Mixed reaction to new internet safety campaign

Security experts have pleaded with the U.K. Government to tackle the problem of hacking and zombie networks by targeting ISPs who let malware through their networks and onto end users' computers.

The Get Safe Online campaign was launched earlier this week as joint initiative between the U.K. Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, part of the National Crime Squad and private sector sponsors. But experts have criticized the campaign for failing to confront ISPs over the problem of malware.

"While this action by the Government is certainly a step in the right direction, it could be argued that this measure is merely shifting what should actually be a problem for ISPs onto the shoulders of the public," said Jamie Cowper, senior technology consultant at secure messaging company Mirapoint.

Cowper questioned if any other industry would expect users to willingly pay for a service that regularly exposed them to security threats and inappropriate content. "ISPs have a duty to protect their customers - network policies must be beefed up, and emails should be checked to see if they are infected or clearly unsolicited before arriving in the user's inbox."

He added that ISPs must be told that they can no longer continue to sell poor quality services. "As the Government's campaign demonstrates, this is a matter of national importance and ISPs need to assess their 'business as usual' mentality."

Others said the campaign would fail if ordinary computer users were deluged in too much technical speak.

"The problem at the moment is that internet security is a confusing landscape, with tech jargon going over the heads of the typical consumer," Tom Newton, product manager for SmoothWall.

"The industry needs to provide software which ordinary people are not afraid to use, at a price they can afford to pay," said Newton.

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