Joe St Sauver is the manager of Internet2 Security Programs. Internet2 is the consortium that explores advanced Internet topics. Last week St Sauver participated in a panel at the Anti-Phishing Working Group Counter e-Crime Summit where he argued (PPT) for eventual government involvement combating botnets. Wired and Ars Technica both had coverage.
The idea called for a "cyber center for disease control" for computer virus. Just as the CDC tracks and warns of disease outbreaks in the human population, the CCDC would perform those functions for computers. St Sauver went beyond a mere warning center, however, proposing a new Cabinet-level federal agency in the US that would be responsible for controlling the problem.
St Sauver says that while he's not a fan of big government, "the government has a compelling national interest in the protection of its citizens and businesses online, and in the protection of their networks and systems. An attack on US networks and systems, whether blatant or insidious, is an attack on the United States as a whole, and properly deserves national attention and response."
What would the CCDC look like? The organization would employ cyber public health officials in every state and county charged with protecting the cyber public health. Their services would be offered, not mandated, at no cost to those who elected to participate. Read through the presentation for the complete picture.
This may sound draconian, but Vint Cerf recently claimed one-quarter of all computers are part of a botnet. That's astounding. If your first reaction, like mine, is that new government agencies won't solve this problem. What will? Leave a comment with your suggestions.