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Friday, August 20, 1999
Malaysia domain the "most abusive" in the world for chatting
KUALA LUMPUR--Undernet.org administrators were forced to ban Malaysian users from its popular chat network because it is "the most abusive domain" in the world.
"Malaysian IP space and resources are being used to launch Denial of Service attacks against Undernet.org servers and services constantly. The last attack against one of our routing servers was the straw that broke the camel's back," said a North American Abuse Coordinator of Undernet.org known as "Angel Moss".
Moss said the Undernet.org was "not singling out Malaysia" which was banned from the global network on Monday.
"We would react in a similar manner to any other country which was acting similarly. However, the level of abuse originating from Malaysia has been a problem for years, and has only increased. We have never seen any improvement in the level of attentiveness by the administrators of the .my domain. The abuse has now escalated to an intolerable level," said Moss
Moss said the Undernet.org has set in excess of 180,000 global bans in the last two months against Malaysian users for failure to comply with the Undernet's acceptable use policy.
The Undernet.org was forced to make the decision to ban Malaysia to protect its network and resources.
The Undernet is one of the largest real-time Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks in the world with about 45 servers globally.
The servers are privately owned and operated and cost about US$2.2 million to maintain annually, said Moss.
"Our servers are hosted by companies and individuals who generously donate their valuable time and money to this very expensive hobby. These costs are non-profit generating expenses. The Undernet.org is not willing to have servers delinked or shut-down because their owners can no longer justify the expense of running the server," said Moss.
Moss said previous attempts to get the two local ISPs, TMnet and Jaring, to address the issue were fruitless.
On Wednesday, however, Jaring told CNET Asia that it had not been contacted this year by Undernet.org until this week.
Moss said since the ban on Monday, the local ISP and the Undernet have been in contact and are discussing means to put in place "abuse management policies". "Undernet.org is requesting direct contacts with persons in the abuse and administrative departments of the ISPs."
The global ban for Jaring users will likely be lifted tomorrow when the policies come into effect.
The Undernet.org has, however, extended the ban on TMnet users until August 25, pending response from the ISP which is owned by leading telco Telekom Malaysia.
Telekom Malaysia Corporate Communications head Sharifah Mohd Ismail was quoted by the New Straits Times today as saying TMnet would not hesitate to terminate an account where there is clear evidence of misuse.
She said TMnet would offer to set up a Malaysian Undernet chat server and take full responsibility for it. A proposal to that effect was expected to be sent to the Undernet.org by today.
"We are only asking that they support and enforce their own policies they have in place already. We have no means of punishing a user who is in violation of our policies outside of denying them connectivity. However an ISP can directly identify the problem user, contact them in person and deal with them much more effectively," said Moss.
Moss said that often abuse issues result from the use of an Internet account by an unsupervised minor or child and can be resolved quickly.
Moss believes the source of attacks and abuses may be from improperly configured Wingate servers in Malaysia which are the bane of services such as the Undernet
Wingate is a modem-sharing program, which allows a person to share their Internet connection with multiple computers they have set up on a local area network.
"Ever since the release of this type of software, we have been experiencing increasing problems with people abusing it. If the software is not properly configured, it will allow third parties to connect to the 'gate', and then access external services, such as chat networks, using the 'address' of the owner of the 'gate'," said Moss.
Moss said many ISPs have now installed machines on their networks that will check their customers systems for open Wingate/proxy server software, and deny their dialup connection to the provider.
Moss said users also need to practise good citizenship on the Net and Netiquette.
"You should not assume that you are anonymous while connected to any Internet service. There are always ways to identify people eventually," Moss said.
Moss said Malaysia is no different from any other country in the world in the make up of its user base but just as society in general is littered with criminals, there is the same element who exploit Internet services.
Moss has received huge amount of mail since the ban and said most mail from Malaysian users have been in favor of the decision.
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