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05 June 2009, 10:33

US court takes ISP off the web

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had Pricewert LLC, an internet service provider involved in spreading spam, malware and child pornography, temporarily taken off the web. The ISP, which also specialises in hosting phishing and other illegal sites, has been cut off by its upstream provider and had its assets frozen on the instruction of the US District Court in San Jose, California.

Pricewert LLC, which also does business under a variety of other names including APS Telecom and 3FN, is said by the FTC to have actively recruited and offered a communication platform to criminals. Pricewert is reported to have regularly ignored requests to remove illegal content and moved illegal sites to other addresses in order to evade detection.

According to the FTC, the ISP also hosted several command and control servers for controlling botnets. More than 4,500 programs for spying on users are reported to have been controlled from servers on 3FN networks. According to the report, NASA's Computer Crime Division, forensic scientists at the University of Alabama, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Shadowserver Foundation, which specialises in monitoring botnets, Symantec and Spamhaus all assisted in gathering evidence for the case. The court will hold a preliminary injunction hearing on the 15th of June.

The FTC has brought a number of cases against dodgy service providers and malware manufacturers. In late 2008, it obtained a ban preventing two purveyors of scareware from continuing to sell their wares. Shortly before that, at the FTC's request, a US court banned CyberSpy from continuing to sell its RemoteSpy espionage program.

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