Author: Corey Nachreiner / Source: Dark Reading
There are many actions ISPs could do to make browsing the Web safer, but one thing stands out.
For well over a decade, the security industry has debated what role Internet service providers (ISPs) should take in cybersecurity. Should they proactively protect their customers with upstream security controls and filters (e.g., intrusion prevention systems, IP/URL blacklists, malware detection, etc.), or are customers responsible for their own security?
ISPs can have a much wider impact on overall state security because of their advantageous position in the network (that is, acting as our doorway to the Internet). Still, there are good arguments against ISPs taking too much of a security role — many of which I agree with. Ultimately, I believe there is one thing IPSs must do to improve everyone’s security, but before we get into that, let me start with the arguments against ISPs taking too strong of a role.
1. Badly managed security controls can disrupt business or legitimate activities. If you’ve ever used an intrusion detection or prevention solution, you know they occasionally have false positives. These false positives can block legitimate traffic from paying customers. Although a normal business can manage these, doing so for thousands if not tens of thousands of customers would be a logistic nightmare.
2. Some security can invade privacy. Many security controls not only monitor where you go on the Internet but also deeply analyze the content of your traffic and log all activity for later forensic analysis. This opens up the possibility of ISPs using this data for other reasons (although technically, they could be doing this anyway). Still, giving ISPs access to more information about people’s Web browsing worries Internet privacy supporters.
3. Certain security comes off as censorship. What’s the difference between an inappropriate site and a dangerous site? Sometimes that’s a gray area. Sometimes a website you want to visit may have had a malicious ad on it in the past and been blacklisted. Would you accept ISPs blocking it? Many kinds of ISP controls would feel like censorship because they take away freedom of choice.
4. ISPs can’t take liability for your mistakes. Simply put, we can’t hold ISPs liable for our security because they can’t control their customers. Even if an organization has the best security controls in the world, its people can still do dumb things that get them infected. For ISPs to get involved…
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