Earlier this week, Latvian internet service provider Real Host was shut down by its upstream providers Junik and TeliaSonera after security experts linked Real Host to a number of criminal activities. Among the many activies allegedly conducted through Real Host were the use of malware to steal banking credentials, SPAM email campaigns and the service provider was running command and control servers for the Zeus botnet (i.e., millions of infected computer slaves or "bots" used by cybercriminals to steal information and attack other computers). The expert who linked Real Host to these activites and who goes by the pseudonym "Jart Armin," told Network World in an interview that Real Host may be "one of the top European centers of crap." Armin's site, HostExploit.com, has published a report on the rogue ISP (requires registration) and even has an abstract video of the take-down occuring.

The take-down of rogue ISPs by upstream service providers has become more common in the United States with the removal of Atrivo and McColo, two service providers shut down at the end 2008. Where service providers did not take action, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit in federal court in California in June of this year to remove the rogue ISP Pricewert/3FN. The complaint filed by the FTC (.pdf) alleged that, in becoming an active participant in a range of cybercrimes, the ISP committed unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 45(a). (Note also that the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction entered in that action not only shut down the ISP, but also ordered the seizure of assets and a number of other extraordinary protections.)