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Experts to Discuss Botnet Challenges, Steps for Prevention at May 30 Workshop

From NIST Tech Beat: May 9, 2012

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

Botnet activity is on the rise around the globe, and to help understand this problem the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a free, day-long workshop May 30, 2012, at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus. Technical Aspects of Botnets will bring stakeholders together to discuss the current state of technology and how best to prevent, detect and mitigate botnets. The problem is serious: researchers estimate an average of about 4 million new botnet infections occur every month.*

A botnet is a collection of compromised computers that have been infected with a malicious program, often a virus. The virus infects the computer generally without the owner knowing. From there, the virus spreads to other computers creating a remotely controlled network of many compromised computers. Botnets can be used for a variety of nuisance and illegal activities including sending spam email, launching denial of service attacks that can bring down websites, or stealing passwords and financial information such as credit card numbers.

NIST wants to engage stakeholders in identifying the available and needed technologies to prevent, identify and remediate botnets and to explore current and future efforts to develop botnet metrics and methodologies for measuring and reporting botnet activities. Participants will explore the technologies, tools and resources that are currently used against botnets and examine their effectiveness, valuable characteristics and gaps or areas that need improvement.

During the panel session on roles and responsibilities, government and private-sector representatives will share their perspectives on what roles the various stakeholders play, including Internet service providers, browser providers, security firms, and search engines and users, and what their responsibilities are or could be.

For more information on Technical Aspects of Botnets, or to register, see http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/botnets-workshop.cfm. The workshop is free, but those interested in attending must register in advance.

* See, for example, McAfee Quarterly Threat report 2nd Quarter 2011 at www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-quarterly-threat-q2-2011.pdf.