The government has called for home computer users to tighten security as part of a fight against internet related crime.
In a new report 'The future of netcrime now' the Home Office has warned that poor security among home broadband users is leaving them exposed to criminal threats, including hacking and identity theft.
Criminals are also using viruses to take control of unprotected PCs, amassing thousands of compromised home and business computers to launch distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, the Home Office says.
DDOS attacks are then being used to bring down ecommerce and corporate websites for blackmail and financial gain.
'Permanent connection to the internet, coupled with the poor security adopted by most users leaves them vulnerable to being hacked,' the report said.
'Such unauthorised access could be motivated by targeted maliciousness, the gathering of personal information for identity theft, or a non-personalised attempt to take over a machine to use in an attack against a third party computer.'
Paedophiles and other criminals are also avoiding police detection by using compromised computers to store illegal material, such as pornography and pirated software and music.
The report said: 'Rapid uploading and downloading may also encourage the remote storage of large data sets (e.g. paedophile image collections) outside the home to avoid detection from law enforcement if a computer is seized.'
Seven out of the top ten criminal threats in the report related to paedophilia with corporate espionage, phishing and piracy also ranking high.
The Home Office also warned that the government, law enforcement and business also needed increase efforts against internet crime to identify new forms of computer misuse before they become widespread.
Source: Vnunet News