Lax ISPs add to Internet security problem

Open source tools and content systems remain vulnerable.

In another phishing case a customer was compromised with a PHP injection and Perl bots were installed.

"I looked around and found five more phishers and the customer removed the site and said they fixed the plug, but the phishers returned," McIntyre said. "It turned out every day the customer was re-uploading the phishing sites and restoring them from a backup."

There is certainly no shortage of bots as McIntyre runs a number of "botpots" based on Unix to attract bots.

This year botpot One has seen some 29,000 bots so far, botpot Two about 200,000 and botpot Three has just under a million systems from over the world.

"The point is we are proactive and if you are not contributing in some way you are making it worse for the Internet," he said. "There is plenty of malware out there and the script kiddies are out there, but the big guys are doing it for the money. It's worrying how much information is out there and how cheap it is. The underground economy is rife with this stuff."

There are now targets for Web-based e-mail systems and the known attack is sent around the world with a one to two percent success rate, but even that's enough.

What else can ISPs do to keep customer accounts secure? Well, according to McIntyre the overall procedure is quite simple.

"We find the problem and we are looking for the trouble," he said. "We have notification ritual telling people they have a problem and we give them free anti-virus tools and try to make the bar as low as possible."

They also use a ticketing system for abuse matters and if your ISP doesn't have one "run away".

"We also created a walled garden environment where the customer can get information online without being put at risk," McIntyre said. "We use policy-based routing for HTTP content and have firewall rules in the router that limits customer traffic."

McIntyre's team is now developing some custom filters as a preventative measure.

"We want to prevent the bot from becoming a spam relay. It is not being used for abuse handling and not based on DPI, its purely port based," he said. "I've got 120Gbps of traffic so show me the hardware that can do DPI on that at a less than the cost of Australia!"

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