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Security Companies, Government Groups Unite Against Botnets

2012 is looking like a rocky year for cybercrime, and private and government groups and companies are unifying to face one emerging threat—botnets, a malaise in which a group of computers are compromised and used to access or transmit information. McAfee estimates they affected 5 million systems between January and March 2012. The Industry Botnet Group(IBG), which was formed in January this year, today released a set of voluntary guidelines to unite private companies and government organizations in their fight against this breed of Web-spread threat. In the new Principles for Voluntary Efforts to Reduce the Impact of Botnets in Cyberspace, the IBG suggested cross-border collaboration, educating users, coordinating across sectors, among others, to share information about botnet attacks and incidents.

The announcement was made at a White House event led by exiting Obama Administration Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt. Michael DeCesare, the co-president of security giant McAfee, one of the event's industry speakers, stressed the collaborive spirit of the new guidelines in his address. "As an industry we must adapt, we must unify, simply and strengthen the way we provide security," DeCesare said, adding that real time feedback system tracking botnets and other threats, and built-in hardware assisted security would be critical to gaining better control on the issue. Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, also addressed the gathering and, like DeCesare, repeated the need for working together across sectors. "We have to move faster than they do if we are going to control the problem to a greater degree than we have today. This is not a problem that one person can solve alone... we all need to work together," Smith said.

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