Telia blocks spam-sending Zombie PCs

Trojans nipped in the bud


TeliaSonera, the leading telecommunications group in the Nordic and Baltic regions, will start to immediately block Internet traffic to and from computers that send junk email or spam, the company announced yesterday.

In order to prevent the rapid spread of spam and virus mails, the company will block all Trojan-infected PCs without warning. TeliaSoneria is the first ISP in Europe to take such drastic measures.

So far, most ISPs have only blocked Internet traffic to certain PC ports. In the UK NTL last month started blocking port 135 traffic on its Internet service. Port 135 is generally used for connections to Microsoft Exchange servers on corporate networks, but it was also compromised by the Welchia and Blaster worms.

A PC that is infected with a Trojan can send more than 100,000 spam messages or viruses in a single day. A time lapse of two weeks between the discovery and blocking of computers that send spam is therefore no longer acceptable, TeliaSoneria says. The company emphasises that it is not blocking computers on a permanent basis. Telia will offer assistance to solve the problem and then remove the blocking procedure afterwards.

Whether it will prevent a complete swamping or inundation of viruses remains to be seen. The recent Sobig.F mass-mailing virus carpet-bombed the Internet, causing chaos on corporate networks. Shutting down access to all these computers at the same time may not be possible.

TeliaSonera says that the number of customer complaints related to spam and computer viruses has increased ten-fold from 300 to 3,000 every 24 hours, and that something needs to be done. "The Internet is easy to use, but this constant flood of spam that we are now witnessing is creating costs and problems for our customers and we won't accept it,' Marie Ehrling, head of TeliaSonera Sweden, says.

John Leyden adds: Telia is taking a bold step but the policy should pay off, so long as the company correctly identifies infected machines and is responsive to customer requests to disinfect their PCs. A free AV tools such as AVG from GRISoft is one of the more straightforward ways to clean-up infected machines. We trust Telia's good sense will prevail in temporarily allowing the infected onto the Net to download updates.

Alternatives, which normally involve using RegEdit to delete viral changes to infected PCs, are hazardous.

Meanwhile what is Telia doing to put its own house in order?

Since March, Telia has used the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) to block email from known senders of electronic junk mail. In addition, Telia plans to introduce general protection against viruses in both incoming and outgoing mail, as well as protection against spam in email that is addressed to receivers outside its network. ®


Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM
    Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMBs

    DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

    The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

    The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

    Continue reading
  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading
  • Meta hires network chip guru from Intel: What does this mean for future silicon?
    Why be a customer when you can develop your own custom semiconductors

    Analysis Here's something that should raise eyebrows in the datacenter world: Facebook parent company Meta has hired a veteran networking chip engineer from Intel to lead silicon design efforts in the internet giant's infrastructure hardware engineering group.

    Jon Dama started as director of silicon in May for Meta's infrastructure hardware group, a role that has him "responsible for several design teams innovating the datacenter for scale," according to his LinkedIn profile. In a blurb, Dama indicated that a team is already in place at Meta, and he hopes to "scale the next several doublings of data processing" with them.

    Though we couldn't confirm it, we think it's likely that Dama is reporting to Alexis Bjorlin, Meta's vice president of infrastructure hardware who previously worked with Dama when she was general manager of Intel's Connectivity group before serving a two-year stint at Broadcom.

    Continue reading
  • Lithium production needs investment to keep pace with battery demand
    Report says $42b will need to be poured into industry over next decade

    Growing demand for lithium for batteries means the sector will need $42 billion of investment to meet the anticipated level of orders by the end of the decade, according to a report.

    Lithium is used in batteries that power smartphones and laptops, but there is also rising use in electric vehicles which is putting additional pressure on supplies.

    The report, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, predicts that demand will reach 2.4 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2030, roughly four times the 600,000 tons of lithium forecast to be produced this year.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022