Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/29/2009
05:54 AM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Dutch ISPs Sign Anti-Botnet Treaty

Netherlands ISPs last month launched a joint effort to fight malware-infected computers and botnets -- fondly described by locals as a "treaty."

Netherlands ISPs last month launched a joint effort to fight malware-infected computers and botnets -- fondly described by locals as a "treaty."The effort involves 14 ISPs and 98 percent of the consumer market, and will include:

  • Exchange of relevant information among the cooperating ISPs
  • Quarantine of infected computers
  • Notification of end users by their ISPs

This way, information sharing will lead to better coverage of the issues and a faster response time, quarantine will ensure that infected computers no longer participate in criminal activity or infect others, and, most importantly, the ISPs will take responsibility to notify their victimized users so they can take action.

This will probably cause some ISPs to lose money. But given that ISPs are a competitive group, I doubt they entered this treaty without reason. Abuse-handling has always been a losing business for ISPs. Just imagine having to pay abuse personnel so they disconnect your clients, and you lose more money.

So what changed for Dutch ISPs?

In recent years, bot-infected computers have been a growing problem for end-user ISPs, as more and more resources are being wasted and not paid for. And the growing global threat of DDoS attacks and other security concerns have shown ISPs that to get help in case of DDoS attack, they need to be a more friendly and reputable service themselves.

The risk of bot-infected computers is also relevant to the country in question because the more computers that are easily available for compromise from outside the country, the more vulnerable the country is to an attack from within, as seen during the 2007 Estonian attacks ("The First Internet War").

Losing customers won't be a major risk with the treaty because other ISPs will be using the same quarantine measures for infected computers.

Then again, maybe the local ISPs have just shown they are socially aware and took responsibility for their part in the safety of the Internet and their users, possibly even paying a certain price out of their bottom line for it.

"It is important that ISPs collectively battle this problem and protect their customers as well as prevent nuisance to the rest of the internet. A safe Internet is pivotal but not natural," says Albert Vergeer, director of Internet for KPN, XS4ALL, and Telfort.

Historically, either a financial incentive or regulatory intervention (such as in Finland) was required to get this type of cooperation. What makes this Dutch ISP treaty special is the willing cooperation without such measures.

But information sharing and cooperation amongs ISPs isn't exactly new. I have had the honor of being one of the people to facilitate such efforts in the past decade.

A written agreement like this in the Netherlands is a huge leap forward in the fight against cybercrime because it's a signed agreement rather than just a goodwill-based effort, and it's among financial entities rather than technical and operational people trying to help each other in their free time to combat the most recent common threat. Time will tell how effective it will be.

Meanwhile, last month the Internet Industry Association (IIA) in Australia recommended that ISPs take a similar stance by accepting a voluntary code of conduct to perform much the same tasks as the Netherlands treaty does. We wish them luck. Perhaps the industry has now matured enough to take such steps.

Chris Fonteijn, chairman of OPTA, had this to say: "Consumers are not even aware of their computer being a host to a bot network, let alone that they know how to undo it. That is why I am pleased to learn that ISPs will help consumers with cleaning up their computers so we can all work together on a safer Internet."

OPTA is not a party to this covenant, but was an instigator of the project and participated actively in the talks and negotiations. As such, OPTA will present on the subject at the upcoming LAP/CNSA workshop in Lisbon.

Thpugh this new treaty is the right way to go, we cannot put all of the responsibility for securing the Internet on the ISPs. It isn't fair, and it isn't right. Many ISPs will not want to follow the Dutch example, but that the Dutch took this step forward is a very promising sign.

Regardless, I foresee a growth market for PC technicians and antivirus software in the Netherlands, as users become aware of the problem and still want to connect to the Internet. And it may also boost sales for new PCs there, as users look to upgrade to more secure systems rather than constantly fixing their older, more vulnerable ones.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-36197
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
An improper access control vulnerability has been reported to affect earlier versions of Music Station. If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to compromise the security of the software by gaining privileges, reading sensitive information, executing commands, evading detection, etc. This ...
CVE-2020-36198
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A command injection vulnerability has been reported to affect certain versions of Malware Remover. If exploited, this vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands. This issue affects: QNAP Systems Inc. Malware Remover versions prior to 4.6.1.0. This issue does not affect: QNAP...
CVE-2021-28799
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
An improper authorization vulnerability has been reported to affect QNAP NAS running HBS 3 (Hybrid Backup Sync. ) If exploited, the vulnerability allows remote attackers to log in to a device. This issue affects: QNAP Systems Inc. HBS 3 versions prior to v16.0.0415 on QTS 4.5.2; versions prior to v3...
CVE-2021-22155
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
An Authentication Bypass vulnerability in the SAML Authentication component of BlackBerry Workspaces Server (deployed with Appliance-X) version(s) 10.1, 9.1 and earlier could allow an attacker to potentially gain access to the application in the context of the targeted user’s acco...
CVE-2021-23134
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-12
Use After Free vulnerability in nfc sockets in the Linux Kernel before 5.12.2 allows local attackers to elevate their privileges. In typical configurations, the issue can only be triggered by a privileged local user with the CAP_NET_RAW capability.