The security industry, and in particular those offering anti virus solutions have a history of collaboration. From the very early days when computer viruses first appeared, researchers have shared samples. In those early days the community was very small, and everyone knew everyone else, either directly or indirectly. Many of those early virus researchers have become well known, John McAfee, Peter Norton (actually Peter Norton only created tools, but you get the idea), Eugene Kaspersky, Alan Solomon and of course our own Dr Jan Hruska.
That tradition of sharing samples has continued to this day, despite commercial pressures, vendors share samples on a daily basis. Often these sharing arrangements are still based on individual relationships rather than formal agreements. However with the changing profile of malware authors being more organised and the volume of samples continuing to grow at astounding rates, the security industry is itself getting more organised with the announcement today of the Industry Connections Security Group (ICSG).
This new IEEE Standards Group came out of a meeting held last year when a small group met to discuss how we could better work together in the fight against the malware authors. Representatives from Sophos, McAfee, Microsoft, Symantec, AVG and Trend met with members of IEEE to work out a way to formalise and improve upon the existing collaboration. The outcome of that meeting and the subsequent discussions is the formation of this group and a lot of work on how to share more information between organisations such that all participants benefit.
It's been refreshing to work closely with what we would normally regard as competitors, to relatively quickly come up a proposal that works for us all. It helps of course that we have been collaborating for a long time, and in fact due to the nature of the industry many of us have even worked together in the past. But this group will help move the industry to the next level.
More information can be found here