying to make these assinine regulations with no real thought on the implementation.

Computer users should be responsible for their computer safety. Why does the government seem to think it has to baby people in the community all the time over a range of matters. This makes people more reliant on government intervention in a wider range of areas expecting the government to step in and fix it.

I see this as another layer of cost that would be passed on to the internet user by the ISP if they are forced to support these radical proposals.



Kate Hull MP has no idea what she is talking about (which illustrates the widespread ignorance on this issue).

Her claims:
“ users can check for botnets on their systems."
“You would be surprised how many users would have botnets on their computers.”

They don't have 'botnets' on their computers Kate. Infected computers become part of a collection of compromised computers. This *group* of compromised computers can be referred to as a 'botnet'. But you don't "get a botnet on your computer".

Good luck with the continued education of your electorate.



Dismissing her efforts because of a minor error in terminology seems a little harsh. At least she's making an effort, rather than trying to push the responsibility onto random third parties. Making ISPs responsible for viruses and malware would be like making car dealers responsible for road safety.



Maybe the goverment should buy the book, dummies guide to the internet. I am so over the goverment trying to wrap this country in cotton wool. They should go back to collecting basic taxes and servicing basic needs. PS the internet is not a basic need, just a nice to have...



Why is it that nobody can act on these issues in an intelligent and honest manner :
1. Yahoo free mail provide free anti-virus, anti-spyware before downloading to one's PC.
2. How come ISP's like Bigpond, etc. do nothing similar, despite charging some of the highest worldwide internet charges .......



Kevin is right, it's the thought that counts and shows the value or otherwise of what she is doing.

And if Mark wanted to be so picky, he probably should have found out that her name is Kay, not Kate.



I just wish these parasites in Cantberra would keep their filthy hands OFF the internet.



The internet is not just "nice to have" anymore Greg.
It's crucial to many businesses now of all sizes.



Yes, exactly, Brad, the Internet is now "nice to have" in the same way that roads, power, water and garbage services are nice to have.



Far out so typical, you've got a communications minister who struggles to understand the concepts of anything related to I.T and Belinda 'look at your past' Neil thinks shes benefiting consumers. Perhaps someone from I.T should run for senate and introduce a law that pollies only get payed if they are shown to be productive for the country. At least the later has a idea what their talking about.



Oh hey... I can't work out why my excrement won't leave my toilet... can I call the watercorp to find out why and what to do? Can they run me through how to fix it.

Oh, and my toaster isn't working either... I better call Western Power.

I know I probably come off as an elitist, but I miss the days when the internet was daunting enough to keep most people away.



> Business | Malcolm Maiden | Sat Mar 06 03:00:01 EST 2010
> Malcolm Maiden
> Kant imperative to rebuild capitalism
> Justin O'Brien, the University of NSW corporate law professor, raised an interesting point about the global financial crisis at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's Summer School...
I think this outstanding Article is more to the point than the Political-economic waffle I have just read.

Do any of the above know what a rootkit is?
Or have heard of DLL Hell
Or know that cookies, and bots are a necessity for most Dos based systems to run in the first place.
Just do a search on "backoffice" and "backorifice".
Children in developing countries cut their teeth on malicious system drivers.
Or that most of the Antivirus software is owned and controlled by the Platform Providers.
Or that former Doubleclick, a former notorious source of Virus, is or was, a Service Provider to Telstra.
Or that Hackers get the top jobs.
This is a moral issue, don't promote criminals.
There is a way out but it requires a Copernican Shift in thinking.
Our University IT scholars are teaching outmoded computer technology.
People in the know don't work in the realm of html they use the morally conscious Java based software, like eg Javacool, which is absolutely free non commercial.



In case anyone is wondering, TimeSwagman's post is largely meaningless.



What a load of rot. I work selling computers, and can not believe the ignorance of people buying them. They can't tell the difference between an operating system (such as Windows) and an application such as Office. Most of them don't even know what OS they have. How are these people going to know how to recognise a virus and how to handle it, much less any of the other problems that confront users.
Rather than make the ISP responsible, why not make Microsoft responsible for making their system secure. If Linux and Mac programmers can do it, a multi-billlion dollar company like MS should manage to do it too.



