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By Julian Matthews

TMnet Delivers Ultimatum To Net Abusers

Sept 08, 1999, KUALA LUMPUR -- Local Internet Service Provider TMnet has issued a stern warning against its users for attacking foreign chat networks and committing other Internet abuses such as credit card fraud, hacking and virus propagation.

"If you are the perpetrator of any such activities, consider this your first and final warning. There will be no further warnings before action is taken, the least of which is the suspension of your account. If you think you cannot be traced, think again," said the statement issued yesterday to its 350,000 subscribers by the Customer Support Manager, Internet Services for the ISP.

TMnet said it was forced to take "drastic measures" against perpetrators of the abuse to protect the "innocent" users.

"If you know anyone who performs such activities, please advise them before they get into real trouble. If you are parents, please take care to see what your children may be doing on the Internet," said the statement.

The statement said TMnet is sharing information with the other local ISP Jaring and local abuse watchdog MyCERT which may result in "blacklisting of habitual offenders."

"Serious crimes have been reported to the police and these crimes are punishable by law which may include fines and jail terms," it stated ominously.

The statement came on the heels of a permanent ban of all TMnet users from accessing any server on the popular global Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network, the Undernet, on Sunday.

The administrators unanimously voted in favour of the ban after repeated complaints of abuse were not adequately dealt with, and the "lack of communication or cooperation" on the part of the ISP.

"As a relatively small community in the Internet, Malaysians generate some of the worst levels of abuse in the world and this is something we have to be ashamed of," continued the TMnet statement, echoing an earlier description by the on the abuse that led to the ban.

The statement said abuse of the Undernet chat services was just one aspect of the type of abuse of the Internet by Malaysians. Other abuses cited include spamming, forwarding chain letters, hacking, cracking, Back Orifice and Netbus scanning, credit card fraud, propagating viruses, worms and trojan horses, mail bombing, "nuking" and launching of denial of service attacks.

Back Orifice and Netbus allow hackers to take control of users' machines while they are online while nuking is a technique to force another user's system to crash.

"The level of abuse is so great that the ISPs cannot cope with tracking down and warning errant users. It also takes up time and resources which could be used to improve our services to you, our customers," said the TMnet statement.

Jaring served a similar warning to its 200,000 subscribers last week that it would disconnect the "small proportion" of users found to be abusing their accounts without notice.

It stated it would also scan users to identify misconfigured or misused equipment that could be used by unauthorized users to launch the abuse.

A North American abuse coordinator for the, known as Angel Moss, was in favor of the scanning, despite misgivings of some members of the local Internet community.

"Any ISP that takes proactive, responsible measures to ensure the proper use and management of their resources should be commended for their efforts," said Moss.

Moss described the scanning has a "harmless, non-invasive management" tool.

"Many ISPs around the globe are tired of their bandwidth being hijacked and abused by the anonymous access that modem-sharing and proxy server software like Wingate and Socks 5 allows to others," said Moss.

Moss also conjectured that abusers could be connecting to and using insecure servers at cybercafes without its owners knowing.

"People who access these insecure proxy servers are not doing it with good intentions. They are doing it to hide their real identity and use the resources of the network the proxy is connected to. They are the worse form of sneak thieves, who have to hide and steal to play their games," said Moss.

Moss said securing these servers would help free up resources and bandwidth for the ISPs' paying customers.

The TMnet Warning.

(Published in CNET Asia, Sept 08,1999)

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