FCC calls on service providers to step up efforts to combat online threats

The FCC unveiled a plan this week to target botnets, IP hijacking, and domain name fraud. "If we fail to tackle these challenges, we will pay the price in the form of diminished safety, lost privacy, lost jobs, and financial vulnerability – billions of dollars potentially lost to digital criminals", said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski during a speech in Washington, D.C.

The plan is based on the work of the commission’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), which examines ways to fix Internet security vulnerabilities.

Genachowski said that ISPs can play a “significant role in the battle against botnets. They can increase customer awareness so that users can look for signs that their computers are being used as bots, detect infections in customers’ computers, notifying customers when their computers have become infected, and offer remediation support.”

The FCC chairman called on ISPs to adopt an industry-wide code of conduct to combat the botnet threat.

Regarding IP hijacking, Genachowski urged ISPs to support the development of secure routing standards and a plan to implement them. “Costs of implementation can be minimized by putting in place the new technical standards during routine hardware and software upgrades”, he relayed.

To combat domain name fraud, the chairman called on ISPs to adopt the Domain Name System security (DNSSEC) standards developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. DNSSEC works by authenticating the origin of DNS data and verifying its integrity while moving across the internet. The main benefit of DNSSEC is that it prevents cybercriminals from redirecting users to the fake websites that are typically used to spread malware and carry out phishing attacks.

“Domain name fraud, IP hijacking, and botnets pose a significant threat to our economy
and our digital society….FCC staff estimates that the costs of these cybercrimes is at least tens of billions dollars annually, and growing. The stakes are high, but solutions to these threats are in sight. I hope and expect stakeholders will rise to the challenge”, Genachowski concluded.

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