Press release: ISPA Launches iCode to Help Counteract Malware

Published on: 2013-04-30

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The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has announced that its iCode will come into effect on 1 May 2013.

The iCode is a voluntary code of practice designed to make it safer for South Africans to work and play online by encouraging Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to educate their customers while monitoring their networks to identify customers whose machines are possibly infected with malware.

Having notified the customer of possible infection, the ISP would then help direct its customer to resources which would assist in disinfecting the affected machine.

“The Internet has become an essential part of society and a vital platform for business. As an industry body we are constantly working for ways to improve the experience of end-users,” says Marc Furman, co-chair of ISPA. “As such we recognise that we have a duty to help our clients mitigate the risks inherent in using the Internet.”

ISPs who have adopted the iCode will display a trust mark on their websites and other communication materials.

Mr Furman notes that many ISPs already follow several of the practices stipulated in the iCode. He says that there is benefit in adhering to a common standard insofar as computer and Internet security is concerned in order to make it easier for consumers to understand the levels of service they can expect from ISPs in this regard.

“Codes like this are important in providing standards for the industry and building public trust in it,” Mr Furman says. “It also provides our members with a best practise guide for what they need to do to deliver this kind of service to their customers. We are in the service business, after all.” In terms of the iCode, ISPs will have to undertake prescribed activities related to education, detection, action and reporting of malware.

As the iCode becomes better known, ISPA expects that compliance will act as a differentiator for service providers and should also help to reduce customer calls to service desks. By improving awareness of suspicious activity on their networks, the iCode will also position service providers to respond to threats much more rapidly.

Security in the online world is a moving target. ISPA hopes that the launch of the iCode will help to improve the culture of cyber security that underpins a safe Internet. By providing plain-English communication about cyber threats, as the iCode requires, ISPs will help inform the public. They will also help customers who are frequently infected to develop simple and effective safety strategies.

“By its very nature, a network is only as safe as its constituent parts,” says Mr Furman. “Raising awareness among both service providers and consumers will, we believe, play a role in helping to make the Internet more secure, thus protecting both the users of the network and those who keep it up and running.”

ISPs compliant with the iCode include: Afrihost, Connection Telecom, Cybersmart, eNetworks, Imagine IPS, Internet Solutions, Interexcel, Neology, Jireh Technologies, MWEB and Workonline Communications.

The iCode has already been adopted by the Internet Industry Association (IIA) in Australia.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.