People have the right to free access to content online. But malicious software can cause someone’s computer to act without their knowledge. So with the changing digital threat environment in mind, we are continually looking for ways to protect our customers from these types of threat to their systems and communications.
People often accidentally install malicious software on their own computers. This lets it control their computer. Hackers use malicious software not only to take personal information from a computer but to use it to attack other computer systems and websites.
We develop and test technologies continually to protect our customers against such online crimes – usually by disrupting communications between the hacker and the computers they’ve compromised. We don’t believe this infringes rights to privacy or free expression. Our customers wouldn’t intentionally be sending such communications to illegitimate sites which our security analysts know are associated with malware. And by blocking these communications, we may stop criminals getting hold of our customers’ personal information or attacking other people.
If we think criminals are using a computer, we may block some traffic from it to protect our network and our customers. Again, we don’t believe this infringes rights as our customers won’t have sent these communications intentionally.
We also take action to block ‘phishing sites’ which falsely impersonate BT, often with a view to extracting personal details from our customers. The sites are almost identical copies of our BT website but they link to third party sites, so we know they aren’t genuine. Phishing is on the increase: in 2014 we took action to close 9,442 phishing sites.
Technology gives some protection against viruses and wider online criminal threats. Our help pages18 have lots more information to help people stay safe online. BT Protect – free to all our consumer broadband customers – helps protect their equipment from viruses, scams and phishing attacks by warning them if they’re about to visit a potentially harmful website. Once BT Protect is switched on, all devices on the customer’s broadband connection will be protected when on the internet. It will also work when they are out and about in the UK and using their BT ID to log in to BT Wi-fi.