Germany plans Internet virus phonecall alerts

CIOL Bureau
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STUTTART: German officials are planning to step up the fight against online viruses by phoning Internet users to warn them their computers are infected, an industry summit was told Tuesday.


Germany's federal computer security agency (BSI) and the German internet business federation ECO said Internet providers already had the technology to know which of their customers were infected.

They estimated one quarter of the computers in Germany had been taken over by harmful software.

The action plan calls for service providers to write letters or make phone calls to the victims drawing their attention to the danger. Germany would set up a national help desk to advise people step by step over the telephone on ridding computers of viruses.


BSI explained the plan at the Information Technology Summit, an annual meeting between industry chiefs and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The chancellor appealed to the industry to extend broadband internet access to the remotest German villages.

Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle said new jobs in computing could replace those lost in other dying industries.


A survey funded by the government suggested that Germany has slumped into mediocrity in the computing field.

The survey offered a ranking of 15 nations' competitiveness in the overall information and communications technology field, awarding the United States the top score. Germany tied with Norway for seventh place, according to the data from the TNS Infratest survey company.

Even more damning were the judgements of Chinese and US experts asked to say where they had noticed excellence in Germany.


One unnamed Chinese expert said, "The competency of German companies is going down very fast." A US expert said, "American people who do not work with technology will not know any German technology or leading company."

The report, distributed at the summit, recommended Germany improve education in computer science and promote new inventions.