Quarantine your infected users spreading malware

Bill Nash billn at odyssey.billn.net
Tue Feb 21 16:35:44 UTC 2006

On Tue, 21 Feb 2006, Jason Frisvold wrote:

> On 2/21/06, Bill Nash <billn at odyssey.billn.net> wrote:
>> If you're talking about a compulsory software solution, why not, as an
>> ISP, go back to authenticated activity? Distribute PPPOE clients mated
>> with common anti-spyware/anti-viral tools. Pull down and update signatures
>> *every time* the user logs in, and again periodically while the user is
>> logged in (for those that never log out). Require these safeguards to be
>> active before they can pass the smallest traffic.
> Cost prohibitive..  In order to do that you'll need licenses from the
> AV companies..

Big deal. You're talking about volume licensing at that point, and 
offering vendors an opportunity to compete to get on every desktop in your 
customer base. That's a big stick to negotiate with, especially if you're 
an Earthlink or AOL.

>> The change in traffic flow would necessitate some architecture kung fu,
>> maybe even AOL style, but you'd have the option of selectively picking out
>> reported malicious/infected users (*cough* ThreatNet *cough*) and routing
>> them through packet inspection frameworks on a case by case basis. Quite
>> possibly, you could even automate that and the users would never be the
>> wiser.
> And then the privacy zealots would be livid..  Silently re-routing
> traffic like that..  How dare you suggest such a ... wait..  hrm..
> The internet basically does this already..  I wonder if the zealots
> are aware of that..  :)

Yeah, the privacy zealots, of which I'm one, don't have much of a leg to 
stand on, since as the direct service provider, you'd be directly within 
AUP/Contractually provided rights to do so, under that particular service 
model. They can't ding you for being active in your *response* to 
complaints about malicious activity sourced from your network, and taking 
the time to verify it. So long as you're keeping their personal 
information out of the hands of others, they don't have much to bitch 

The ISPs win because they've got ready means to tie complaints directly 
back to an active customer, AND verify the complaint. Consumers win 
because they've got cheap anti-virus they still don't have to do anything 
about. The internet wins because ISPs are sharing non-personally 
identifying information about naughty behaviour and maybe increasing the 
mean TTL for new Windows machines. In the long term, privacy advocates win 
because networks have implemented active responses to attacks that 
routinely lead to identity theft.

The biggest hole I see in this concept is home routers that do NAT 
(linksys, linux boxes, etc). While capable of PPPOE, you can't quite 
mandate the A/V clients. You still have the option of doing packet 
inspection, which is still better than nothing.

- billn

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