Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a California web hosting firm for involvement in spam operations. This is the first time the FTC has ever taken action against a hosting provider.
The company, Triple Fiber Network, hosted some 15,000 websites at a data center in San Jose, California. The sites were taken offline Tuesday after the FTC told its bandwidth provider to stop routing the host’s traffic.
Triple Fiber allegedly hosted all sorts of illegal content, including malware and child pornography. “Anything bad on the Internet, they were involved in it,” FTC Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz said. “We’re very proud, because in one fell swoop we’ve gone after a big facilitator of some of the utterly worst conduct.”
The FTC stated:
[Triple Fiber Network] hosts very little legitimate content and vast quantities of illegal, malicious, and harmful content, including child pornography, botnet command and control servers, spyware, viruses, trojans, phishing related sites, illegal online pharmacies, investment and other Web-based scams, and pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest.
The black market provider also hosted the control servers for one of the world’s largest botnets, “Cutwail.” According to the government agency, the host marketed itself to overseas criminals by placing ads in the “darkest corners of the Internet.”
Most of the host’s personnel work overseas. In a message to customers, Three Fiber promised to be back up within days in another location. Meanwhile, some of its customers have already found other hosts and have placed their illegal content back online.