The FTC has launched legal action against a Californian web hosting service it says is responsible for botnets, malware, credit card theft and of course spam. The provider has been disconnected and its operators now face a lawsuit.
The FTC alleges that Pricewert/3FN operates as a “‘rogue’ or ‘black hat’ Internet service provider that recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of illegal, malicious, and harmful content,” including botnet control servers, child pornography and rogue antivirus products. 3FN also operates by the names APS Telecom and APX Telecom.
The provider is known as a frequent host of “scraper” or autoblog sites — fake blogs that re‑publish unauthorized copies of content taken from other blogs, often sending spam pingbacks and trackbacks in the process.
Our sources indicate the network also provided services to several of the major forum and comment spammers. In particular, web sites owned by the developers of several spambot programs have been shut down (though we expect they will resurface elsewhere before long).
Of course if you’re using Akismet you won’t notice much of a difference: Akismet has long been highly effective at catching spam produced by their spambots and autoblogs.
Our stats suggest a significant and immediate drop in overall spam levels coinciding with the FTC’s action – on the order of about a 20% reduction (in spam that was or would be successfully caught by Akismet).