DNS: Internet Security

February 16, 2011

Microsoft Calls for "Collaborative Defense" Against Internet Threats



Just as doctors and national health organizations work to educate about and prevent health risks, Microsoft (News - Alert) wants to encourage companies to work together to prevent a different type of risk- cyber warfare.

During a keynote speech delivered at the RSA Security (News - Alert) Conference this week, Scott Charney, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Trustworthy Computing, discussed the dangers of Internet and PC security in today’s cyber age and how a “collective defense” needs to be developed to fight these problems.

“When cyber threats first started emerging in the ‘80s and ‘90s it was about individual defense,” Charney said. “… Individual defense is helpful but, of course, it’s not enough. Collective defense is better than individual defense.”

Charney said that Microsoft began to see parallels between the public heath model and Internet security issues in that both require education, prevention and treatment practices. In the health model, doctors educate people on the risks associated with different diseases, take efforts to detect health problems and, ultimately, treat ailments.

“We looked at this model and asked, ‘Why can’t we do this differently and a little more aggressively on the Internet?’” said Charney.

An Internet ‘”public health model” is one in which individuals are educated about the risks associated with the Internet; encouraged to take precautions, such as building firewalls and using antivirus software (much like washing your hands during flu season), and “treated” when they are infected, through programs like Microsoft’s malicious software removal tool.

Companies and individuals need to be “more proactive about machine health,” according to Charney.

Internet threats, just like diseases, are continually spreading. The latest concerns are with cloud computing security, hacking and privacy breaches. Attacks happen in “nanoseconds,” said Charney, and require immediate action.

“We don’t need a cyber security strategy, we kind of need four and the reason for that is you have to go back and think about what the threat is,” he said. “There are many malicious actors on the Internet and they have many different motives... but techniques are often the same.”

Other speakers at RSA include Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States; William Lynn, deputy secretary of defense; and Keith B. Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director, national security agency/chief, Central Security Service (NSA/CSS (News - Alert)).


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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