Talk Talk talks up Internet security

The ISP admits ISPs should be doing more to protect their customers

ISPs should be doing more to ensure customers are not sent malware, according to Talk Talk and F-Secure.

Talk Talk, the Carphone Warehouse's ISP, has joined forces with the Finnish security company to create a subscription security software product. But both firms said on Thursday ISPs should also be doing more to protect customers from the threat of viruses, Trojans and worms at the network level.

"Of course an ISP should look very seriously at security within their network," said Brian Gregory, F-Secure's UK and Ireland ISP business manager, who urged ISPs take all necessary steps to protect customers.

Mike Gatman, project manager for the Talk Talk/F-Secure security package, agreed that ISPs should be doing more to ensure customers are not sent malware.

"Talk Talk broadband is a secure service," Gatman told ZDNet UK. "We wouldn't know how to reduce the risk to customers unless it was offered as part of a package," he added.

Gatman added that customers were becoming aware that "viruses were getting more cunning," and that "it can be a matter of minutes before [the customer] was exposed to something," after connecting a new PC to the Internet.

ISPs have come under growing pressure in recent months to address the issue of security, rather than simply leaving users to cope with the rising tide of malware. Some experts have compared the situation to a water company that sells its customers a supply of dirty water and expects them to filter it themselves.

Richard Cox of security analysis company Spamhaus claimed in April "the majority of [ISPs] do not know who their customers are." "If you have a problem, you will not get a response. They will not firewall your network, but they do firewall the customer support centre so you cannot get through."

The TalkTalk security package is available to all new and existing subscribers, who can install the security software from CD or download from the TalkTalk Web site. It is free for the first three months, after which it costs £1.75 per month for a standard package, and £2.00 per month for a premium package. "This is one of the cheapest packages on the market," said Gatman.