The Federal Trade Commission today announced it has taken down Pricewert LLC, a California-based ISP that it says "recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content."
According to the FTC's release, Pricewert, which also went by the names 3FN and APS Telecom, provided services for crooks involved with phishing, spyware, botnets and other scourges of the Internet. Per the notice, "the defendant advertised its services in the darkest corners of the Internet, including a forum established to facilitate communication between criminals."
This is great news, and one we can hope signals the beginning of a trend. This kind of action won't by itself stop Internet crime, but identifying and taking down these black-market service providers does much more than attempting to identify and fight individual pieces of malware. After last fall's takedown of the McColo ISP, spam levels dropped precipitously. The bad guys eventually regrouped, but the takedown had a noticeable impact.