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Botnets beware.

The White House launched a new initiative Wednesday to combat botnets by creating a public-private partnership between the between the White House Cybersecurity Office and the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, who coordinate with private industry to lead the Industry Botnet Group.

The IBG is a group of nine trade associations and nonprofit organizations representing thousands of companies across information, communications and financial services industries.

“The issue of botnets is larger than any one industry or country. This is why partnership is so important,” said White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt in his final appearance before retiring. “The principles the IBG are announcing today draw on expertise from the widest range of players, with leadership coming from the across the private sector, and partnering with the government on items like education, consumer privacy and key safeguards in law enforcement.”

Botnets are a collection of computers whose security is compromised by attackers, which are believed to pose one of the biggest risks to Internet security.

“Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility – the responsibility of government, our private sector partners, and every computer user,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “DHS has set out on a path to build a cyber system that supports secure and resilient infrastructure, encourages innovation, and protects openness, privacy and civil liberties.”

Commerce and DHS, along with policy support from the White House, have led coordination of government efforts aimed to prevent and identify botnet infection and remediate its effects on personal computers. The IBG was formed in response to a September 2011 request for information issued from Commerce and DHS to learn more about existing efforts and new areas to explore combating botnets.

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