Australian internet association issues quarantine code for ISPs

The move has been applauded by data security specialist Imperva. Whilst the code of conduct is likely to generate an outcry from some quarters, says Imperva, it is important to understand that it will only temporarily block an infected users' ability to generate spam.

"It won't affect their ability to surf the internet or access a webmail account", said Amichai Shulman, Imperva's chief technology officer.

"The [Australian] IIA says the code of conduct will give customers greater levels of confidence in the security of their internet connections, as well as helping to reduce the levels of zombie infections actively connected to the internet", he explained.

According to Shulman, the introduction of the new code of conduct will encourage Australian ISPs to introduce network activity detection on their platforms, allowing them to identify abnormal traffic patterns.

If the code of conduct is adopted by Australia's ISPs, Shulman argues that it will almost certainly reduce the number and effects of zombie infections.

As reported last month by Infosecurity, Imperva revealed that hackers had started infecting web servers with a denial of service application that effectively transformed them into zombie drones.

Shulman commented at the time that the servers are controlled using a simple web application, consisting of just 90 lines of PHP code, making them highly effective for the cybercriminals, since they offer criminals more horsepower and, typically, fatter pipes for throwing out spurious traffic.

"If, however, the ISPs are able to quarantine an IP address generating this type of spurious traffic, then the effects of a server-infection denial of service attack can be negated. It is to be hoped that, if Australia's ISPs adopt this code of conduct, then it makes its way up to the ISPs in the northern hemisphere", he said.

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