Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

ISPs join to 'fingerprint' Internet attacks

Filed under

Leading global telecommunications companies, Internet service providers and network operators will begin sharing information on Internet attacks as members of a new group called the Fingerprint Sharing Alliance, according to a published statement from the new group.

The companies, including EarthLink Inc., Asia Netcom, British Telecommunications PLC and MCI Inc., will share detailed profile information on attacks launched against their networks. Information to be shared will include the sources of attacks. The alliance will make it easier for service providers and network operators to crack down on global Internet attacks more quickly, according to Tom Schuster, president of Lexington, Mass.-based Arbor Networks Inc., which launched the new alliance.

The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance uses technology from Arbor called Peakflow to spot network attacks and automatically generate a profile, or "fingerprint," of the attack in a standard data file format called PCAP. That fingerprint information is passed along to other service providers closer to the source of the attack, which can then block the source of the traffic, Schuster said.

Arbor wrapped features that support the Fingerprint Sharing Alliance into the last release of Peakflow, which came out earlier this year. Alliance members have been using Peakflow to share attack fingerprints since then, Schuster said.

The alliance replaces an ad hoc system of e-mail messages and phone calls that operators of large networks have used to coordinate their response to attacks and threats, Arbor said. Because communication has been cumbersome, ISPs and network owners have had no incentive to share attack information.

The alliance will make it easier for them to cooperate and will lower the threshold that attacks must surpass to get the attention of ISPs. Even attacks on small ISP customers will prompt a response from large infrastructure providers. Peakflow also scrubs the data in fingerprints so alliance members can't use them to sniff sensitive information on competitors, according to Schuster.

"People are realizing that the world is a connected place. We have to empower service providers at the point of origin to have zero tolerance," he said.

Cracking down on those behind even small attacks may also improve the overall health of the Internet and quell raging problems such as "botnets" of zombie computers that are used in large-scale attacks, according to Schuster.

Membership in the alliance is not limited to Arbor customers or Peakflow users. Network owners that are not Arbor customers can generate their own fingerprints and accept PCAP-format fingerprints generated by Alliance members. However, Arbor's technology "speeds up the process considerably" by automatically creating and distributing the fingerprints.

All current members of the alliance are Peakflow customers, and the company's roster of global ISPs gives the program bite, Schuster said.

The alliance is a first step in addressing the problem of Internet attacks. Arbor hopes that the participation of leading service providers will compel competitors, as well as smaller network owners, to take part as well.

By Paul Roberts, IDG News Service.

More in Tux Machines

Linux 3.9 To Linux 4.9 Kernel Benchmarks: Testing The 21 Last Kernels

With the in-development Linux 4.9 kernel showing signs of some performance improvements, I've gone ahead and tested the last 21 major kernel releases on the same system. From Linux 3.9 to Linux 4.9, each of the major kernel releases was tested from the same Intel Core i7 desktop with a variety of benchmarks. Read more

Keeping up the fight for free software

Here's John Sullivan's vision for a more just world: You pop into your favorite electronics retailer and encounter a panoply of new gadgets, each one more alluring and astounding than the last—and each one guaranteed to respect your freedom. Your freedom to inspect its software. Your freedom to modify that software. Your freedom to have that software collect only the data you wish. Read more

This Linux computer may be smaller than a coin, but it packs some big computing power

Whether you think they’re a novelty, sneaky powerful, or just seriously cute, microcomputers are here to stay. Find out what all the fuss is about with the versatile, ultra-adaptable VoCore 2 Linux mini computer, paired with an Ultimate Dock for just $42.99. If you’ve never experimented with a microcomputer like the VoCore 2, you may be surprised by how much you can do with this tiny open source computer and wireless router. The VoCore 2’s 580 MHz processor is ready to handle almost any coding plan, including Java, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby projects. Read more Also: Daily Deal: VoCore2 Mini Linux Computer And Ultimate Dock

Nantes: Open source cuts off recurring charges

Switching to open source means the end of the periodic recurring charges from proprietary software vendors, says Eric Ficheux, change management specialist at Nantes Métropole, France’s 6th largest city. “The total cost of ownership of LibreOffice is far lower than of its proprietary predecessor”, he says. Read more