Consumers underestimate computer virus threat-BT

Consumers do not take seriously their exposure to viruses and hackers and they are reluctant to pay for better computer security, telecoms operator BT Group said on Wednesday.

"Most consumers believe that the threat is less than it is and the protection they have is better than it is," Andrew Burke, chief executive of BT Entertainment, a branch of BT Retail's consumer business, told Reuters on the sidelines of a broadband conference in Montpellier, France.

"They (consumers) need to have the best protection and getting them to pay for it can be difficult," Burke added.

Burke said the operator was installing increasingly complex systems in people's homes and was concerned that with these came higher exposure to viruses and hackers.

"The risks to security are growing exponentially as we install more and more complex systems. Yet, consumers still don't think they are under threat," Burke said.

He explained that computer security risks increased when consumers downloaded music and videos via the Internet and a key issue for the operator was "protecting the home from malicious software that comes in and eventually takes over your devices."

Consumers buy various anti-virus programmes and network protection systems from operators but that may not be enough.

"Who takes responsibility for those multi-party solutions is a question," Burke said.

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