Computer Infected? Call the hotline

Government sets up another cyber-defence centre

Image credit: <a href="">Renjith Krishnan</a>

Image credit: <a href="">Renjith Krishnan</a>

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.

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