A rogue Internet Service Provider that recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content has been shut down by a district court judge at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. The ISPâ€™s upstream providers and data centers have disconnected its servers from the Internet.
According to the FTC, the defendant, Pricewert LLC, which does business under a variety of names including 3FN and APS Telecom, actively recruits and colludes with criminals seeking to distribute illegal, malicious, and harmful electronic content including child pornography, spyware, viruses, trojan horses, phishing, botnet command and control servers, and pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest. The FTC alleges that the defendant advertised its services in the darkest corners of the Internet, including a forum established to facilitate communication between criminals.
The FTC also alleges that the defendant engaged in the deployment and operation of botnets â€“ large networks of computers that have been compromised and enslaved by the originator of the botnet, known as a â€œbot herder.â€ Botnets can be used for a variety of illicit purposes, including sending spam and launching denial of service attacks. According to the FTC, the defendant recruited bot herders and hosted the command-and-control servers â€“ the computers that relay commands from the bot herders to the compromised computers known as â€œzombie drones.â€ Transcripts of instant-message logs filed with the district court show the defendantsâ€™ senior employees discussing the configuration of botnets with bot herders. And, 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.
FTC Shuts Down Notorious Rogue Internet Service Provider, 3FN Service Specializes in Hosting Spam-Spewing Botnets, Phishing Web sites, Child Pornography, and Other Illegal, Malicious Web Content