Yersterday, press reports about an alleged joint venture of national ISPs and the national IT security agency to build a national botnet center stirred some scepticism and perplexety in Germany. After heise online brougth the news, the hacker association CCC informed that this rather is a hoax.
However, the German national ICT security agency (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, BSI) and the association of the German internet business, eco (Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft), have cooperated on botnet issues at least since October 2008.
A workshop on botnets in early February 2009 addressed topics such as data-exchange between ISP regarding information from systems such as honeypots, abuse systems, spam traps (email analysis), DNS analysis, IDS/IAS (anomalie detection) or harmful websites. This information provided by ISPs could then be complemented with external data sources. Given the lack of published data, it is not clear which techniques ISPs actually use to exchange data today.
Another workshop on botnets, obviously organized by eco, took place in early February 2009. One of the speakers was Frank Ackermann, senior legal counsel to eco, who talked about judicial aspects of botnet fighting. According to Ackermann, “ISPs are interested in moderate filtering” of spam. Thus, politics should be discouraged from strict anti-spam regulation.
The programme of another joint eco-BSI workshop, the 7th German Anti Spam Summit mid-September 2009 on conficker, has sessions like “Status Quo central botnet disinfection call center DE” and “Legal Guide on Technical Approaches against Botnets” listed. According to the programme, Dr. Lothar Eßer, Head of Division Internet Security of BSI, also attended this session.
In late November 2009, eco mentioned in a summary of their IGF09 activities that it is going to build a “Botnet Disinfection Center” in a joint effort with BIS and several providers.
So, Germany will get it’s public-private anti-botnet center. According to eco’s press release, eco and BSI will establish a user-support center. ISPs will forward customers with infected machines to a website which provides tools and descriptions for removing malicious software from their machines. In addition, users with infected computers can call a special hotline with experts assisting users in removing harmful software.
Upd. 9.12.; 16.12: changed headline, added the paragraph with eco’s press release; corrected typos