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Don’t Blame Your ISP For Dirty Bits If You Continue To Pay for Them

by John Pescatore  |  September 24, 2009  |  Submit a Comment

I seem have dedicated a lot of Twelve Word Tuesday posts to the issue of getting ISPs to be more active in filtering malware out of the incoming bits they sell us (see here and here and here.) This week a lot more verbose versions came out, with Google calling for ISPs to cooperate in doing more to block “malvertising” and other malware delivery mechanisms.

Last week at the Gartner Security Summit in Sydney, I talked to several people about the Australian Internet Industry Associations draft “eSecurity Code” that would detail uniform processes for detecting malware and compromised machines, notifying the effecting parties, and disconnecting the sources of attacks.

There have been fits and starts by ISPs at this “clean pipe” approach but it requires them to make investments – not just in the technology to do the filtering and blocking, but in all the operations and support functions that will be needed around it. The biggest impediment to carriers making that investment has been lack of demand – corporate RFPs for Internet connectivity aren’t asking about such features, let alone requiring them. In fact, many enterprises seem perfectly happy to pay carriers and other managed security service providers extra for managed services to filter those bits after they have been delivered. Isn’t that silly?

Imagine if the auto industry paid its suppliers for defective parts and paid the suppliers to take the defective parts back! Don’t blame the suppliers – its a great business model. Blame the people paying for the bad bits twice.


John Pescatore
VP Distinguished Analyst
11 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

John Pescatore is a vice president and research fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. Pescatore has 32 years of experience in computer, network and information security. Prior to joining Gartner, Mr. Pescatore was senior consultant for Entrust Technologies and Trusted Information Systems… Read Full Bio

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