Feeds

PlusNet shuts down webmail indefinitely

Fingers unpatchable flaw in third party software

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The spam crisis at PlusNet has taken its webmail service offline indefinitely after security auditors found unpatchable flaws in software provided by @Mail.

It has announced that it is replacing the offending software and has apologised to customers.

A service update (posted here) tells customers the emergency measures have been taken to guard against "minor vulnerabilities" which have not yet been exploited. PlusNet said it would provide details of plans to restore the service later today.

The closure follows a hacking attack on the BT-owned ISP, which saw customers' addresses and contacts bombarded with drug marketing. When PlusNet became aware of the attack last week, the webmail servers were immediately take offline, but returned to service after 90 minutes.

Neil Armstrong, product development director, told The Reg that PlusNet was working with police to trace the spammers, and will release more details of the investigation on Friday. The firm would not provide any details of the exploits which the attackers used, saying they were previously unknown, and it is working with @Mail. The @Mail webmail client is a white label POP3/IMAP software package for UNIX and Windows-based servers, popular with ISPs.

Some information around events which have caused the latest in a long run of email crises at PlusNet is beginning to emerge. An attack was launched last Wednesday which exploited a vulnerability in one of six webmail servers to load a botnet onto subscriber machines. The hole also allowed the hackers access to a list of customer email addresses and their contacts. PlusNet said it could not provide a figure for how many addresses had been stolen, but promised no other data had been taken.

Armstrong pointed to a legacy of underinvestment at the firm, which it copped to earlier this year on its BT-backed relaunch. He said: "That has changed now and it's worth knowing that this is a new vulnerability in a piece of third party software." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.