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Botnet Government Security United States IT

White House Announces Initiative To Fight Botnets 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the fighting-the-good-fight dept.
benfrog writes "ISPs and financial-services companies would share data about computers made into botnets under a pilot program announced today by the Obama administration. From the article: 'The voluntary principles announced today include coordinating across sectors and confronting the problem globally. They were developed by the Industry Botnet Group, comprising trade groups including the Business Software Alliance and TechAmerica.' The White House is also backing a bill proposed by Joe Lieberman that would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of cybersecurity of vital systems such as power grids and transportation networks."
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White House Announces Initiative To Fight Botnets

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  • Anyone want to start taking bets as to when a copy of uTorrent or Transmission will deem you as a part of the botnet?

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:22PM (#40162359) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, and they'll stop these with drone attacks. Welcome to the age of corporate Stalinism

      The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.

      Attorney General Eric Holder then publicly claimed: "'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

      http://www.salon.com/2012/05/30/how_extremism_is_normalized/singleton/ [salon.com]

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Hey Holder is the same guy who doesn't have any problems with the New Black Panther Party using voter intimidation at polling places, so...I guess I shouldn't be surprised at a statement like that.

        • You better be careful of you may get accused of racism as that's the standard Democratic come-back.
        • Hey Holder is the same guy who doesn't have any problems with the New Black Panther Party using voter intimidation at polling places,

          Do you have a link where this occurred? Last I recall the NBP numbered apprxoimately four fucking people.

          In the meantime, Rick Scott has thrown thousands of minority Florida voters off the rolls because they have a funny-sounding name. And Teabag state after Teabag state is adopting unconstitutional poll taxes (disguised as Voter ID laws).

          If you're gonna start bitching about

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Don't forget that folding@home is also basically a big botnet.

      • Anyone want to start taking bets as to when a copy of uTorrent or Transmission will deem you as a part of the botnet?

        Don't forget that folding@home is also basically a big botnet.

        So is Skype. Which shows that peer-to-peer will not be outlawed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:03PM (#40162231)

    I feel safer already.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      I feel safer already.

      Their with the government... Their here to help...
      Now why don't you have a seat over there while they tabulate the ravenous fines and prison sentence for having a copy of 'Hackers - The Movie'.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If by chance they also offer help with remedial spelling then you may profit from such a program!

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          If by chance they also offer help with remedial spelling then you may profit from such a program!

          No the government doesn't help with that sort of education.

          • You missed a golden opportunity for a comeback:

            We are the United States government. We don't do that sort of thing.

    • by mcohrs (1044844)
      Might as well put Homer Simpson in charge, same result, less expensive
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:03PM (#40162237)

    I try not to be paranoid, but when I see the BSA and the department of Homeland Security are joining forces, I can't help but have a feeling of dread...

    It really makes me wonder just what constitutes a botnet. After all, large numbers of computers contributing to torrent downloads are a form of bonnet also.

    If this doesn't make you think the government has too much money and free time, nothing will.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:10PM (#40162279) Homepage

    Bittorrent = Terrorism.

    I guarantee the BSA scumbags are already pushing this point.

  • bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by znrt (2424692)

    if botnets were the issue they'd ban windows and bam! all botnets down.

    but botnets aren't the issue. illusion of control is.

    • That's ridiculous analogy. You want to treat cancer by incinerating victims, too? But, since there's a slam on MS, I see you're getting modded up.

  • by gavron (1300111) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:24PM (#40162377)

    It makes sense for "Homeland Security" to secure power grids, and critical infrastructure.
    They know nothing of computer security, botnets, or doing much more than confiscation.
    The BSA knows even less.

    I would be excited to see a team of REAL security experts (Schneier and Kasperksky)
    working together with the folks at http://garwarner.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] to eliminate the real threats.
    Grandmothers, breastfeeding mothers, little girls with insulin pumps, and people who copy
    Windows 98 are _NOT_ the real threat.

    Ehud

  • by Anonymous Coward
    to think that this is a not very subtle attempt to give the government an excuse to build a Great Firewall of America?
  • by fish waffle (179067) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:33PM (#40162429)
    Great. I'm sure this will be every bit as successful as the war on poverty, war on drugs, war on terrorism. How are those doing anyway?
  • by doston (2372830) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:35PM (#40162447)
    Is total garbage. He's one of the worst people in the world...total scumbag.
    • Maybe so but he's one of the better Democrats out there :)
      • by doston (2372830)

        Maybe so but he's one of the better Democrats out there :)

        Anybody still thinking in Republican or Democrat terms is a sucker. One party, two factions. Their rivalry is complete theater.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:54PM (#40162567)

    It is humorous that the BSA is taking charge of solving a problem that is essentially created by its members (and not able to solve it). The BSA is all about fighting for proprietary software. They ensure third parties (like antivirus companies) can't fix the code which lets botnets propagate and they ensure we don't have an Debian-like/apt-get like solution to software maintenance, distribution, and trust models.

