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FCC Launches Inquiry Into Threats to Internet Routing

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

In the wake of the Department of Homeland Security’s warning about cyber-threats related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Federal Communications Commission has launched a proceeding to examine potential threats to the global internet routing system, including any equity issues that might implicate.

The FCC commissioners uninamously adopted a notice of inquiry into the security of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the internet's global routing system for data including email, e-commerce, banking, interconnected voice-over-IP service and 911.

The agency is looking to prevent bad actors from hijacking the protocol, which it said could expose web users to data theft, extortion, espionage and insecure transactions.

Also: CTA Pledges to Back Russia Tech Sanctions

The FCC has already warned communications providers to review their cybersecurity protections and practices, given that their communications networks are critical to transportation, gas, electricity, water and financial markets.

The FCC said Russian networks have been suspected of hijacking BGP to rout traffic through their networks under "unexplained" circumstances.

Among the issues on which the FCC wants comments:

1.) “Steps the Commission, in coordination with other federal agencies, could take to prevent BGP hijacking or otherwise promote secure Internet routing.”

2.) “Whether the Commission has a role in helping U.S. network operators deploy BGP security measures.”

3.) “[Its] authority to promote the security of Internet routing through regulation, including as it may apply to wireless and wireline Internet Service Providers, Internet Exchange Providers, interconnected VoIP providers, operators of content delivery networks, cloud service providers, and other enterprise and organizational stakeholders.”

4.) “Whether regulatory clarity could help network operators prioritize investments in the security of their networks.”

5.) “How our proposals may promote or inhibit advances in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.” ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.