White House Officials Declare War On Botnets
May 31, 2012

White House Officials Declare War On Botnets

Officials from the White House have announced a coordinated effort with several trade groups and private companies to combat botnets, reports Grant Gross from IDG News Service. Members of the Industry Botnet Group (IBG) will share information, educate users and promote innovation with the aim of mitigating threats.

Members have agreed to report on attacks and the measures they´ve used to combat infected networks, members of President Obama´s administration announced.

“The issue of botnets is larger than any one industry or country. This is why partnership is so important,” says the Obama Administration´s cybersecurity coordinator, Howard Schmidt. “The principles the IBG is announcing today draw on expertise from the widest range of players with leadership coming from the across the private sector, and partnering with the government on items like education, consumer privacy and law enforcement.”

An estimated 5 million computer systems were infected with botnet malware in the first quarter of 2012, said Michael DeCesare, co-president at security vendor McAfee. About 10 percent of US computers are infected with botnet malware, officials said.

DeCesare explained that combating the problem will require organizations across the internet to work more closely together, “We need to make sure these machines do not get infected in the first place. We need to do this by delivering security at a faster pace than our adversaries can deliver malware.”

Several members of IBG announced a consumer education campaign called Keeping a Clean Machine, supported by the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Federal Trade Commission and the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

The US Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center announced that it has begun working on a pilot program to share information about botnets, writes TG Daily´s Emma Woollacott. Organizers hope the effort will lead to new standards for sharing information about botnets, the White House said.

Members of the IBG include BITS/The Financial Services Roundtable, the Business Software Alliance, Online Trust Alliance, Software Information Industry Association, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, National Cyber Security Alliance, Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, StopBadware, TechAmerica, the United States Internet Service Provider Association and the United States Telecom Association.

“No one entity can combat these security challenges alone,” says Liesyl Franz, vice president for cybersecurity policy at TechAmerica, speaking on behalf of the IBG. “Individually we can take measures to defend ourselves, and together we can do even more to protect the ecosystem.”