“Botnet,” has become commonplace terminology in the world of cyber-security. This term is used to refer to a network of private computers (or bots) infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Major breach and hacking events over the past few years have awakened many to the potential dangers created by hackers with the ability to utilize other individual’s computers remotely.

Botnets are commonly used to mass email spam, malware, viruses, or to overload a specific website with so many simultaneous requests that it overloads the site causing it to temporarily shut down (commonly known as a DDoS attack).

Last week, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new voluntary U.S. Anti-Bot Code of Conduct (ABCs) for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It creates new opt-in procedures for ISPs who are dealing with the networks of enslaved zombie computers.

According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, “The recommendations approved [last week] identify smart, practical, voluntary solutions that will materially improve the cyber security of commercial networks and bolster the broader endeavors of our federal partners. Among these recommendations, were things such as: increasing end-user education to prevent bot infections; more aggressive and assertive detection of bots; notification to law enforcement government and consumers of potential bot infections; remediation of bots; and collaboration and sharing of information.”

Many large providers such as AT&T, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, and CenturyLink have all voiced their approval of this approach. They perceive there will be several benefits. The idea is to increase consumer goodwill through taking this active role in anti-bot activities. Some of the expected benefits of this new initiative are fewer calls to help desks from customers with infected machines, reduced upstream bandwidth consumption from denial-of-service (DDos) attacks and spam, and a drop in spam-related complaints.

“Introducing the New FCC Anti-Botnet Code” was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC Blog.