ISPs urged to increase security responsibility

AHTCC founder and former eBay security head calls for ISPs to do their bit in the fight against cyber crime

The founder of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) has called on Internet service providers (ISPs) to cooperate with each other and government to fight cyber crime.

Alastair MacGibbon, who is also former security head at eBay and author of the report Cyber security: Threats and responses in the information age, also encouraged ISPs to beef up end user security.

“Your ISP should be providing upstream filtering for malicious code, they should be looking for major behavioural changes and sharing that data with government so that individuals that are causing trouble can be identified,” he said.

MacGibbon argued that while some ISPs have invested in self-regulation, and kept up with emerging cyber threats, the majority have not and don’t have any intention to provide extra security monitoring unless the customer pays.

“While end users can do some things to improve their safety and security, the large bulk of this is out of their hands,” he said. “I could be running the anti-virus and the best firewall, and still be vulnerable to threats.

“ISPs play that crucial role connecting you to the Internet, and as a consequence have the greatest chance of identifying who it is that they’re dealing with.

“Anonymity is one of the great friends of criminals and foreign governments that are doing the wrong thing online."

The report, commissioned by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), called for the establishment of an ISP code of conduct that needs to be registered with and enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), as opposed to the existing code which is voluntary.

“It is inappropriate that backyard ISPs — providing such essential services to the community — should be allowed to provide limited safety and security measures to their customers,” the report said.

MacGibbon also said the Rudd Government needs to broaden the scale in which it addresses cyber security and better address end users in its policies.

“If we truly want to be a smart nation, if we truly want to have new technologies, then we need to be investing from a governmental point of view at a rate that is consistent with our uptake of those technologies.”

The report, released last week, also said Australia needs a central ‘Internet shop front’ where the public can report cyber security matters.

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Tags securityISPebayAustralian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC)Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)cybercrime

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