AusCERT 2013: NBN users need security professionals’ help, says Google

Chief technology advocate Michael T Jones says router improvements, education needed

Google has urged security professionals to help Australians stay safe on the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Speaking at the AusCERT 2013 conference on the Gold Coast, Google chief technology advocate Michael T Jones told delegates that there should be a “sense of obligation” to protect 23 million Australians.

“Right now you have this special situation because there is the NBN rolling out,” he said. “A greater percentage of people are going to have high speed broadband so how do we ensure that it is an Internet wonderland for them?”

According to Jones, people are purchasing Wi-Fi routers and may not know which ports should be active or creating a secure service set identifier (SSID) on their home Wi-Fi network.

“Which routers come pre-configured with a custom unique password? None of them. How hard would it be to make up a random number and include this as a password?

“AusCERT could get engaged and strongarm legislators so that boxes come into the house that are safe,” he said.

Searching for winners: Google

Jones added that security professionals can either teach Australians to avoid the risks or do it for them. For example, he said that if security updates are applied, computers can “get better” over time. However, many people do not install updates or turn security updates off.

“Maybe the league of Internet Service Providers [ISPs] can look at that and say, 'Hey, you haven’t done an update in the last three month, I’m going to send you a mail.’”

He also encouraged security professionals to talk with people who may not know the risks.

“Computer security missionary behaviour is about talking. People know how to use Google Maps, Facebook or the iPhone because they learned from others.”

According to Jones, Google can also play a part with Internet security as it sees, on average, 2 billion of the people who are online every day.

“We can show them a good map but we can also use the interaction with users better to help them such as mobile two factor verification for consumers.”

However, Google is not in the position where it can be intimate with people but security professionals are, he said.

“They trust you to do the right thing for them."

Hamish Barwick travelled to AusCERT 2013 on the Gold Coast as a guest of AusCERT

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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