Undernet rejects Malaysia’s TMnet offer to host local chat server

Posted on August 26, 1999 
Filed Under CNET, Julian

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Internet relay chat (IRC) network administrators Undernet.org have rejected an offer by local Internet service provider TMnet to host a local server for the global IRC network as a means to end abuse by its users.

The rejection was the seventh application by the ISP which failed to meet the network’s minimum requirements.

“TMnet has neither the bandwidth nor the machine resources. We also denied them previously for incomplete applications and insufficient information, in addition to the issue of high volume of abuse by its customers,” said Angel Moss, a North American Abuse Coordinator for the Undernet.org.

TMnet made the offer this week after its customers were globally banned on Aug 15 along with users of Jaring, the other local ISP, for continual abuse of the Undernet’s network and resources.

Moss indicated that the proposal by telco Telekom Malaysia, the owners of TMnet, to host its own Undernet server would not resolve the problem of abuse management.

“Owning and running an IRC server really has nothing to do with the ability of a service provider to monitor the behavior of their customers or take action against the trouble makers,” said Moss.

Moss said an ISP could not monitor non-IRC traffic such as Wingate or Socks Version 5 proxy server misuse via an IRC server. Wingate software, which allows the “sharing” of a single Internet connection by multiple users, and the use of proxy servers were identified as sources for the abuse and denial of service attacks.

“This traffic passes through different protocol layers that have nothing at all to do with IRC. In fact it can only be monitored by the ISP from within their own network and routers.”

Moss said, however, TMnet was welcomed to re-apply for an Undernet server when it met or exceeded the network’s minimum criteria.

The Undernet.org also described as “inadequate” TMnet’s claim that it already had an abuse management system in place and would take action on errant customers.

“The Undernet will only consider lowering the global bans against .tm.net.my IP space after a firm commitment to abuse management has been established,” said Moss.

The ban on TMnet users is still in place, pending decision on an appeal submitted on Monday.

Moss said the Undernet.org was also compiling the most recent logs of its automatic global ban (AGL) system and will forward those to the ISP as evidence of the extensive amount of abuse that is taking place by users of TMnet.

The independently-run Undernet has 41 servers worldwide and services 200,000 users daily, with an average of 30,000 at any one time.

Undernet.org imposed the ban because it claimed Malaysian ISPs’ administrators were non-responsive to repeated complaints of abuse by its users for years.

The .my domain was branded as the “most abusive in the world” for a spate of abuses such as flooding chat rooms with multiple messages, running robot programs and denial of service attacks. Malaysian users have also been repeatedly banned from two other major IRC networks–DALNet and EFnet for similar abuses.

The ban on users of Jaring originating from jaring.my IP address was lifted last weekend after it contacted the Undernet.org and agreed to enforce strict abuse management policies.

The abuse from Jaring users, however, has not abated. “Abuse doesn’t disappear overnight. We are providing daily reports now to Jaring administrators and they are working diligently to track down the trouble-makers and handle the situation as appropriate with their policies,” said Moss.

Moss said it may take up to a month before it can be gauged whether the abuse management policy is working and whether alterations need to be made.

“The most important thing is they contacted us immediately, and are trying very hard to deal with the problem now. Only time will tell the outcome though,” said Moss.

Undernet.org has also received an offer–which it forwarded to TMnet–from, Internet Chat Systems Inc to help TMnet set up its own chat server that could be used as an alternative.

“These servers would not be connected to the Undernet or any other major IRC network as Malaysia does not have the bandwidth resources,” said Danny Mitchell, a representative of the company.

Mitchell said the Malaysian ISPs would be responsible for allowing or controlling whatever rules they decide upon for the proposed server. “This would allow Malaysian chatters a place to chat and hopefully give them a sense of national pride from owning their own server,” he said.

The company has set up a similar national chat network called vietchat.com for the Vietnamese Internet community.

Internet Chat Systems are the authors of many of the Undernet’s user services.

Published in CNET Asia, Aug 26, 1999

University hackers identified as chat abuse culprits, Sept 16, 1999
Malaysia’s TMnet delivers ultimatum to abusers, Sept 08, 1999
Malaysia’s TMnet users permanently banned, Sept 07, 1999
Malaysian ISP Jaring to scan users following abuse, Sept 01, 1999
Malaysia’s TMnet appeals to lift chat network ban, Aug 23, 1999
Malaysia domain the ‘most abusive’ in the world for chatting, Aug 20, 1999
Major chat network bans all Malaysian users, Aug 18, 1999

by Julian Matthews, Malaysian correspondent


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