Broadband Internet Use Has Its Risks

from the no-surprise-there dept

A new study is coming out telling us something most people already know. High speed internet connections have more security risks, mainly due to their “always on” nature. What they don’t seem to point out (though, it’s been pointed out by other studies) is that many people already seem to realize this. The real problem isn’t education about the risks – it’s that most users are confused by security offerings and are afraid to install it themselves. They would prefer if their ISPs handled everything at the other end so that end users didn’t have to worry about a thing.

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Comments on “Broadband Internet Use Has Its Risks”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

ISPs Responsibility

Broadband ISPs should contact companies like Symantec (makers of Norton AntiVirus) and Zone Labs (makers of ZoneAlarm) and get quantity-discounted versions of their respective software and put it on the setup disc they give to new and existing customers.

With those two programs running on every one of their connected Windows machines, we could see viruses, worms, DDOS attacks and just about everything else eliminated in short order in the U.S., but only if the ISPs really want to do it.

Maybe with all the crazy ‘net legislation being discussed, we should encourage our senators and representatives to push for mandatory anti-viral and firewall software inclusion in all broadband startup kits. Don’t mandate the use of it, just make sure that every user gets a copy of the software.

Saygin? says:

Re: ISPs Responsibility

This thread needs to be expanded a bit more because there is not really a clear answer on this. The ISPs DO NOT want the responsibility of providing [and arguably, later maintaining] the antivirus and firewall software of their subscribers. For them it would open up liability questions that can’t easily be brushed aside. The secondary and tertiary responsibilities that come with providing the software would also violate the cherished wall separating ISPs from the content or actions of their subscribers. [Ignore for a moment that the DMCA and the RIAA/MPAA are actively trying to knock down that wall.]

At the level of the home computer, I would argue that antiviral and firewall software are not the responsibility of these service providers. Their responsibility lies at the network level. They should be held accountable for the integrity of their own network — the means of holding them accountable will surely be driven by market forces.

Instead, let me offer a different model which does still include government regulation and accounts for personal choice as well – the automobile manufacturer and its responsibilities under government regulation.

Now I don’t know whether HP or Microsoft should be the point at which antiviral and firewall software is bundled with a computer, but I do think that the analogy to seatbelts and airbags is appropriate. In fact I would lean more toward the OEM being responsible: Just as they must choose a processor, OS, HD configuration and software bundle to move their machines in the market, they should include Antivirus and Firewall software.

The argument for government regulation or enforcement of this requirement goes to the Internet being a common good. Like the U.S. highway system, there is a compelling interest for a minimum level of regulations (speed limits, seatbelt laws, etc.)

So, yeah. You may not buckle your seatbelt, just as you may not update your antivirus software, but there is a strong compelling interest for that seatbelt to be there in the first place.


thecaptain says:

laziness never pays off.

Sure…let someone ELSE take care of it.

THis is the same mentality that is at the source of the “Blame videogames” series. Can’t be bothered, it should be a law, do it for me…no I shouldn’t have to pay taxes…not my fault.

Its not THAT freakin hard to take rudimentary (and in most cases, its enough) security steps, if my grandmother can do it, so can anyone.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: laziness never pays off.

Is your grandmother smart enough to find anti-viral software and a firewall on her own and install them? Or, like most everyone’s elderly relatives does she call you up and ask you to come take care of it?

There is no good reason why an ISP shouldn’t be responsible for making sure that all of their customers have all the software they need from Day 1 and provide support to them for installing it.

It’s no different from when I got to renew my license plates and the BMV makes sure I have valid car insurance before they’ll let me drive another year. They have a legal, ethical and moral responsibility to make sure that the users of their service (the ‘privilege’ of driving) are protecting themselves and others around them.

Earthlink goes out of their way to tell you about the free pop-up blocker that they provide, MSN is gung-ho about the SPAM e-mail protection that they provide – where are the ISPs who are going on and on about the security and safety that they provide?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: laziness never pays off.

And if I told my ISP I was running Free BSD or BeOS or NetBsd or Window 3.1 or Windows 95 would they still support me or tell me to get an upgrade ? or the better yet, ‘we don’t support that OS’ and then turn off my connection. Thanks but no thanks on having the ISP or Government get involved. Hold the end user accountable. ’nuff said’

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