Executive Order on Cybersecurity; A Trip Down Memory Lane

Attack Map

Last week the Trump administration released an executive order focused on cybersecurity. Not surprisingly, the industry reaction has been mixed. Or was it lauded? Depends on where you choose to click.

Anyway, one section jumped out and started me on a trip down memory lane.

Sec. 2.  Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure.

Resilience Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats.  The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall jointly lead an open and transparent process to identify and promote action by appropriate stakeholders to improve the resilience of the internet and communications ecosystem and to encourage collaboration with the goal of dramatically reducing threats perpetrated by automated and distributed attacks (e.g., botnets).

Way back in 2005 Arbor Networks launched the Fingerprint Sharing Alliance (FSA) with a press release titled GLOBAL ALLIANCE FORMS TO THWART INTERNET ATTACKS

“The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance marks the first time companies are able to share detailed attack profiles in real-time and block attacks closer to the source. This global alliance marks a significant step forward in the fight against Internet attacks and major infrastructure threats that cross network boundaries, continents and oceans.”

The press release continued,

“Arbor’s intent is to have global service providers join together to combat these cyber threats and protect the overall infrastructure of the Internet.”

So, on the one hand, private industry has been focused on these issues for a long time. On the other hand, if we’re honest about things, the FSA also showed us how challenging it can be to maintain focus and collaboration across organizations that are otherwise fierce competitors.

Challenging yes, but worth the effort. We’ve long understood that collaboration is the only way forward. We followed up on Fingerprint Sharing by developing Cloud Signaling technology, an efficient and integrated way of connecting on-premise and cloud-based DDoS mitigation—from a single dashboard.

“Cloud Signaling has been a key innovation in enabling the industry-wide adoption of hybrid, or multi-layer DDoS defense as a best practice. Arbor understands the threat landscape and created an elegant way of linking on-premise and cloud-based mitigation. This tight connection is key to delivering protection from the full spectrum of modern DDoS attacks,” said Rob Ayoub, Research Director in IDC’s Security Products program.

Arbor’s cloud signaling innovation is becoming an open, industry-standard via the IETF which is currently defining the requirements for the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Open Threat Signaling (DOTS) protocols coordinating attack response against DDoS attacks.

Having this adopted by IETF brings interested parties together in a formalized way where a working group methodically develops the standard. The hope here is that renewed government attention on botnets, distributed threats and cross-provider collaboration can support these industry-led initiatives like DOTS so we can arrive on solid solutions that can be broadly adopted.

The stakes have changed tremendously since 2005. The internet has transformed our world and is central to every aspect of modern life. Our charge from day one has been to protect the infrastructure and ecosystem of the internet. It is the principle upon which we were founded; our driving motivation and the common thread that runs through all that we do.

We’re not always perfect, but we’re trying to get better each and every day. The botnet problem is profound, and this kind of Federal focus on the issue, driving the private sector toward collaborative solutions, is very welcome indeed. Now, it’s time to get back to work.

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