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Internet service providers (ISPs) should take a tougher stance on internet users who attempt to use the web via an infected PC, it has been claimed.

Scott Charney, of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing team, claimed that security risks can be reduced if virus-infected computers are blocked from the internet.

He said that by placing PCs into temporary quarantine, ISPs could help clear viruses and avoid placing other users' systems at risk.

"Simply put, we need to improve and maintain the health of consumer devices connected to the internet in order to avoid greater societal risk," he claimed, in a proposal put to the International Security Solutions Europe conference in Berlin.

"Commonly available cyber defences such as firewalls, anti-virus and automatic updates for security patches can reduce risk, but they're not enough. Despite our best efforts, many consumer computers are host to malware or are part of a botnet."

A number of ISPs now offer free anti-virus software to UK consumers signing up for their broadband deals, in a bid to reduce the risks associated with internet use.

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