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Legitimate Companies Host Bad Things Too

September 13, 2018 / 191 / Category : Tech

It would be naive of us to look at only bulletproof hosting services as the sole source of the dark underbelly of the internet. According to Webroot’s Quarterly Threat Trends for September 2017 [PDF], “an average of 1.385 million unique phishing sites are created each month, with an astonishing high of 2.3 million in May of 2017. Not all of these sites use bulletproof hosting services. Major regular hosting services like GoDaddy, 1and1 Web Hosting, HostGator, and Digital Ocean regularly host phishing sites before they go offline. Given GoDaddy has tens of millions of registered domains, it is entirely feasible that some slip through the net. However, there are some slightly worrying signs. The InfoSec Guy blog illustrates several malicious phishing sites left online even after alerting GoDaddy. Similarly, there are tutorials available online detailing how to set up automated phishing emails using a Digital Ocean VPS (among others).

We rely upon the wonders of cyberspace for so many of our essential daily activities. We purchase merchandise, indulge in sensitive and deeply personal communications, and even conduct our banking activities from the comfort our computers and smart phones. Little do many of us realize that a new generation of online criminals may lie in waiting, and any one of us could be their next victim? The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet is a valuable portrait of this frightening reality.

 Many service providers have terms of service that do not allow certain materials to be uploaded or distributed, or the service to be used in a particular way, and may suspend a hosting account, after a few complaints, to minimize the risk of their IP subnet being blocked by anti-spam filters using Internet Protocol (IP) address-based filtering. Additionally, some service providers may have ethical concerns that underpin their service terms and conditions. Often, a bulletproof host allows a content provider to bypass the laws or contractual terms of service regulating Internet content and service use in its own country of operation, as many of these ‘bulletproof hosts’ are based ‘overseas’ (relative to the geographical location of the content provider).

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