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Are ISPs Profiting at the Expense of Your Security?
By: Joe Eitel
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    2008-06-18

    Table of Contents:
  • Are ISPs Profiting at the Expense of Your Security?
  • The Controversy
  • The Security Threat Still Exists
  • Responses from Earthlink and Barefruit

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    Are ISPs Profiting at the Expense of Your Security?


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Suppose your ISP is interjecting its own content into the sub-domain of your website. What if your ISP is so focused on profiting that itís compromising your security? Certainly, you canít fault the ISP for making as much profit as possible. But security is a pivotal issue on the Internet, and it cannot be ignored.

    Introduction

    These days, ISPs, like other businesses, are diversifying, trying to increase their revenues in any way they can. Lately, what some have gotten into is online advertising. If you misspell the name when youíre typing the website address in the address bar, it used to be you would get an error message saying that the website didnít exist. Now, these ISPs are intercepting the NXDOMAIN (non-existent domain) website and routing you over to a website that shows advertisements, along with a list of suggestions of what website you are trying to access.

    This is a good idea, not to mention that itís profitable for the ISP. Perhaps some of those advertisements will be useful to you. Unfortunately, ISPs, such as Earthlink and Comcast, have created a large security gap that can leave you exposed, enabling hackers and phishers to use your website to their own advantage. Also, ISPs can interject their own content into the sub-domain of your website. No doubt, hackers and phishers will have a field day creating and distributing false websites or malicious code.

    If you have an Internet business, you are in it to make money. E-commerce is no different from other businesses. But one of the things that Internet companies have to continuously fight for is security. Online businesses have to continuously try and stay one step ahead of the hackers and phishers. Itís a never-ending battle.

    Internet companies pour billions of dollars annually into security, hiring highly skilled and experienced security experts, purchasing and installing security software, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, network intrusion detection, and firewall software. This is not to mention the various hardware devices that  Internet companies use for security. Some even go so far to as to outsource their security to network management firms, which will monitor their networks 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

    One business entity that Internet companies should be able to rely on is their ISP. After all, it is their ISP that connects them to the Internet and to the marketplace. They trust their ISPs to provide the ultimate security. Their ISPs should be their first line of defense. In addition, ISPs must ensure that their partners are providing the ultimate security as well.

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