Feeds

ISPs turn blind eye to million-machine malware monster

Cablevision and Comcast coddling criminals?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

To be fair, legal liability and economic realities sometimes make it hard for ISPs to respond to the threat in a meaningful way. But in light of the surging malware problem, their frequent inaction looks more and more like complicity.

Although some ISPs are more active than others in policing their networks, absentee abuse departments and a lack of enforcement seems to be the rule. The Register spent several weeks calling ISPs large and small, including Comcast, OpimumOnline, Verizon, Earthlink and Road Runner. Many didn't bother to return our repeated calls. And all declined our requests for an interview with a member of their security team to discuss what steps they take to ensure their networks are not used as a launch pad for computer attacks.

The Worst of the Lot

The criticisms go well beyond abuse handlers who don't answer their email. According to this list from antispam organization Spamhaus, Deutsche Telekom users accounted for an estimated 2.2 percent of all compromised systems on the internet. The dubious distinction ranks the German ISP as the 11th most bot-infested provider, just narrowly edging out Verizon, which accounted for an estimated 1.97 percent. (Spamhaus Figures, which change frequently, were current as of time of writing).

Other European and US-based providers with unfavorable ratings include Telecom Italia, Comcast, Arcor, France Telecom and Road Runner, which together provided net access for an estimated 4.2 percent of the world's infected hosts.

Take a gander at other lists that track spam origins and you'll find many of the same names. According to the Trend Micro's Network reputation ranking, subscribers from Verizon, Telecom Italia, France Telecom, BT, Road Runner, Telefonica Data Espana and Tiscoli, AT&T, Cableinet Telewest Broadband and Comcast are some of the most prodigious senders of spam.

Because almost all spam is generated by bot-infected PCs, the rankings are a strong indication that those networks are home to a large number of zombies under the control of criminal gangs. Comcast and Road Runner declined to comment. Verizon turned down requests for an interview with a security engineer, but a spokeswoman said officials are aware of the rankings and are working to put new measures in place by the end of the year to curb the spam flowing out of its network. "We are concerned about it," the spokeswoman, Bobbi Hensen, said. "We don't like spam. We are aggressively working on that."

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?