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FTC Shuts Down 3FN Service


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Thanks to Eönwë in the Newsgoups for spotting the FTC release - http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/06/3fn.shtm

...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. ...
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Thanks to Eönwë in the Newsgoups for spotting the FTC release - http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/06/3fn.shtm

Information Week Story

Pricewert LLC, which does business under several names, including 3FN and APS Telecom, had its Internet connection terminated on Tuesday by order of a San Jose, Calif., district court judge, at the request of the FTC. A hearing on the temporary restraining order is scheduled for June 15.

......

The only entity named in the case is Pricewert. Ethan Arenson, an attorney with the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said that the individuals behind the company are overseas in Eastern Europe. He declined to comment on a possible extradition effort or coordination with authorities abroad.

Whether the individuals doing business as Pricewert will face charges remains an open question. Pricewert is essentially an Oregon shell corporation with some servers in San Jose.

..........

Symantec identified more than 600 IP addresses controlled by 3FN that had launched malicious attacks, according to court documents. The FTC said it had identified more than 4,500 malicious programs directed by the command-and-control servers hosted by 3FN.

........

Weafer said that several computer security companies and organizations contributed information to bring down Pricewert. Beyond the FTC, the University of Alabama, and Symantec, other contributing organizations include NASA (targeted by 3FN hosted attacks), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Shadowserver Foundation, and the Spamhaus Project.

Ars Technica article

By the looks of it, Pricewert's business was very similar to that of Atrivo, which was forced offline in the fall of 2008 after a report came out about the ISP's numerous illegal endeavors (though our readers noted that it didn't stay offline for long). Similarly, rogue ISP McColo was shut down in November for its shady spam dealings, resulting in a noticeable drop in overall spam levels for several months.

In addition to the temporary restraining order issued today against Pricewert, the US District Court for the North District of California ordered the ISP's data centers to cease providing services to the company. A judge will decide in just over a week whether further action is necessary, but given the available evidence, it seems more likely than not that the FTC will get its wish and Pricewert will be shut down for good. Whether the ISP's admins can be prevented from scurrying off to darker corners of the Internet is another question.

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Information Week Story ........

Weafer said that several computer security companies and organizations contributed information to bring down Pricewert. Beyond the FTC, ..., and the Spamhaus Project. ...

Good, good, brownie points for SpamHaus and not the first time they've contributed to law enforcement efforts. Not that it should directly affect the now-vacated district Court judgment against them and any continuing action by e360 but ... even blind justice has been known to take a peek every now and then.

As the the 'permanency' of Pricewert LLC's take-down (or, more to the point, that of their clients)? Alas, it would seem - on casual observation - that as many (as there malefactors) accurately-delivered silver bullets, stakes through the heart and burials at crossroads are required for that to stick.

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