Feeds

Demand for safety kitemark on software stepped up

MPs want new standard plus web security schooling

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The government and industry ought to do more to promote online safety, according to an influential panel of MPs.

Politicos on the Science and Technology Select Committee called for the expansion of Get Safe Online and similar efforts, and for more prolonged awareness campaigns geared towards dispelling fears and encouraging common sense.

The committee wants a single place where punters can get basic security advice, stripped of confusing technical jargon, plus television campaigns.

It also wants public services to be convenient and secure by design, rather than focused on cost-savings, because the government's "digital by default" policy will require citizens to access services, including benefit payments, online.

Finally, and most controversially, MPs want to see "safety standards on software sold within the EU, similar to those imposed on vehicle manufacturers". Industry self-regulation is the preferred route towards achieving that goal but the panel said that if that fails then legislation ought to be considered.

In a statement, Andrew Miller MP, chairman of the committee, said:

Despite the increasing use of malware, the internet is still a reasonably safe place to go about one’s business, provided users take a few sensible precautions. Government departments need to realise that better public information about computer safety could save huge numbers of people the hassle of having their personal details stolen.

Knowledge is the best defence against fear, so the Government should focus on raising awareness of how to stay safe online - rather than scaring people about the dangers of cyber crime.

The group's recommendations follow a series of hearings on malware and cybercrime that resulted in the publication of a formal report last week.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, welcomed the report while emphasising the need for better cybercrime reporting mechanisms to properly scope the extent of the problem.

"We strongly believe that greater awareness and education regarding internet threats is a key element in fighting cyber crime, and it's encouraging to see the committee's report not only back this idea, but also to recommend that messages need to be customised carefully for the different generations of people using the net," he said.

"Simple, easy-to-understand language is by far the best way to help computer users understand how to protect themselves online, and we are keen supporters of the government-backed GetSafeOnline website.

"We need an independent way of measuring the cyber-threat that's out there.  Much of the data used by the report is supplied by security vendors, who - one can argue - could have a vested interest in hyping up the internet threat.  To avoid such accusations, proper systems must be put in place to make it easy for citizens to report internet crimes and malware attacks," he added, while suggesting the first place to start would be teaching cops how cyber-criminals work. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.