Melbourne-based Linux and open source software provider Cybersource has launched what it describes as an internet-safe computer package for home users via resellers, with a similar business product in the wings.
Ron Fabre, product manager at Cybersource, said the open source-derived software provider was offering a specialised PC, dubbed the Safe Internet Computer (SafeIC), that would make web browsing and email use almost completely safe from malware.
Users could buy the SafeIC to use instead of their usual home PC, for children to use, or for risky activities such as online banking or email.
"It runs from read-only media, has no firewall or anti-virus software because it doesn't need to. There's nothing to update. It's running Linux," Fabre said. "It's got OpenOffice in there to allow users to create and manage their Microsoft format documents."
Users could surf the web, shop and bank online, use web-based email, work with Microsoft Office files and graphics applications, use IRC and IM, and play games.
"It's like a trim client," he said.
Cybersource seeks an unspecified number of Australian resellers for the home use product. A business-grade edition was in the pipeline. If special applications were needed, Cybersource could tailor CDs to order, he said.
Malware attacks were multiplying while standard IT defences were proving only partly effective. With SafeIC, users didn't download anything and couldn't get infected, Fabre said.
SafeIC made it "impossible" for malware to affect system modifications. Each time a user restarted the computer, it was wiped clean of any malware and reset to default, he said.
Website favourites and other individual information could be stored on a USB key, which could then be unplugged from the SafeIC, he added.
The small PC plugged into a router or office hub and had a "totally unique" artchitecture, so no malware -- including keyloggers or spyware -- could permanently damage or infect it, Fabre said.
Some 90 percent of PCs had malware installed on the machine, he said.
However, SafeIC -- being a separate client -- could not protect other PCs in the home from becoming infected or detect infections, Fabre said.
Cybersource was offering a complete package, including hardware, for an RRP of $595.
Resellers that wanted to use their own hardware to make post-sales support easier were encouraged to do so and would be provided with a software installation package, including manuals, he said.