Adrian Kennedy asks: as I'm a keen (obsessive) watcher of everything to do with security on my PC, I was just wondering if it annoys you that more is not done by the goverments and leading manufacturers in the IT industry.

I've had first-hand experiance of negativity against securing details on a PC – a relative was asked what antivirus software was on their system, to which their reply was: "What's that? Do we need that?"

They've had their PC for two years and been on broadband for one of those. I just think a major input by our goverment is a must if we are to erradicate this problem, because it won't just go away.

Pete responds:

Last year, the UK government, the National Hi Tech Crime Unit, and several high-profile private sector companies launched an excellent initiative, GetSafeOnline, providing much-needed practical security advice for internet-connected home PC users. However, even this commendable effort and any amount of legislation are insufficient to turn the tide against highly-motivated and well-financed organised criminals intent on plundering the soft underbelly of the internet, typified by your hapless relative.

Collaboration between government, law enforcement, security companies and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) is needed to address the problem. The latter are ideally placed to make a significant difference. They can readily identify a compromised home PC, spewing spam, worms, Trojans and spyware or connecting to a rogue IRC channel. Unfortunately their business is highly competitive and they operate on the slimmest of margins. Government money would be well spent in assisting ISPs in cleaning up their customer population, as a public service. As you clearly feel strongly about this issue, I suggest you (and other readers) lobby your MP and demand action.