Hmm Meaningless, what can I say to that Simon.?
So I guess I'll have to enlarge on my comment for your sake.
I didn't enter the computer Industry until late 1960, sorry.
if you have taken the time to read the SMH article, you will see that the emphasis in on Design not Desire.
Desire is WYSIWYG, Object Oriented empirical activity and employs immediate Logic. All vertebrates use it, and can think, but not reason, as you and I do.
Design is Not WYSIWYG, but Subject Oriented thinking and
employs mediate logic which is hypothetical and consequently delusional.
Software (indeed all software) employs hypothetical delusional logic.
So what am I implying Simon.?
That computers should not use software ? Yes and No.
First, Applications should be Industrially generated from a
Model, derived from a CAD tool dedicated to Reasoning, only one such tool exists, alas I cannot advertise it.
We employ it to make cars and toothbrushes automatically, so why not Applications, hmm becoming dangerously political, sorry.
The UML like Model should be in three stages, and signed off.
1. Proof of Concept 2. Proof of Logic, and 3. Proof of Physical. three signatures. Why? well Simon, simply because we must treat any System as Complete before we begin to Build, ie change the Application from Receivable into a Payable.
The Application Provider then receives payment upon Sign-Off. Today, over 90% of all applications never reach completion, and those that do are out of date, because the target business has moved on. Markets wait for no one.
This method is call a Critical Method of which Kant is the inventor, and is commonly called a Pyramid System, or a Franchise model.
This is an Industrial approach and facilitates the destruction of all Application Programmers. Today hand-held devices are leading the way with tiny dumb WinCE software programs.
Thousand of people, 4500 in Aus today and more on the way.
The overpaid IT seat warming professional is on the way out fast. Sorry again simon.
Now Simon, you are probably wondering about the Platform itself, the bottleneck we are facing today.
I will leave that to my next small short comment.



Microsoft and the ISPs in my experience are taking responsibility but at the end of the day if you put a person who has had no training or experience behind the wheel of a car he's going to have an accident. We should need to show a computer drivers licence before we can buy computers.

At the moment the people who are trying to educate the general population in online safety really don't understand the concepts themselves, are untrained and inexperienced. Ironically the problem is politicians and policy makers.



Good one Denis.
If I were to buy a car and the dealer says to me "don't open the hood (bonnet in Aus) or I'll sue you", and gives you a disclaimer which list all the things he won't do for you. And finally says "don't open the bonnet (hood), you have only licensed it".... Sorry Simon I know I sound ridiculous.
But really Denis? how is it possible for any ordinary, plain vanilla, person to understand You or Simon.
Joe Blow just wants to buy a reliable computer which he hopes will work as reliably as the motor-mower he just bought from the corner hardware store.
The reason he cannot, comes down to Monopolies which
have enormous disposable wealth and can do anything they Want, not what we Need.
Time itself will level the playing field.
That's my job..



At the moment the people who are trying to educate the general population in online safety really don't understand the concepts themselves, are untrained and inexperienced. Ironically the problem is politicians and policy makers.

Spot on Ben.
Politics is "War by other means", some people believe that haggling is better than just buying according to a fixed price.
That is fine in a bizarre, love em, but Australia is an Industrial country, from 1788. I read the fine print, and then shop around,
take my computer home, load my you-beaut malware killers and wait. Then I go shopping on that great BIZZARE called the Web (in safety)
Fingers crossed.



Other great ideas in this senate report <--sarcasm

• "Changes to the law to make unauthorised installation of software illegal." •
Say goodbye to open source development. This would restrict development of software to approved channels only. And instigate a system of "jailed" PC's similar to mobile phones.

• "Companies who release IT products with security vulnerabilities should be open to claims for compensation by consumers." •
Microsoft are going to love this idea. Most software programmers will tell you its impossible to make 100% secure software. I read a quote somewhere that to make a system secure you need to put it on a hard drive then lock it in a safe, incase it in concrete. Then drop it to the bottom of the ocean. And it still wouldn't be 100% secure. This may even see a lot of software companies shy away from selling to our small market.

• "Infected computers would have their internet terminated." •
Okay another good idea unfortunately most virus cures are delivered via the internet through networking and peer support to help find the source of the issue and eliminate it. Lets attack the victim.

Scams are everywhere on the internet these days for example go to the google news page type in "ufo" one of the top hits will be (number 1 hit on my search)
"UFO blamed for missing plane in African Congo region, Alien seen"
this will link you to a site that is clearly a platform for scammers. it has various adds for work from home scams (see google add scams) that generally work by offering a free pack on how to make loads of money. They just need your credit card details for postage. The fine print reveals a hidden monthly fee of up to $100 a month for membership until canceled. Cancellation as expected will be as difficult as possible.

No amount of AV or firewalls can protect against stupidity. Its primarily an education issue. And I really don't see how its the ISP responsibility to provide this. And if they are forced to, the cost will be passed onto the consumer. Increasing the cost of internet use further and possibly out of reach of lower socio-economic groups.

Lets just hope if this hotline does appear they employ trained professionals and no "Hello, Can I help you." ."Have you tried rebooting your system?" "Do you have Norton's AV installed" "No, well sorry sir we don't support any other AV system."

As far as "If we can follow the footprints of cyber criminals we can ultimately identify and prosecute them,” might wanna check on extradition process for places like Nepal, China and Eastern Europe as this is where most of these scams originate.

