Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

ISPs join to 'fingerprint' Internet attacks

Filed under
Security
Web

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

From Red Hat's CEO: Reflecting on a 'great year,' looking to '15

It is confirmed: 2014 has been a great year for Red Hat. [On Dec. 18], we announced third quarter results of our fiscal year 2015 and, with that, celebrated our 51st consecutive quarter of revenue growth - more than 12 years of consecutive revenue growth. Thank you to the team of Red Hat customers, partners, open source contributors, and associates around the world, for helping us propel Red Hat to new heights. While 2014 has been a fantastic year for Red Hat, it has also been a banner year for open source. Read more Also: Red Hat Tech Exchange highlights: Architect, Implement, Enable

Open Source's 2014: MS 'cancer' embrace, NASDAQ listings, and a quiet dog

Ho hum. Another year, another slew of open source announcements that prove the once-maligned development methodology is now so mainstream as to be tedious. Running most of the world’s most powerful supercomputers? Been there, done that. Giving retailers the ability to deliver highly customized paper coupons to consumers based on warehouse inventory nearby? So 2013! And yet in 2014 we had a few events in open source that managed to surprise us, and suggest an even brighter future. Read more

How About 2014?

As for */Linux taking over the world, I think it’s inevitable. Android/Linux seems to be working on it’s third billion users perhaps by the end of 2015. At some point there will be saturation but the diversity is amazing. I saw a young lady with a Christmas gift of a CyanogenMod Android/Linux smartphone. CyanogenMod is a customization of Android/Linux which gives users more features and some independence from Google. She’s leaving a feature-phone behind as soon as she can switch “sim” cards. Within hours she’s learned to use a bunch of features including speech-to-text (It was nearly perfect)… Strangely, at about the same time her regular notebook PC (GNU/Linux) melted down (hard drive suspected). It will be interesting to see whether she even needs to replace it. This smartphone is just so powerful. Maybe I will get one and leave Beast to serving/storing stuff. Read more

Macbuntu strikes again, and we likes it!

Remember Macbuntu? It's a MAC OS X transformation pack for Ubuntu, which lets you tweak your Ubuntu desktop into looking like an Apple's offering. I have tried it about four years ago, on Lucid, but haven't played with the software since Unity replaced Gnome 2 as the desktop environment. I decided it was time for another attempt. If you read online, you will find multiple references to Macbuntu, so it can be a little confusing. There's the SourceForge hosted project, and there's the initiative by Noobslab, who have packaged together a handful of PPA and scripts to help you refashion your Unity desktop in a modular and easily reversible way. We checked. Read more