RSA 2012: Trustworthy Internet Movement launched

The trustworthiness of the internet is at risk, Philippe Courtot, chief executive officer at Qualys, warned attendees of RSA Conference 2012.

A new industry body has been launched to bring the global security community together to better secure the internet.

Philippe Courtot, chief executive officer at Qualys, announced the launch of the Trustworthy Internet Movement (TIM), a non-profit, vendor-neutral organisation, at the RSA Conference 2012 in San Francisco. 

He said TIM aims to tap the power of the global security community to advance industry-wide technology innovations and initiatives for actionable change.

The movement will also fund collaborative innovation, said Courtot, who has pledged $500,000 in seed money to get the TIM off the ground.

The trustworthiness of the internet is at risk, he said.

"Together, we can resolve major lingering security issues on the internet, such as SSL governance and the spread of botnets and malware, by ensuring security is built into the very fabric of private and public clouds," he said.

According to Courtot, 54% of websites still use early versions of secure communication protocols that contain several flaws.

"SSL governance is a known and unresolved issue; there is also no proper control of certificate authorities that has resulted in several rogue certificates being issued," he said.

While there have been some impressive results, industry efforts at taking down botnets remain disjointed, said Courtot, and he called on companies to put more pressure on internet service providers to take action.

Malware, he said, continues to lurk in every corner of the internet; e-mail spoofing is all too easily accomplished and browsers remain a major attack vector.

Cloud computing, according to Courtot, presents an opportunity for greater security control through middleware, but "trustworthiness of the internet is our Achilles heel," he said.

Just as RSA executive chairman Art Coviello called on the IT security industry to collaborate against a common enemy, Courtot called for support of TIM to defend the internet in particular.

“With two billion people relying on the internet for much of their personal and business lives, it is incumbent upon the industry to put its collective heads together and resolve the problems of online security, privacy, and reliability once and for all,” he said. “This is no longer just an issue of technology but of society as a whole.”

Courtot appealed for support from experts with domain expertise, innovators and technology leaders, internet stakeholders, corporations, venture capitalists and angel investors, academic institutions and non-profit organisations.

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