Qwest intros Internet abusing customer lock-downs

Qwest, the US telco and Internet service provider, has introduced a malware detection service on its Internet servers, with the result that it now claims to be able to lock down those customers whose PCs are infected with a bot or similar malware.

According to the telco, its Internet service now monitors users' Internet connections for any behaviour that is characteristic of malware, such as botnet attacks, automated spam generation and general high-speed problems.

What's interesting about the security feature is that the technology is entirely on Qwest's side of the network barrier - there is no software installed on the client's computer side of the link.

According to Qwest, the aim of the software is to lock down HTTP and SMTP connections using a walled garden approach for affected customers, but without affecting POP3 and VOIP transmissions.

Using this approach, the telco claims, is better than temporarily shutting off a users' Internet connection, as it means the customer can still use some services.

If a customer is locked down, the next time they access the Web they are presented with a special page that warns of a possible security problem on their computer.

The page gives customers three options: remove the security problem now (by running an online interactive scan), remove it later (and get only limited access to the Net), or assert that you have already removed it.

The $64,000 question, of course, is what happens if a customer selects option 2 or 3 repeatedly when they continue to be infected. Will Qwest have the cohones to lock the user down permanently?

The telco isn't saying, but I'll bet it will only fully lock out a customer if it really has to...