Should Anti-virus be Mandatory – South Korea Thinks So!

South Korea is now contemplating a new law that would require computer users to have anti-virus installed on their computers.  The law is called the “Zombie PC Prevention Bill.”  The South Korea law would
1.    Impose a statutory duty on every citizen to install and to use security software
2.    Confer on the government department (Korea Communications Commission; KCC) the power to ban or to allow the business of those security solution providers which KCC chooses to ban or to allow according to certain criteria.
3.    Make the security solution providers to focus on winning the favour of government officials
4.    Empower the KCC agents, without a warrant, to “examine the details of the business, records, documents and others” of anyone upon mere suspicion that the person (individual or company) has violated the duty to use security software.

While I believe this bill goes too far, is the basic idea of requiring users to maintain up-to-date anti-virus a good idea?  In the US, conversations have already occurred about whether ISPs should be allowed to disable botnet-infected computers to prevent the infections from spreading. That means that an ISP could disconnect a system from the Internet without the user’s permission once it had detected the PC was compromised by a botnet.

I think this is a big question and while many free antivirus software programs are available is this enough?  As our society becomes more integrated and dependant on the Internet and more laptops, smartphones, and iPads are plugged in do we need to ask ourselves this question: Is surfing the Internet with a virus-infected computer “socially irresponsible?”

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