And if you see an email stating that you won a lottery that you never even entered and they just need credit card details to verify. DELETE IT.



Brad answers Greg.
it is good when the participants can call each other by name.
This changes the Net into a Community, and Community is far superior to a Network, it has Soul.
This is the point (I think) Greg is trying to make:
The Network is being overrun with advertising. Greg, like myself prefers (I think) to stroll about window shopping (surfing) without feeling intimidated with having to differentiate the true Value from the Price.
Social networking Communities are filling that gap.
You brad have a good chance of surviving.
Good business



Wow 20 Citizanofthenannystate
Lets just hope if this hotline does appear they employ trained professionals and no "Hello, Can I help you." ."Have you tried rebooting your system?" "Do you have Norton's AV installed" "No, well sorry sir we don't support any other AV system."

I'll let you into a secret.
I turn my Antivirus, Firewall off, completely, and my system runs heaps faster. I use Java-Cool protection and a few other free non commercial product which use the VPN, in off -road mode.
The Government admits they do not have the skills to control us. They are locked into Micro$oft's html expressway, which is traffic jammed. Even M$ itself is caught in it.
It is losing huge market share, and is living on borrowed time.
Good luck



While we are talking about protecting people online. NEVER EVER disable your firewall! Doesn't matter what type of computer you have. If your toaster can connect to the net make sure you have a firewall in front of it.



Lol, thanks Tim,
I personally use a Mac and don't have to much of a problem with viruses or malware, though i admit there are a few around for Mac's these days and possibly more as there market share grows. I'm not stating that converting everyone to macs is the answer though it might be a start as the apple OS is a lot safer for the novice user than windows

This report also suggests compulsory firewalls and anti virus installation for all internet access. Under some of the proposed policy you would not be permitted to access the internet using your current setup mentioned above.

The issue really does come down to education and not draconian measures of censorship and mandates. For the novice internet user a good AV and a firewall is a must. But the more experienced, should have the freedom to police there own system as they see fit. The quote you mentioned was in regards to how I expect the government to proceed with something like this. Pick a mainstream AV system and mandate its use on every PC, Windows, Mac or Linux base.

What concerns me foremost is this seems to be a veiled attack on social freedom. As you say "The Government admits they do not have the skills to control us. " Possibly this is what there trying to achieve, control. There fear and lack of understanding of the internet is leading them to get creative with finding ways to censor and monitor its use.

With ideas like Netnanny coming from this government. It concerns me when they start throwing ideas around like the ones I mentioned in my post above. I read somewhere that Netnanny averaged out on total cost to license granted to around $15000 per license and is now redundant.

The report above also sounds like its suggesting we make our ISP legally liable if they fail to protect us and educate us. This is a bizarre concept from what I can see my internet costs will be driven up higher every time a teenage kid gets sick of those annoying popup security warnings and clicks Okay,okay, okay and becomes infected with a trojan. And the solution proposed is ring the ISP its there problem.

The problem of "cyber crime" is an international issue and even the giants of the industry have problems protecting themselves and us from it. Its also a fairly common idea that a good percentage of viruses possibly originate from the very people who sell AV systems.

Maybe the government should be leaning towards working with these industry giants to educate and understand properly the issue before sinking a load of taxpayers money into a stop gap measure that is doomed to fail before it even hits the ground.

I just don't want to end up safe like a N Korean in a little bubble of propaganda. With access only to government approved sites and mainstream industry endorsed software packages. The Internet gives us the ability to access views and expressions that are not available in other commercial media. And possibly not inline with a current governments political agenda...



Yea lets give away our freedoms so the granny next door doesn't get infected by a botnet. (lol)

I wan't the government / my ISP to scan files my computer & monitor all my traffic so I don't get infected by a virus..

Well I'd rather be infected by a virus then to have the government invade my privacy.



hasnt any heard of the Ironkey...stop wasting money fags. just get everyone in oz an ironkey and that will be THE END of aussies beings scammed PERIOD!

Will O.


It is customers/users responsibility to keep their computer out of spyware and virus; just like you are responsible for your teeth & gum, skin, and hair hygiene.
My work is build, upgrade and fix computers includes virus and spyware, adware cleaning. So please don't steal my job Mr Government.
Also ISP has implement lots of security protection to protect their server and other clients that are connected to it. My ADSL was cut down for a while because my (customer) PC sent infected files out.



What's next, a license to play Wii?

Get an f'n clue people.

Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: security, cybercrime
All whitepapers

NBN Co hits 105Mbps in limited FTTN trial

Sign up now to get free exclusive access to reports, research and invitation only events.

Computerworld newsletter

Join the most dedicated community for IT managers, leaders and professionals in Australia