White House aims to beat the bots

The White House has teamed up with several companies and industry groups to launch an initiative aimed at countering botnets.

Members of the Industry Botnet Group 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 them.

“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.”

The number of machines infected by a botnet at any one time is notoriously difficult to establish. But Michael DeCesare, co-president at security vendor McAfee, puts the figure at around five million for the US alone – about ten percent of the computers in the country.

“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.”

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.