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FTC shuts down porn- and botnet-loaded ISP

The Federal Trade Commission acted today to effectively kill off the Internet Service Provider 3FN, who the agency said ran an operation primarily devoted to hosting spam, porn, botnets, phishing and a variety of other malicious Web content.

The ISP's servers (along with its other assets) have been seized for sale, and the ISP has been ordered to pay over one million dollars to the FTC.

The FTC charged that 3FN, also known as Triple Fiber Network, APS Telecom, APX Telecom, APS Communications, APS Communication and Pricewert LLC, actively recruited and conspired with criminals to provide spyware, botnet servers, viruses, malware, phishing schemes, and child pornography, including pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest. According to the FTC, 3FN advertised its services on a variety of websites, including sites with chat rooms hosted specifically for spammers.

3FN worked continuously to conceal its clients' activity by ignoring take-down requests and by shifting its criminal operations around to other IP addresses that it owned in an ongoing attempt to evade detection. Some limited success was had in June of 2009 after a court issued a preliminary injunction against 3FN- at that time spam volumes dropped by about 15% according to Bradley Anstis, director of technology strategy at Marshal8e6.

The charges also reveal that 3FN owned and operated botnets, aggressively recruited "bot herders", and even hosted the botnet control servers. Transcripts provided as evidence by the FTC included instant-message logs from the defendants' senior employees discussing the configuration of the botnets with the bot herders.

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