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May 30, 2014

Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks Introduce Industry's First Cyberdefense Consortium

There is a popular slogan that has been used in New York City ever since the horrific events of 9/11, “If you see something say something!”  This is a very appropriate way to think about the global need for coordination amongst security organizations in the public and private sector in light of the growing frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks by bad actors of all types. With this in mind, the announcement that major network security solutions providers Fortinet (News - Alert) and Palo Alto Networks have co-founded the industry's first cyber defense consortium is something of more than trivial importance.

The mission of this consortium is straight forward and simple. The goal is to drive a coordinated industry effort against cybercrime and cybercriminals through deep collaboration on threat intelligence and sharing of preventative measures. The objective is to disperse malware knowledge and threat intelligence across all member organizations to raise the overall knowledge of the group to allow member vendors to better protect their organizations and their customers.

As the founders explain, the network security industry will benefit from the efforts of the new consortium in 3 ways:

  1. Better cross-industry, cross-vendor threat intelligence
  2. Better coordination of incident response
  3. Better prevention of cyber attacks using advanced malware

"At Fortinet we look forward to collaborating with Palo Alto (News - Alert) Networks to continue to improve network security," said Ken Xie, Fortinet's Chairman and CEO.  "We look forward to combining our threat resources to offer customers innovative ways to more comprehensively combat modern day dynamic, sophisticated threats."

"We are pleased to work with another respected innovator like Fortinet to join forces in the ongoing battle against the rapidly evolving threats stemming from advanced malware and APTs," said Mark McLaughlin, Chairman, President and CEO of Palo Alto Networks.  "The consortium is a clear response to the demands from the industry for a coordinated response from their technology vendors."

Details on the consortium can be found here, including a link on how to become a member.  In the FAQs about the consortium two important points are made:

Is customer data at risk?

No, only malware samples are shared. The consortium Bylaws provide that members will not share any data that can be directly attributable to customers. By focusing the sharing on malware executables; we are able to maintain the trusted relationships we have with our customers.

Who is in the Consortium

  • The inaugural members of the cyber consortium are Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks
  • There is an open invitation to other organizations that share in our goals and objectives and meet the minimum requirements for participation – the ability to share at least 1,000 samples of new malware executables every day.
Given the fact that bad guys are not constrained by where they are or where their targets physically reside, efforts to get greater visibility on a global basis are critical in establishing better defenses and in the dissemination of information about threats to the broadest community possible. This really is a way to increase responsiveness when bad things happen

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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