Establishing the M3AA Foundation To Champion a Safe and Secure "Next Generation" Internet

The "bandwidth revolution" in emerging online countries is providing high-powered global Internet access to millions of users for the first time and vastly changing the anatomy of the connected world. Unfortunately, we also know that when a new region brings significant bandwidth online, an onslaught of criminals follows, rushing to establish their abusive and illegal practices in new unprotected territory. While broadband access brings the promise of both economic and personal growth to these regions, it also opens the door to spammers and cybercriminals looking to set up new cyber-breeding grounds and expand their illicit operations around the world.

This raises an important question for the rest of the world: Will these rapidly evolving countries come online with all of the advantages from the industry's decades of hard-won expertise in protecting end-users or will they unwittingly go through the same mundane struggles and ordeals, starting from scratch in learning about spam, malware, bots, DDoS attacks and other threats?

This is an educational and technology issue with global economic repercussions. As we all know, the Internet is a borderless entity and along with the communications and monetary exchange it enables, there also is an endless stream of spam, malware and fraudulent messaging surreptitiously flowing from country to country. Spam generated in one country very often targets users on the other side of the world.

For everyone involved, it is vital to prevent the establishment of new spam and cybercrime havens. Without the necessary understanding to protect their end-users, these developing countries will never fully recognize the benefits of the global online economy. If spammers and cybercriminals are allowed to subsist in these regions, users in countries with existing robust Internet economies will also be severely harmed.

Recognizing the hazards, many developing countries have asked for assistance with training, best practices and technical support to combat spam and abuse on their networks. The new M3AA Foundation (M3AAF) will provide the resources and personnel to support the necessary outreach to help emerging countries protect their ecosystem.

The M3AAF Mission and Charter

The M3AA Foundation is a global nonprofit dedicated to helping developing online countries become safe, functional and valued members of the Internet community.

M3AAF advocates safe and effective Internet access for users in all countries with all the benefits of participating in the online community, including economic growth and improved well being. To this end, we promote the voluntary implementation of known anti-abuse best practices for network and hosting operations to fight online abuse such as spam, bots and malware, and the continual updating of these practices with new techniques and technologies. This encourages reliable, safe and sustainable access to the global Internet community for business, governments and users.

The Foundation's Goals

  1. Help emerging online countries become functional and safely-engaged participants in the global community by training industry ecosystem producers — such as ISPs and network operators, email service providers, technically-focused government agencies and NGOs — to avoid spreading unwanted traffic and other threats to the Internet community. This includes training to reduce the distribution of abusive messaging on all platforms and to abate related threats like bandwidth hijacking.
  2. Provide training to help emerging online countries protect their own citizens from Internet abuses, such as spam, phishing, malware, bots and other threats.

How the Foundation Will Achieve These Goals

  1. Provide experts to speak on best practices and topical work that already exists within M3AAWG.
  2. Develop programs and curriculum for basic "101 courses" since M3AAWG best practices assume certain technical and operational knowledge, that take network administrators and anti-abuse personnel to the next level by teaching how them to operate and manage safe networks.
  3. Train the trainers on anti-abuse best practices so that the instruction lives on and is not "one shot work."
  4. 10. Provide training at hosted training venues such as ISOC Combating Spam Project workshops or M3AAF organized workshop/training meetings.
  5. Develop partnerships with other organizations in related work to expand the M3AAF outreach effort.
  6. Develop relationships with "champions on the ground' in each region as a channel for sharing future M3AAWG and other organizations' best practices.

Why Now? — Clearly Identified Need

While countries around the world are looking to join the global online economy, a number of public policy and governance events are underway that could have a profound effect on the technical community. Currently, there are major International Telecommunications Union initiatives under consideration focusing on spam and Internet governance that also address the roles of the ITU and the Internet community.

The ongoing discussions related to these proceedings have confirmed many countries do not have a proficient technical knowledge to address the complex abuse problems and there often is a lack of awareness of existing community partnerships and ongoing work to address these issues. Many of the countries with a new or expanding Internet infrastructure participating in the ITU discussions have requested assistance in implementing the practices and technologies to protect their developing networks from spam and other threats.

One resulting initiative is the Internet Society's (ISOC) recently created the Combating Spam Project as a framework for organizing the necessary work to address the request for assistance.

Beyond industry organizations sharing best practices, the Internet Society has requested experts to present on how to implement these processes and other anti-abuse technologies. This requires developing new training materials and presentations specific to the needs of each region.

Why Create a New Foundation? — Focused and Sustainable Effort

Global Internet anti-abuse experts are already keenly aware of the scope and costs of the problems associated with the malware that is infecting the Internet. Identifying the best practices to mitigate these problems is just the beginning of the solution - this knowledge must be broadly propagated and used by network providers and operators worldwide to fix the problem. M3AAWG and other industry organizations have the expertise on methodologies to address spam abatement, malware, botnets and phishing. Yet, no organization has committed to the long-term effort of training.

M3AAWG recognized it was not organized to provide a sustained long-term global training program. A sustained educational outreach requires additional funds and volunteers to support emerging online countries with the necessary worldwide travel of experts and the development of additional materials in multiple languages.

The solution: A New Foundation dedicated to the necessary outreach work and to sustain the long-term effort that will be required to support developing countries training needs.

This new independent entity is championed by M3AAWG and supported with continued development of proven anti-abuse best practices.

Legal Status of the New Foundation

The M3AA Foundation is incorporated in California as a Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. The Foundation's application for recognition of Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is pending.

How You Can Help and For More Information

We appreciate your interest in M3AAF. Please join us in protecting end-users worldwide as the next generation of the Internet takes shape by engaging with emerging regions to abate spam and online abuse.

If you want to help, the Foundation is seeking volunteer experts for our Training Advisory Council, existing relevant training material, experienced individuals to serve on the Board of Directors and financial contributions to sustain and expand the training programs.

For more information, please contact Jerry Upton at jerry.upton@gmail.com.