Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Government Security The Internet Your Rights Online

FCC Chair Calls On ISPs To Adopt New Security Measures 110

alphadogg writes "U.S. Internet service providers should take new steps to protect subscribers against cyber attacks, including notifying customers when their computers are compromised, the chairman of the FCC said Wednesday. Julius Genachowski called on ISPs to notify subscribers whose computers are infected with malware and tied to a botnet and to develop a code of conduct to combat botnets. Genachowski also called on ISPs to adopt secure routing standards to protect against Internet Protocol hijacking and to implement DNSSEC, a suite of security tools for the Internet's Domain Name System."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Chair Calls On ISPs To Adopt New Security Measures

Comments Filter:
  • by scottp ( 129048 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:33PM (#39133061)

    Of course, ISPs' employees have nothing better to do than to notify ~90% of their customers their computers have malware. It boggles my mind the ideas that people come up with (sopa/pipa/acta, logging all connections, etc.) and try to implement about monitoring the Internet with little or no thought to the logistics or funding of their stupid ideas.....

  • by Cutting_Crew ( 708624 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:41PM (#39133117)
    unless they put some of their crappy bloated software on your computer? ISPs ought to be just that. An internet service provider. Give me an internet connection from point A to point B. PERIOD.
  • by chemicaldave ( 1776600 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:48PM (#39133151)
    They don't have to see the infection itself, just the symptoms. Frankly, ISPs could probably give a damn about viruses. It's botnets that are the problem. If they see traffic from your IP directed towards a known botnet command node then they can probably assume your machine was compromised.
    Unfortunately the issue of inspecting traffic is a tricky one, etc, etc.
  • Customer Contact (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nethead ( 1563 ) <> on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:52PM (#39133169) Homepage Journal

    Back in the late '90s that's how we worked at ISPs. If we notices weird traffic on an account or were getting spam complaints, we'd call up the customer. If we couldn't get a hold of them we would disable the account until they called. Some kid pumping out Make Money Fast emails, we'd call mom and have a chat.

    Then all the local ISPs got bought up by telco and cable companies. The price didn't go down, just the service.

    I'm glad I'm still on one of the last local Mom&Pop ISPs in the area, when I call support I get a guy that actually has enable to the routers. It costs about $15/month more but I'm willing to pay for the service I get.

  • Re:Torrents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by parlancex ( 1322105 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:58PM (#39133207)
    Actually, there are probably a lot of malware authors giddy at the thought of a legitimate malware notification service. There have already have already been large phone campaigns by botnet creators with the phony premise that the callee's computer is infected, with phony instructions to remove the infection (install new malware, obviously). Once there actually IS a legitimate service doing this it will be even harder for less tech savvy people to tell the difference.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:58PM (#39133211)
    Given that most knowledgeable people seem to think it's a bad idea... I have to wonder why government keeps coming up with schemes that essentially require monitoring by the ISP.

    I mean, when you consider that as a practical matter, an ISP is (or at least should be) just a common carrier, like a telephone company. In fact the FCC originally -- and even very recently -- wanted to classify ISPs as common carriers. Which would preclude any monitoring. So what's up with all these monitoring ideas?

    Are they maybe just trying to get some kind of monitoring in place, so that they can expand it later?
  • Re:Torrents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:33AM (#39133407) Journal

    I think what we need is to promote an awareness of just how important the Internet is, that screwing around with it for any reason other than good engineering is a bad idea.

    First, we might need to promote an awareness of just what the Internet actually is. How it works and why.

    We've got young people who don't recall a time before Internet, and don't know how and why it came into being and know nothing about it's potential. To many of them, it's just another shopping mall/arcade.

    For my money, the Electronic Freedom Foundation is currently doing the best work in this regard, so I send them money. But it also takes those of us who do have some awareness of these things taking the time to explain it. To advocate for it. To protect it. We have to make sure our shared memories, our shared culture, survives.

    There are a lot of powerful forces that would love to turn the Internet into the home shopping network on steroids. Into a one-way media outlet that tells us what's what. Into just another "cool" medium.

    We have to use the power of our oral tradition and our written tradition to spread the word on a person to person level. One to one and one to many. We must fight on the blogs, we must fight in the comment sections, we have to fight on the streets and on the beaches, We must never surrender. (OK, I got a little carried away at the end there, but you get the idea).

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:20AM (#39133593)

    The FCC is currently mismanaging radio spectrum sales and partitioning. That is their primary function. Do that and once you're doing your ACTUAL job then worry about the internet which you in fact have no authority over.

    The FCC seems to be trying to fail up. TV viewership is dying so they're trying to expand themselves into the internet. I get it. But first maybe they should sell off that radio spectrum and do their actual jobs.

  • Re:Torrents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:35AM (#39133661)

    Even if so, it's not problematic.

    All this is (going by the summary - article's still loading) is notification. "Hey, we noticed your machine seems to be infected with a virus and is part of a spam-spewing botnet. Here's some links to antimalware that'll clear that right up". "Hey, we noticed a lot of traffic from spyware sending every keystroke back to totally-a-legit-site,cn, you might want to scan for that". "Hey, you seem to be torrenting massive files 24/7, here's some MAFIAA propaganda telling you to stop copying those floppies".

    The ISPs are really the only ones positioned to thwart attacks as well. For example, blocking an IP that appears to be port scanning or sending high rates of email. Or rate-limiting icmp packets to reduce the effectiveness of DOS attacks. Or perhaps help in backtracking and notify their clients that seem to be participating in DOS attacks or spamming. The slippery slope of course is that if we expect the ISPs to start inspecting and throttling traffic for good reasons, it's not much of a leap to start snooping and throttling for reasons less advantageous to the customers. Not much of a leap from, "Hey that web site you're visiting is hosting a zero-day driveby attack" to "Hey you shouldn't be looking at neekid girls".

  • Re:Torrents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:44AM (#39133959)

    I don't want the govt involved in the internet, and they have a crappy track record on dealing with botnets.

    If you're port scanning multiple IPs, then you fit the profile of an attacker and need to be looked at. Bulk mail is another issue. It would be reasonable to notify customers that their computers are sending large volumes of email. If the customer isn't aware of it, then they just got a clue that they might be infected. Sending bulk mail, especially not using the ISPs relay, is often against the TOS.

    I was talking about inbound as well as outbound. If your ISP sees someone port scanning through their address space looking for open ports, blocking them makes sense. It also makes sense to watch for users inside their space port scanning. It's no different than the cops stopping someone who is walking through the neighborhood checking the doors. Rate limiting stuff like icmp works just fine, as does ingress filtering stuff you shouldn't be seeing. If a connection is spewing 500 pings a minute for 10 minutes, it's pretty unlikely it's for a legitimate reason. Another example if dropping packets which appear to be from bogons. Or noticing clients that appear to be doing syn attacks or the like.

    Really, it's not hard to detect computers acting badly.

  • by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:46AM (#39134527)
    So someone called up your brother, told him they were from the ISP, and manipulated him to run some software on his computer? That all sounds rather dangerous to me. How did he know he could trust this person?

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.