Australians may soon have to use IT security software on all internet connections

In a specially commissioned report, written by a multi-party committee of MPs and senior civil servants, the Australian government not only mandates the use of IT security software – with ISPs acting as the auditors for its presence – but also seeks to crack down on most aspects of cybercrime.

The report – titled `Hackers, fraudsters and botnets: tackling the problem of cybercrime' – proposes the creation of an Australian office of online security headed by a cybersecurity co-ordinator and backed up with 24x7 online help plus e-crime reporting facility.

The Canberra Times reports that the proposals have the backing of many sections of the Australian IT industry.

The paper quotes committee chair and Labour MP Belinda Neal as saying that the Australian Communications and Media Authority detects thousands of compromised computers every day, "with many people often unaware that their personal financial information is at risk of theft by criminals operating online."

The report says that Australia needs to apply the "same energy and commitment given to national security" to the cybercrime threats that have impacted on society more generally, noting that the current voluntary code of conduct amongst ISPs should now be made mandatory.

Australian Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos, meanwhile, has gone on record as welcoming the report, but has asked for more time to review the IIA's voluntary code, which was only introduced recently.

The move has similarities to a discussion amongst ISPs in the UK in the early days of the internet in 1993, Infosecurity notes.

Those discussions on internet security – which included imposing anti-virus software on internet users by ISPs – eventually led to the creation of the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) some two years later.

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