    This BSA lead solution is bound to fail.

    The only thing I can conceive of working well to reduce or eliminate botnets is to free the software, implement official security standards all software need comply with, and fix the distribution problem. We would need to properly fund free software platforms and ecosystems. The move to free software with carefully scrutinised (think Debian) channels of trust exist and the software is available for third party review. These software repositories should require certain minimum security standards too. For the most part it's already being done as such with Debian although without any such standards (apart from trust in relation to distribution). They need to eliminate all but essential features of applications which execute scripts.

    - applications should not generally implement support for unnecessary scripting features, embedded objects, etc

    1. Web browsers should not have flash, PDF readers, java applets, GPU accelerated 'gaming' features, or silverlight.
    2. PDF software should not support scripting or embedded objects (like flash).
    3. Office software should not support macros; there is a business case although that needs restrictions and should not generally be in consumer office applications. Even within the business situation there needs to be restrictions on the businesses users ability to install such macros without technical advise.
    4. E-mail clients and similar should not support scripting or even html except for a minimal subset of features.
    5. Instant messaging software should also not implement scripting and limit any HTML to a subset of the standard.
    6. Applications should not install third party plug-ins to web browsers or similar.

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      so...why dont you make all these pieces of software you believe should be made "your way"? I dont disagree with your wishlist,but dont just complain about it be about it
      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        so...why dont you make all these pieces of software you believe should be made "your way"? I dont disagree with your wishlist,but dont just complain about it be about it

        So nobody has a right to criticize anything that they don't personally have the skills to do themselves?

        If you're dissatisfied with the airlines, don't bother with criticism, start your own. Train is late? Don't bitch. Start your own railroad. Your doctor commit malpractice or just does a crappy job? Don't whine, go to medical school and treat yourself. Your lawyer falls asleep in court and fails to properly represent you? Don't file a complaint with the Bar, get a law degree and represent yourself.

        See how

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          to a point yes, to another point no,

          it takes many materials to create an airline or a railroad, it takes a word processor and a compiliar to create a program, the knowledge part is free, and 1000% in your control. and with torrents out there, you can clearly get the tools needed to create such a product to suit your needs

          this is /. , of course the best answer is build it yourself!
          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            it takes many materials to create an airline or a railroad, it takes a word processor and a compiliar to create a program, the knowledge part is free, and 1000% in your control. and with torrents out there, you can clearly get the tools needed to create such a product to suit your needs

            What a narrow view you have, grandma!

            You are aware that there are people who spend all their time doing much more important things than write software, right? Like a nurse that works 60-70-80 hours or more a week taking care of sick/dying people, and then has to come home and take care of a family and doesn't have the time or energy to learn programming and then fix some random application.

            That "fix/write it yourself or don't criticize" attitude is fine for somebody that doesn't have an important & esse

  • Just like measures they tried to introduce in the name of stopping child pornography, this seems harmless and well-intentioned at first; but with the BSA and DHS involved I cringe to think how it will be abused.
  • If I'm not mistaken, don't we already have at least one or two government agencies involved in information security? Why do we need to have more?
    • by El Torico (732160)
      You can never be too diligent Citizen! Now, where's my new Agency's budget? I have some conferences in Las Vegas to go to.
  • Personally approved by the President? Will there be video of the drone strikes?
  • It's cooperative effort to confront a huge, insidious problem on the internet. I'm as paranoid about government control, but this is hardly a blip flashing on my radar. My only problem is that by giving Homeland Security a vital role, it's that much more unlikely that it'll ever go away.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @11:43PM (#40163375)
    Does it strike anyone else as ironic that on the one hand the United States is rushing to develop what it calls "cyber weapons" (side note: why must everything be prefixed with cyber anyway, especially when it has nothing to do with man machine integration?), which would include autonomous programs communicating amongst themselves and coordinating activities via a command / control channel (i.e. a "botnet"), while at the same time announcing an initiative to "fight" the very programs that they are also creating? Why must everything be couched in language suggesting a "war on whatever"? Why not simply say, "we will respond in kind to those who attack us using these weapons", acknowledging the obvious fact that such weapons are inevitable, and leave it at that.
  • First, there isn't anything the US government can do that isn't already being done.
    Second, this will serve as justification for a massive expansion of US Executive power onto the currently anarchic internet.

  • We need the government "helping" fight botnets.
  • Capability based security can fix this, virus scanners and blind linux fanboyism aren't enough any more.

The first version always gets thrown away.

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