Broadband surfers get free hacking defence

BTopenworld customers will get free security tools to fend off computer hackers

Broadband Internet users in the UK with BTopenworld are to be provided with free security from Internet Security Systems (ISS), following a deal announced at the ISS Connect 2001 Security Summit in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Customers using BT's broadband ADSL service will be provided with a 90-day trial of ISS's Online Scanner, which will automatically detect and alert them to potential security vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities could include out-of-date virus updates, the existence of Trojan horses and other backdoor programs such as SubSeven, which allow remote users to take control of a computer, and poorly configured Web browser settings.

However, the trial only lasts for 90 days, and Online Scanner does not allow users to print or save the reports that it generates.

The scanner is designed to detect vulnerabilities that could lead to security breaches and allow third parties to eavesdrop on online transactions. "It gives BTopenworld subscribers the ability to effectively determine which e-commerce Web sites protect their privacy and which ones don't," said Robin Dahlberg, managing director of ISS's UK and Ireland operations in a release. "Enabling them for the first time to make a truly informed decision about where to shop online."

An always-on Internet connection makes ordinary Internet users a more accessible target for computer hackers.

Britain's leading telecommunications firm is clearly keen to try and prevent the risk of broadband turning into real life hacking horror stories. BT says this is the first of a portfolio of security-based services it plans to roll out this year.

"Ultimately, the ability to manage risk will make e-commerce a much more attractive proposition for our customers," said Marc Deschamps, chief operating officer at BTopenworld's broadband division, in a statement.

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