FTC orders closure of rogue ISP

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Los Angeles (CA) – The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has closed a rogue ISP accused of “actively participating in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content.”

“Pricewert LLC recruited bot herders and hosted the command-and-control servers – the computers that relay commands from the bot herders to the compromised computers known as ‘zombie drones.’ Transcripts of instant-message logs filed with the district court show the defendants’ senior employees discussing the configuration of botnets with bot herders,” the FTC explained in a statment. “In filings with the district court, the FTC alleges that more than 4,500 malicious software programs are controlled by command-and-control servers hosted by 3FN. This malware includes programs capable of keystroke logging, password stealing, and data stealing, programs with hidden backdoor remote control activity, and programs involved in spam distribution.”

The FTC also claimed that Pricewert “actively shielded” criminal clientele by either ignoring take-down requests issued by the online security community, or shifting criminal elements to other Internet protocol addresses it controlled to evade detection.

A number of entities reportedly participated in the investigation of Pricewert, including: NASA’s Office of Inspector General – Computer Crime Division, University of Alabama at Birmingham, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The Shadowserver Foundation, Symantec Corporation and The Spamhaus Project.

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