A UK government policy announced on Tuesday would force users to “pay” to access a number of popular sites in the country, as part a move to protect them from hackers.
According to the policy, which has been described as a “tough-on-crime” move by many UK news organisations, sites will need to provide an “acceptable level of security” for consumers to use them, and offer “goods that are not likely to be stolen”.
“For example, a site may not be a ‘trendy’ site or a site that is not popular among some users, or it may offer something which is not appropriate for people in your age group,” the policy reads.
“Alternatively, a website may offer a service which you do not want to use and therefore you will have to pay for it.”
“There is a risk that someone could use these sites to access harmful content or to access potentially illegal or inappropriate content.”
While many websites have already been subject to a government-imposed “zero day” blacklisting for hosting malware and other malicious software, this new policy will require sites to “take action” to ensure their users can access content.
“The measures announced today will help protect the interests of consumers and businesses by making it easier for them to access content and services,” said a spokesperson for the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
“This includes requiring sites to provide clear and effective safeguards against malware and similar security threats, including the possibility of payment.”
The UK government’s stance comes in the wake of a series of high-profile ransomware attacks that have forced businesses to temporarily suspend operations.
A group of hackers recently took advantage of a UK government “zero-day” blacklist to launch a “ransomware” campaign targeting several of the country’s major internet providers.
The BBC has reported that UK Prime Minister Theresa May is considering a “further tightening” of the zero-day blacklist as the country faces “the threat of cyber-attacks from nations such as Russia and China”.