The White House revealed today a set of initiatives it plans to use as part of its public-private partnership to combat increasingly disruptive networks of infected computers known as botnets.

In one of his last acts as White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, Howard Schmidt on Wednesday unveiled the new voluntary public-private partnership between the White House Cybersecurity Office and the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security. Private sector participants include Industry Botnet Group(IBG), a group of nine trade associations and nonprofit organizations that includes

The BITS Financial Services Roundtable, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the National Telecommunications Association, the Online Trust Alliance, Stop Badware, TechAmerica, the US Internet Service Providers Association, and US Telecom among others.

“The issue of botnets is larger than any one industry or country,” said Schmidt in a statement. “This is why partnership is so important.”

According to a Commerce Department press release, the IBG’s membership represents thousands of companies in the across information, communications, and financial services industries. Working together with the public sector, IBG wants to combat botnets “across all phases of the mitigation life cycle.” Their initiatives, which the IBG has titled, ‘Principles for Voluntary Efforts to Reduce the Impact of Botnets in Cyberspace’ [PDF] include: sharing cyber responsibilities, coordinating across sectors, education, innovation, protecting privacy and navigating a complex legal environment. A number of IBG members are launching the “Keep a Clean Machine” campaign to increase education about Botnets.

“The principles the IBG are announcing today draw on expertise from the widest range of players,” Schmidt said, “with leadership coming from the across the private sector, and partnering with the government on items like education, consumer privacy and key safeguards in law enforcement.”

The Commerce Department’s press release also announces the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s (FS-ISAC’s) intention to develop a pilot-program that would enhance botnet information sharing with its members – some of the premiere financial services firms in the country.  These new initiatives, the announcement claims, will work in concert with existing FBI and Secret Service efforts to take down botnets altogether.

“No one entity can combat these security challenges alone,” said Liesyl Franz, vice president for cybersecurity policy at TechAmerica, speaking on behalf of the IBG. “Individually we can take measures to defend ourselves, and together we can do even more to protect the ecosystem.”

Categories: Critical Infrastructure, Government, Malware