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Zscaler offers lookup of abusive IP addresses

Better than simple IP blacklist

Cloud security company Zscaler is offering a web tool businesses can use to check whether their IP address is being used for spamming or DDoS attacks.

IPAbuseCheck offers a simple lookup which checks an IP address against Zscaler's database of 20,000 addresses detected by the company as having been used for abuse since the company started recording such attacks in July.

The service has some obvious limitations starting with the fact that it is only Zscaler's database of abusive IPs that addresses will be checked against; the database is only a few months old but its usefulness should increase with time. The company also admits there could be some false positives.

However, an advantage is that is that unlike some IP blacklists it can more reliably record the real IP address of the abusive PC or server before the traffic is hidden behind a proxy. Sometimes this can catch surprising victims that have had their own servers hijacked to act as open proxies.

"A server within one of Microsoft's "MICROSOFT-DYNAMIC-HOSTING" netblock's was attempting numerous abusive web transactions through our proxies," said Zscaler's senior security manager, Mike Geide "These abusive transactions were brute-force login attempts against file sharing sites like Rapidshare, Megaupload, and Hotfile."

The ulterior motive for IPAbuseCheck is to promote Zscaler's own cloud-based proxy service that the company promotes as being useful to anyone to impose security policies on that traffic.

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