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FTC Closes Down Worst Spam and Botnet Provider In The United States

Taking a stiff stance to crack down on cybercrime activities, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday announced that it had shut down a rogue internet service provider (ISP), accused of hosting and distributing content related to child pornography, spam, malware, etc.

Pricewert LLC, the ISP in question, which operated under several names, including APS Telecom and 3FN, had its web connection unplugged, after a San Jose, Calif., district court judge ordered for the shut down of the ISP.

The court issued a “temporary restraining order” to forbid the ISP's illicit activities and necessitated its upstream internet providers as well as data centres to stop offering services. Pricewert has now become completely defunct and the ruling further freezes its assets.

In its complaint, FTC claimed that the service wasn't apparently meant for average consumers. Instead, it was promoted “in the darkest corners of the Internet” and was intended to cybercriminals who seek to put malicious websites over the web, but need servers and bandwidth to do the same.

In addition to this, the complaint from FTC further notified that the ISP protected its clientele by either transferring its felonious elements to other IP addresses it held to escape detection, or by simply avoiding the take down requests issued by the internet security community.

Vincent Weafer, VP of Symantec Security Response, asserted that his firm had provided the data collected from its global internet sensor network about malicious content dished up by Pricewert, and informed that the ISP controlled as many as 600 IP addresses.

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Our Comments

It is interesting to find out that authorities taking down ISPs in the US but we've never had that here. The closing down of Pricewert reminds us of the saga of Mccolo which was closed down last year and ended up with spam quantity worldwide plunging significantly before picking up again in April.

Related Links

Federal Trade Commission shuts down rogue ISP (opens in new tab)


FTC Shuts Down 'Worst ISP In U.S.' (opens in new tab)

(Information Week)

US shuts 'criminal' internet service provider (opens in new tab)

(Financial Times)

US Federal Trade Commission shuts down ISP (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

FTC shuts allegedly rogue Internet provider (opens in new tab)

(Associated Press)

Botnet, spam provider unplugged at FTC's request (opens in new tab)


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.