Stopping Malware: ISPs Cutting Off Internet Access to Malware Infected Computers


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09/15/2009



Stopping Malware: ISPs Cutting Off Internet Access to Malware Infected Computers

Kevin R. Smith
Co-Editor


Malware in all its forms, viruses, worm, trojans, keyloggers, botnets, spyware, and even adware, is for most individuals and businesses unpleasant at best and a nightmare at worst.

Once your PC has been infected, cleaning up the mess the malware leads behind can be easier said than done.

For better or worse, realizing your computer has been compromised is often difficult if not impossible. It can't be said too often that preventing the malware/virus infection in the first place should be your first priority in computer security:

  1. Be smart about what you do online.
  2. Keep your PC updated with Windows Update
  3. Install (and run!) antivirus software or an Internet security suite


In an effort to deal with those computers that have been infected, Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA)

"has drafted a new code of conduct that suggests Internet Service Providers (ISPs) contact, and in some cases, disconnect customers that have malware-infected computers."
  1. Identify compromised/infected computers
  2. Contact customer with infected computer(s)
  3. Provide information/advice on how to fix infected computer(s)
  4. Report / alert about serious large-scale threats (including ones that make effect national security)

Some believe this shifts the onus onto the ISPs to ensure their customers PCs are malware free; however, given that the IIA is also calling for unresponsive customers (or ones involved in large-scale threats) to have their Internet access suspended, it really puts it onto the consumer, where I believe it really belongs. Here's why:

If your machine does have a virus, worm, or other malware, you may lose your Internet access 'til you get it cleaned up.

Given how cheap even the best antivirus firewall software is, risking your Internet access to save a few bucks on Internet security software doesn't make sense--especially given that you'd need Internet access to download software to clean up an infected PC.

No matter how you slice it, the ISPs realize what a threat viruses and other malware are and are going to take whatever steps they can to protect themselves, their customers, and their infrastructure. Seems like smart business to me.

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