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Government must do more to protect people from malware, say MPs

Needs to make consumer software more secure

The government has been urged by MPs to do more to protect the public from malware and other online attacks.

The parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee has published a report today which urges the government to make it possible for computer users to check online whether their computer has been taken over by cybercriminals to spread malware to others.

The MPs on the committee have urged the government to work with ISPs to set up a botnet testing site for concerned consumers. A botnet is when a computer is taken over by others without the knowledge of the owner.

They have also recommended that the government should consider a kitemark for the software that consumers use, to enable them to consider which software satisfies their basic security needs.

As the MPs don't want a kitemark system to price out smaller software providers they have recommended that a relatively cheap online testing system is set up with the help of the government.

The MPs also want the government to better fund the Get Safe Online campaign and have urged it to begin a widespread online safety campaign on TV and other parts of the media.

They say that as the government is embarking on a strategy of delivering more services and benefits to citizens through online means, it has a duty to bump up online security awareness too - not just concentrate on the savings to be made from online delivery.

Andrew Miller, chair of the commons science and technology committee, said: "We are asking the government to provide details of how they intend to engender greater trust in online products and services within the UK population.

"We are also demanding an assurance that the 'digital by default' approach will mean better and more secure, rather than merely cheaper, government services."

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