AT&T Launches Security News Network

At Interop New York on Wednesday, the telecommunications giant launched the Internet Security News Network (ISNN), a round-the-clock broadcast network that will report on breaking security news, give insight on how to secure IT networks, and hold security forums hosted by prominent security experts, said Ed Amoroso, chief security officer at New York-based AT&T.

Amoroso announced the online news service during a keynote speech, in which he urged software engineers to raise their standards of excellence in addressing security issues. He said most of the blame for IT security problems can be attributed to weaknesses in software that open the door for malicious activity. Thus far, software engineering hasn&'t matured to the level where it can prevent hackers from creating and launching computer viruses, he noted.

"Other engineering disciplines have higher standards," Amoroso said. "You can't have exploitable weaknesses in software."

Over the last decade, software attacks delivered via the Internet, in part, exploited the telecom infrastructure of carriers like AT&T, according to Amoroso. But during that time span, security has improved amid a shift from circuit-switched telecom networks and "dumb" end-point devices like telephones to more intelligent networks and endpoints like computers, he said.

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Carriers stepping up and offering services that throttle back certain traffic, such as spam, also could help limit or eliminate network attacks over the Internet, Amoroso said, adding that such services are already available from AT&T.

"Now the trend is headed back toward smarts in the cloud. That's why MCI, Verizon and other carriers are getting into security," he said. "Embedded in the cloud, a carrier can do things others cannot do on the edge."