Caring sharing scheme defends against net attacks

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Service providers and network operators will be able to share internet attack information thanks to a fledgling industry group.

The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance will allow its members to share detailed attack profiles and aid ISPs and service providers in keeping their networks clean.

"Sharing this information in real-time can only help defend against multiple vulnerabilities," said Jose Nazario, worm researcher and senior software engineer at Arbor networks, which established the group. Currently members include BT, Earthlink and MCI.

The news arrives at a time when vulnerabilities and exploits are becoming ever more complicated and difficult to monitor.

"I think we're a long way from the death of the network worm," said Nazario. "Instead what we're seeing is lots of subtleties. The impact of vulnerabilities has changed, there are still lots of buffer overflow vulnerabilities but they don't occur across systems millions of people own. Attacks have to be more specialised."

Nazario said that when vulnerabilities are discovered scans to test if networks harbour the particular piece of software it affects "go through the roof." The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance will help companies prepare themselves against exploits.

Last week SC reported a panel of experts predicted a bleak outlook for the internet, in which increasingly sophisticated attacks became almost impossible to thwart.

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