'Wild West' internet needs a sheriff
Peers call for legal liability for security bugs
The government needs to do more to protect ordinary users from cybercrime and safeguard the growth of e-commerce, according to a report from the House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee.
Peers argue that a "laissez-faire" attitude to internet security by a range of interested parties including government, ISPs, hardware and software manufacturers, and others is playing into the hands of hackers. The committee's report says that a "wild west" culture where end users alone are responsible for ensuring they are protected from criminal attacks online is "inefficient and unrealistic".
Cybercriminals are highly skilled, organised, and motivated by financial gain. In this climate, individual internet users are increasingly victimised, but instead of either acting itself or providing incentives for the private sector the government insists that users are ultimately responsible for their own security, according to peers.
The Lords' committee proposes a raft of measures to improve the security landscape. Proposals in the committee's Personal Internet Security report include:
- Increase the resources and skills available to the police and criminal justice system to catch and prosecute e-criminals
- Establish a centralised and automated system, administered by law enforcement, for the reporting of e-crime.
- Provide incentives to banks and other companies trading online to improve the data security by establishing a data security breach notification law
- Improve standards of new software and hardware by moving towards legal liability for damage resulting from security flaws
- Encourage Internet Service Providers to improve customer security offered by establishing a "kite mark" for internet services
The committee also recommends that the government should urgently review its decision to require online frauds to be first reported to banks rather than police, a measure that came in April. "Victims of e-crime should have acknowledgment from law enforcement bodies that a serious crime has taken place," peers reckon.
Lord Broers, chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said: "The internet is increasingly perceived as a sort of 'wild west', outside the law. People are said to fear e-crime more than mugging. That needs to change, or else confidence in the internet could be destroyed.
"You can't just rely on individuals to take responsibility for their own security. They will always be out-foxed by the bad guys. We feel many of the organisations profiting from internet services now need to take their share of the responsibility. That includes the IT industry and the software vendors, the banks and internet traders, and ISPs."
Lord Broers acknowledged that enacting laws alone won't make for improved internet security. Nonetheless, he argued that government had a role to play in providing incentives to the private sector and by putting more resources into law enforcement.
"The state also needs to do more to protect the public, not only the government itself, but regulators like Ofcom, the police, and the court system," he added. ®
ISPs are the problem
ISPs could be the solution. Most include some variety of modem device in the package. Make it incorporate an SPI firewall. Make it block SMTP traffic to any host other than the ISP's mailservers.
But no, a disposable USB-attached piece of shit is the norm.
Complain to ISPs whose subscribers relay spam. Currently they simply don't feel any pain. We should be overwhelming their abuse mailboxes in precisely the same ratio that they are instrumental in flooding our own.
you don't migrate you graduate.
Look it's like this everybodies not going to
start using Linux if you get well enough good and
fed up and decide to learn something you graduate
to Linux some of you got stuck along the way you
guys win the Darwin award you make sure people
in Russia and other places don't starve by your
being such complete suckers life is good but
only if you learn and adapt;.]
Oh yeah and if you have enough money you
are probably OK with a mac.
I'm thinking of a badge, not a five pointed star but a 'cloud' shape. Maybe about 3 inches or so in size, gold for sherrifs and silver for deputies perhaps.
I used to be a good horse rider, maybe I can apply for training. Organising a posse to go find Stamford Wallace would be hard work but great fun.
(I'll get my coat)