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MAAWG presents the first J.D. Falk award

Last week at MAAWG went much like all MAAWG conferences go: too much to do, too many interesting panels to attend, too many people to connect and work with, a plethora of very interesting keynote speakers and a total lack of sleep. Most of what happens at MAAWG is not public, but some of the events are.

One of the things that I can talk about is the J.D. Falk award. This award was established by MAAWG, Return Path and J.D.’s family to recognize people who work, usually behind the scenes and without fanfare, to enhance the Internet and protect end users. I sat on the award committee and we had a number of nominations for very worthy work. But the nomination that stood out was the one for Tom Grasso. Tom was the driving force behind the creation of the DNS Changer Working group. He was responsible for connecting experts from throughout the Internet industry, including ISPs, anti-virus vendors, and the broader security community to prevent the Internet for going dark for  hundreds of thousands of infected individuals.

I am very proud of the decision the committee made. The bar has been set high for future recipients. Tom did an amazing job convincing lots of players to work together. His involvement definitely made the internet better for everyone, not just those infected by Rove Digital’s malware. What he did is a model for private / public partnerships in the future.

I don’t think I could say it better than the MAAWG press release, so I’ll just end with that.

Convincing competitors, disparate business entities and researchers to collaborate – many donating their services and resources – to protect millions of end-users worldwide is no small feat. Yet FBI Supervisory Special Agent Thomas X. Grasso did just that by quietly working behind the scenes to create the DNS Changer Working Group that saved an inestimable number of end-users from losing access to the Web over the last two years. Recognizing his leadership, Grasso received the inaugural J.D. Falk award on Tuesday at the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group 26th General Meeting in Baltimore.MAAWG Press Release

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