Over the years, we've had many discussions about what role ISPs should play in the computer security of their customers. On the one side, if ISPs are too stringent (blocking things at the network level, for instance), users get upset that their ISPs are disallowing things that should be allowed. Many users just want bandwidth, and get worried when their ISPs take a more active role. On the other side of things, ISPs who are too free with security issues risk allowing themselves to become a huge target for spammers and others. So far, ISPs have pretty much taken an all or nothing approach. If they notice that someone is causing problems, they tend to cut them off completely, leading to an expensive service call. However, there was one presenter at DEMO that had an interesting idea to deal with this. It was a proxy system that would take data from client side security apps and then alert a user through their browser. So, for example, if the ISP noticed the user was acting as a spam-spewing zombie or had some spyware, the next time the user opened his or her browser, the ISP could present a message explaining the problem and how to solve it. It's much more efficient than simply cutting the person off. Of course, if such solutions became popular, it seems like only a matter of time before phisher moved on to spoofing the browser-based error messages.
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