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Photo: Westend61/Getty

The Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce released an eagerly awaited report on botnets today, networks of hacked devices used in other attacks — President Trump ordered the report on botnets as part of a cybersecurity executive order just over a year ago.

Why it matters: The Mirai botnet famously downed Twitter, the New York Times, Netflix and Etsy among others when it overloaded a critical internet juncture point with traffic in 2016. That type attack is known as a denial of service. Before denial of service attacks, botnets were used in massive spam operations.

Fixing the market: The report emphasized marketplace-based solutions as opposed to regulations, which it passed off as largely antithetical to innovation.

The solutions: Educating consumers to understand that insecure connected devices, from cameras to computers, can result in these attacks.

  • Anticipating that most industries will autonomously settle on bare minimum security standards as companies try to keep up with each other.
  • Using the government's purchasing power to influence the market. The feds are big buyers of connected technology, and emphasizing secure purchases can make it economically more viable to design a secure system and get federal contracts than to design an insecure one and not.
  • Encouraging companies to provide security information to allow consumers to make better choices.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.