An anti-virus software company has called on ISPs to protect their customers, rather than leaving it to consumers to do themselves.

With the House of Lords debating internet security, F-Secure's UK and Ireland manager Richard Hales has insisted that it is not the government or the consumers that should look after security, but the internet service providers.

ISPs are currently doing their utmost to be seen as merely conduits to the internet, meaning the active monitoring of people's downloads and browsing would not only be a massively unpopular breach of privacy but also ramp up their responsibility.

Stronger control

However, Hales insists that the government should assert stronger control over ISPs and make them provide 'security' as part of the package.

"The Government is right when it says consumers should not manage their own Internet security. Many people do not realise how vulnerable their personal information is and many rely on outdated security software or even worse, none at all," said Hales.

"In contrast to other members of the EU with much tougher restrictions, the Government has been slow off the mark in dealing with Internet crime. In a perfect world, the consumer would be completely removed from the equation with internet service providers taking responsibility.

"This would mean that Internet security would be a de-facto addition to any and every Internet connection, security-as-a-service offered by ISPs protects customers much more effectively."

Escalating internet threats

He continues: "Our own experience of 175 ISPs globally shows that in cases where security is part of the package, in excess of 70 per cent of consumers make use of the service.

"By asserting stronger control over ISPs and introducing industry-wide security standards, users will be better protected from escalating internet threats.

"It is also the responsibility of the security industry to work with local Government and international law enforcement agencies to report Internet crime and bring criminals to justice."

Of course, should this happen and ISPs opt for companies other than F-Secure, Hales' comments could well come back to haunt him.