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US government to beat back botnets with a cybersecurity code of conduct

Amar Toor, @amartoo
September 23, 2011
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Old Uncle Sam seems determined to crack down on botnets, but he still needs a little help figuring out how to do so. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a request for information, inviting companies from internet and IT companies to contribute their ideas to a voluntary "code of conduct" for ISPs to follow when facing a botnet infestation. The move comes as an apparent response to a June "Green Paper" on cybersecurity, in which the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force called for a unified code of best practices to help ISPs navigate through particularly treacherous waters. At this point, the NIST is still open to suggestions from the public, though Ars Technica reports that it's giving special consideration to two models adopted overseas. Australia's iCode program, for example, calls for providers to reroute requests from shady-looking systems to a site devoted to malware removal. The agency is also taking a hard look at an initiative (diagrammed above) from Japan's Cyber Clean Center, which has installed so-called "honeypot" devices at various ISPs, allowing them to easily detect and source any attacks, while automatically notifying their customers via e-mail. There are, however, some lingering concerns, as the NIST would need to find funding for its forthcoming initiative, whether it comes from the public sector, corporations or some sort of public-private partnership. Plus, some are worried that anti-botnet programs may inadvertently reveal consumers' personal information, while others are openly wondering whether OS-makers should be involved, as well. The code's public comment period will end on November 4th, but you can find more information at the source link, below.

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