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Flexible ICSG Solution Helps Organizations More Quickly Introduce More Relevant Protection for Users

Karen McCabe, IEEE-SA Staff Director
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PISCATAWAY, N.J., USA, 24 May 2010 — The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections Security Group (ICSG) today announced the availability of a free XML schema designed to facilitate the quick, cost-effective sharing of samples of malware (malicious software such as viruses, worms and spyware) by computer-security organizations. AVG Technologies, McAfee Inc., Microsoft Corp., Panda Security, Sophos, Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro have adopted the flexible ICSG solution as part of their efforts to more quickly deliver the protection that their users most urgently need.

“In 2009, Symantec identified more than 240 million distinct new malicious programs. The amount of time and resources that the computer-security industry spends in researching, processing and exchanging data on these millions of malicious files is substantial,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Symantec Security Response. “ICSG’s XML schema not only makes the process significantly more efficient, it also enables an organization to prioritize the threats. It all adds up to faster rollout of more relevant protection for our customers.”

Anti-virus companies, Internet service providers (ISPs), law-enforcement agencies, testing bodies and other organizations can visit IEEE-SA Industry Connections to download ICSG’s free XML schema for use in sharing malware samples with other bodies with whom they have arranged to exchange information.

ICSG formed in 2009 as a global effort to pool experience and resources in combating the systematic and rapid rise in threats to computer security. Since then, membership has more than doubled, to 15 organizations. In addition to creating the schema for sharing malware samples, ICSG has begun developing guidelines and definitions for identifying bad or good usage of “packer” software, which is frequently used for compressing malware for hard-to-detect distribution via executable files. Other areas to be addressed by ICSG include application and cloud-computing security and privilege-management protocols.

“ICSG has provided a much-needed collaborative environment for the computer-security industry to come together quickly and tackle our most pressing issues as they arise,” said Jeff Green, ICSG chair and senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “The introduction of an easily adaptable XML schema for sharing malware samples is an important first deliverable, and we have already identified an array of other areas—packer usage, application and cloud-computing security and privilege management—where ICSG can deliver unique value.”

ICSG is an activity of IEEE-SA's Industry Connections program. Through Industry Connections, IEEE-SA facilitates like-minded organizations coming together quickly, effectively and economically to build industry consensus at strategic points in a technology’s lifecycle. Groups have the unique opportunity to leverage IEEE resources in a customized format, host workshops and conferences and produce varied content.

About the IEEE Standards Association
The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within the IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 600 standards under development. For more information see the IEEE-SA website.

About IEEE
IEEE is the world's largest technical professional association. Through its more than 375,000 members in 160 countries, IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Dedicated to the advancement of technology, IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world's literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed over 900 active industry standards. The organization annually sponsors more than 850 conferences worldwide. For more information see the IEEE website. external link