The U.S. government should fund and test Internet Engineering Task Force developments and initiatives to bolster the security of Internet communication, including extensions to the\u00a0BGP\u00a0protocol, a presidential advisor said this week.Internet protocols such BGP and Domain Name System (DNS)\u00a0can be targets of intentional malicious activity or sources of instability that compromise the security and reliability of the Internet, says Richard Clarke, Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace Security. Indeed, there have been recent instances of malicious activity \u2013 the Oct. 21 Distributed Denial of Service\u00a0attacks\u00a0on 13 Internet root servers\u00a0\u2013 and Clarke says BGP frequently \u201cflops\u201d massive routing tables between ISPs, creating \u201cpockets\u201d of instability.\u201cWe\u2019re proposing that there be an increased role for the federal government in terms of funding research, in terms of being an early adopter when there are successful new things, and in terms of helping to create testbeds,\u201d said Clarke. \u201cThe U.S. government should be doing more, not in terms of regulating, mandating or dictating; but in terms of facilitating the work of people like the IETF.\u201dGovernmental funding of IETF work is tricky, however, Clarke notes, because the IETF and the Internet and worldwide organizations and entities. \u201cOwnership\u201d is therefore ambiguous, as is the source of research and development funding, he says.\u201cIssues of BGP, secure BGP and secure DNS have been kicking around in the security group and the protocol groups in the IETF for a long time,\u201d Clarke says. \u201cBut nothing much has happened. And that\u2019s in part because who owns the Internet? The world does, so that everyone owns it in common. No one feels responsible for funding this work.\u201dClarke says the U.S. government has been in discussion with Jeff Schiller, security area director for the IETF, about funding and testing. Clarke says Schiller is receptive but sensitive to the possibility that the federal government would \u201cdominate\u201d the IETF\u2019s work, Clarke says.\u201cWe\u2019re not interested in dominating, we\u2019re not interested in regulating,\u201d Clarke says. \u201cBut we are interested in facilitating their work. What (Schiller) said is that they certainly could use assistance in funding R&D, funding testbeds, that would make it possible for them to make decisions or RFC conclusions more rapidly than they have been.\u201dUnder consideration is the creation of a \u201ccivilian DARPA\u201d in the Homeland Security Department to solicit the participation of the private sector in Internet security and stability R&D, Clarke says. DARPA -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research and development arm of the U.S. Defense Department \u2013 funded early development of the Internet in the 1970s.The U.S. government is also discussing joint funding and research with the European National Security Agency, a department of the European Union, Clarke says.\u201cThe real issue is getting somebody \u2013 the U.S. government is the logical candidate \u2013 to worry about these underlying protocols and support the work of the experts,\u201d Clarke says. \u201cNot impose our solutions, but first of all say to the expert community, \u2018We think there are some problems here. Do you?\u2019\u201dClarke says there are two kinds of problems with BGP: one is instability, which arises mostly from human error. The other is security.\u201cRight now, (BGP) doesn\u2019t use authentication or encryption,\u201d Clarke says. \u201cThat poses a potential vulnerability, which people have been aware of and talking about for years but no one has done anything to fix yet. So there are two problems, they\u2019re related, and we\u2019re interested in solutions that facilitate both of them.\u201dClarke feels these \u201csolutions\u201d can be bolted onto the existing BGP protocol rather than requiring the development of a new peering protocol for the Internet.Clarke says the IETF is likely to require \u201ca few million dollars\u201d annually from the federal government to fund research and development of Internet security and stability initiatives. Testbeds would need to assimilate a very large-scale system as well, he says.