With an eye to heading off government regulation, many of the top telecom companies agreed on Thursday to voluntary cybersecurity measures recommended by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The Communications, Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, which includes executives from many telecom companies and advises the FCC on safety and interoperability issues, unanimously approved Genachowski's call for "smart, practical, voluntary solutions that will materially improve the cybersecurity of commercial networks and bolster the broader endeavors of our federal partners."
As voluntary recommendations, the measures largely affirm actions already taken by companies, or allow them to pursue their own methods without government oversight.
The measures include codes of conduct to prevent "botnets," which can affect many computers at a time; programs to protect domain names from being faked; and methods for keeping Internet traffic on secure networks.
Companies that fear government regulation in the name of cybersecurity praised the measures.
"There is no 'one size fits all' model for addressing cybersecurity risks. It takes broad participation for the best results," said John Schanz, a vice president at Comcast, which has committed to following the recommendations. "The flexibility for us to design and develop the best security solutions for our network architecture and customer environment is a core element of a successful cybersecurity policy. This flexibility helps ensure we can continue to focus on security and innovation, rather than regulation."
Comcast, AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile and Verizon are among the companies that have agreed to implement the measures.