FCC Backs Industry-Led Cybersecurity Regime


Washington — Federal Communications Commission
chairman Julius Genachowski last week
outlined a multistakeholder-driven model for ISP cybersecurity
measures that lines up with what cable
operators have long championed.

Genachowski even recognized cable operators for
efforts to combat botnets — software that allows PCs
to be remotely controlled for spam distribution or theft
of personal info and one of three key threats he called
on Internet-service providers to help fight.

In remarks on cybersecurity at the Bipartisan Policy
Center here last week, Genachowski said Comcast and
CenturyLink had taken the lead in informing computer
users about potential threats from botnets without
compromising consumer privacy.

The multistakeholder approach, the chairman said, is a
recognition that “almost all of our broadband infrastructure
is owned and operated
by the private sector,” he
said, a point cable operators
have also made in seeking
flexibility to manage their
networks to prevent cyber

The National Cable &
Telecommunications Association
concurred with that

“We agree with Chairman
Genachowski that protecting
our nation’s communications
systems from
cyber-attack is best accomplished
through voluntary
public-private partnerships rather than top-down government
regulation,” the trade group said in a statement.
“Best practices and other voluntary measures will give parties
throughout the Internet ecosystem the flexibility they
need to identify and respond to constantly evolving cyber

Genachowski said FCC staff estimates of the costs of cybercrimes
were, at a minimum, in the tens of billions of dollars
annually “and growing.”

He called on those broadband stakeholders to increase
efforts to address three key threats: botnets, domain name
fraud and IP-address hijacking. But he also said any efforts
to combat those threats must respect Internet openness and

Genachowski said ISPs should increase customer awareness
of bots, adding that if more ISPs followed the leads of
Comcast and CenturyLink, “it could significantly reduce the
botnet threat.”

The chairman’s push for cybersecurity comes as the Senate
is considering cybersecurity legislation and the House is
in the midst of a series of hearings on the issue.