Information Warfare: Soldiers Battle ISPs

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October 2, 2007: The U.S. Department of Defense is becoming increasingly aggressive with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that do not keep spammers and hackers at bay. Last month the U.S. Army locked out Time Warner's Roadrunner customers, because Time Warner refused to act on army complaints that hackers were using Roadrunner access to try and hack into military networks. The army lock out got Time Warner's attention (they said they had no idea the hacking was going on.)

Typically, ISPs do not try and police who uses their services, as long as no one tries to interrupt traffic. Thus hackers can turn ISP customers PCs into zombies, and ISP servers into spam sources, and nothing much is done. ISPs are more concerned with users who use too much capacity (usually to move huge movie and music files, an activity that consumes over half of the Internet's bandwidth). There's no economic incentive to crack down on the hackers and spammers, because there's no law demanding such action, and not a lot of organized outcry from customers either. But these actions by the military generate a lot of customer service complaints from customers, and that provides an economic incentive to do something. There's also the bad publicity and possibility of new laws. War is hell.

 


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