Feeds

ISPs turn blind eye to million-machine malware monster

Cablevision and Comcast coddling criminals?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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."

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.