A recent Washington Post article about a pilot program in Australia that would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to alert customers when their computers are taken over by hackers featured Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Adjunct Professor Dale Meyerrose.

According to the article “Internet security plan under review would alert users to hacker takeover”, a rising concern in the field of Information security is the creation of “botnets,” networks of infected computers controlled by hackers through a small number of scattered personal computers. Infected computers launch attacks against targeted web sites unbeknownst to the person who owns the infected machine.

Meyerrose told the Washington Post that he believes it may take a serious attack before the government or industry would impose the kind of standards and programs recently proposed by the Australian government.

The Australian program would not only allow ISPs to tell customers if their computers are harboring malicious software, but also allow the ISPs to limit Internet access if the customers do not take care of the problem. The article states that the plan is set to go into effect in Australia in December and Obama administration officials have met with industry experts and leaders to discuss a balance between this kind of cyber security measure and the Internet privacy and civil liberties of the American public.

One option listed is to make these programs voluntary, but Meyerrose indicated that an opt-in option may not address the problem of hackers taking over and exploiting private, corporate and government computers across the United States.

“There are people starting to make the point that we’ve gone about as far as we can with voluntary kinds of things, we need to have things that have more teeth in them, like standards,” Meyerrose said to the newspaper.

An example of these standards Meyerrose provided was to offer tax breaks to Internet cafés, airports, and other organizations offering free wi-fi should limit access to only computers equipped with certain security measures.

In addition to teaching classes at the iSchool, Meyerrose is vice president and general manager of Cyber initiatives for Harris Corporation. He has more than three decades of military and government experience in cyber, communications, information technology, intelligence, command and control operations, and space support. Most recently, he was the first President-appointed, Senate-confirmed Chief Information Officer and Information Sharing Executive for the U.S. Intelligence Community in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While on active duty, he served as Chief Information Officer in three major U.S. Air Force Commands and three unified Combatant Commands. Meyerrose retired from the United States Air Force in 2005 with the rank of major general.