Death of the Internet, Film at 11

Richard Holbo holbor at
Mon Oct 24 06:23:00 UTC 2016

I run/manage the networks for several smallish (in the thousands of
customers) eyeball ISP's and  I appreciate a nice "hey you've got a bot" or
"someone is scanning" me notice to my abuse emails.  They are useful in
identifying crap that's going on, so for those of you who have the
resources to do that...  I appreciate it, we do read them at my networks
and try to do something.

That said... getting end users to actually fix the broken routers etc. etc.
is NOT easy.    Very often we'll notify customers, they will _take their
stuff to the local computer repair guy_ ... or office depo.... and they
will run whatever auto scan they have and say it's all fine.  Customer puts
it back in, it's still broke, and they call customer support and want us to
pay for the trip because _their_ expert says it's fine...

IMHO since the advent of Net Neutrality... I cannot simply block all of X,
Y or Z at my edge and tell the customers it's for the best.  I'd love to
block some stuff in and outbound to customers, but then the customer just
yells at us and files complaints with the PUC because _they have a right to
it_.. So those of you calling for Government interference... we've already
done that and it does not help.


On Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 10:56 PM, John Weekes <jw at> wrote:

> On 10/23/2016 4:19 PM, Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:
>> ... I've recorded
>>> about 2.4 million IP addresses involved in the last two months (a number
>>> that is higher than the number of actual devices, since most seem to
>>> have dynamic IP addresses). The ISPs behind those IP addresses have
>>> received notifications via email...
>> Just curious... How well is that working out?
> For the IoT botnets, most of the emails are ignored or rejected, because
> most go to providers who either quietly bitbucket them or flat-out reject
> all abuse emails. Most emails sent to mainland China, for instance, are in
> that category (Hong Kong ISPs are somewhat better).
> For other botnets, such as those using compromised webservers running
> outdated phpMyAdmin installs at random hosts, harnessing spun-up services
> at reputable VPS providers (Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace, etc.), or
> harnessing devices at large and small US and Canadian ISPs, we have had
> better luck. Usually, we don't hear a response back, but those emails are
> often forwarded to the end-user, who takes action (and may ask us for help,
> which is how we know they are being forwarded). The fixes can enough to
> reduce attack volumes to more manageable levels.
> Kudos go out to the large and small ISPs and NSPs who have started
> policing SSDP and other reflection traffic, which we also send out some
> notifications for. In some cases, it may be that our emails spurred them to
> notice how much damage those attacks were doing and how much it was costing
> them to carry the attack traffic.
> I've tried this myself a few times in the past, when I've found things
>> that appear to be seriously compromised, and for my extensive trouble
>> I've mostly received back utter silence and no action.  I remember that
>> after properly notifying [email protected] some large end-luser cable network
>> in the SouthEast (which shall remain nameless) I got back something
>> along the lines of "Thank you.  We'll look into it." and was disgusted
>> to find, two months later, that the boxes in question were still utterly
>> pwned and in the exact same state they were two months prior, when I
>> had first reported them.
> We do get our share of that, as well, unfortunately, along with our share
> of people who send angry responses calling the notifications spam (I
> disagree with them that sending a legitimate abuse notification to a
> publicly-posted, designated abuse account should be considered spam) or who
> flame us for acting like "internet police". But, we persist. Some people
> change their minds after receiving multiple notifications or after we
> explain that DoS traffic costs them money and hurts their customers, who
> will be experiencing degraded service and may silently switch providers
> over it.
> I guess that's just an example of what somebody else already noted here,
>> i.e. that providers don't care to spend the time and/or effort and/or
>> money necessary to actually -do- anything about compromised boxes, and
>> anyway, they don't want to lose a paying customer.
>> So, you know, let's just say for the sake of argument that right now,
>> today, I know about a botnet consiting of a quarter million popped
>> boxes, and that I have in-hand all of the relevant IPs, and that I
>> have no trouble finding contact email addresses for all of the relevant
>> ASNs.  So then what?
> I use scripts to send out an abuse notification to some percentage of the
> compromised hosts -- the ones sending some significant amount of the
> traffic. The notification includes a description of what we saw and
> timestamped example attack traffic, as interpreted by tcpdump. If further
> traffic is seen later from the same host, another notification will be
> sent, after a cool-off period.
> The emails are plain text and we don't try to use them as advertisement.
> We also don't force a link to be clicked to see more details or to respond
> back. I don't like to receive such emails myself and have found that those
> types are more likely to be ignored.
> The question is:  Why should I waste my time informing all, or even any
>> of these ASNs about the popped boxes on their networks when (a) I am
>> not their customer... as many of them have been only too happy to
>> gleefully inform me in the past... and when (b) the vast majority
>> simply won't do anything with the information?
> I'm not saying that everyone should send abuse notifications like we do,
> since it can be a big task. But, in response to someone wondering if their
> network is being used for attacks, or asking how they could help to police
> their own network, I am saying that making sure that inbound abuse
> notifications are arriving at the right place and being handled
> appropriately is important.
> And while we are on the subject, I just have to bring up one of my
>> biggest pet peeves.  Why is it that every time some public-spirited
>> altrusitc well-meaning citizen such as myself reports any kind of a
>> problem to any kind of a company on the Internet, the report itself
>> gets immediately labeled and categorized as a "complaint".  If I spend
>> some of -my- valuable time to helpfully try to let somebody else know
>> of a problem on their network, or with their web site, and if that
>> report gets categorized as a "complaint" then what does that make me?
>> A "complainer"??
>> I don't need this kind of abuse and denegration from people who I'm
>> trying to help.  Like most other people, if I am in need of some
>> personal denegration and abuse... well... I have relatives for that.
> There's a spectrum of people responding to these and some percentage are
> just jerks, as in real life. But, I like to think that the majority of at
> least NA providers are represented by professionals who just don't respond
> out of courtesy because they don't want to flood our inboxes with simple
> acknowledgements.
> Those of us experiencing these attacks appreciate the community support,
> both from people like you who also send notifications and those who handle
> the notifications on the receiving end.
> -John

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