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TalkTalk follow its users around the 'net
Tuesday 27 July 2010 11:07:15 by John Hunt

Broadband provider TalkTalk are following its users around the Internet in a bid to develop a new anti-malware system. Dubbed StalkStalk by The Register, the company is using a system to collect every URL or web address that its users visit and then follows them to the site to scan it for malware threats. The first part of this system is compulsory, so users cannot chose not to have the sites they visit scanned. The data collected will in future be used to build a list of sites that can be blocked at the network level to avoid customers being infected by malicious websites.

The system came to light after users on TalkTalk's forums saw that they appeared to be stalked by two TalkTalk/Opal IP's. As people browse the web, TalkTalk's system collects the URL's and these are recorded and checked against a list of blacklisted sites known to carry malware and also a list of whitelisted sites that have been scanned and approved in the last 24hours. If the site doesn't appear on either list, the user is followed to the site and the page is scanned for malware.

Users may be concerned that this sounds similar to Phorm which some ISPs such as BT tested previously, however this system does not monitor or record who looks at what sites.

"Our scanning engines receive no knowledge about which users visited what sites (e.g. telephone number, account number, IP address), nor do they store any data for us to cross reference this back to our customers."

"We are not interested in who has visited which site - we are simply scanning a list of sites which our customers, as a whole internet community, have visited."

TalkTalk Statement

Customers are expected to be able to access the system in the second half of this year which will also include parental control features. It will be opt-in and will be available at no extra cost.

Comments

Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"Our scanning engines receive no knowledge about which users visited what sites (e.g. telephone number, account number, IP address), nor do they store any data for us to cross reference this back to our customers." - Oh that's fine then, we trust you.
Posted by UKNetizen over 6 years ago
What's the point of this when you can already opt in to smart screening features in your browser?
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
To avoid the snooping just use a VPN.

The government spies on everyones connection already (websites visited/email headers) or have you all forgotten that already?
Posted by Adrianuk over 6 years ago
Can they still do this if you change your DNS from the TalkTalk DNS?
Posted by zyborg47 over 6 years ago
Yes, the government can follow every single person on the net and if you believe that, you believe anything
This Talk Talk following is wrong and is Phorm Mark II but without the advertising.

DNS will make no difference, so even if you use say open DNS, they will still be able to follow you.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@zybord47

Not quite sure if you were being sarcastic or not so I've got these if you/anyone else wants to contest the thought that the government spies on us...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_data_retention#Home_Office_Voluntary_Code_of_Practice_on_Data_Retention

...and if you don't trust Wikipedia...

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/draft/5b.pdf
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, is developing classified technology to intercept and monitor all e-mails, website visits and social networking sessions in Britain. The agency will also be able to track telephone calls made over the internet, as well as all phone calls to land lines and mobiles"

GCHQ issued a denial next day, but it was well dodgy.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6211101.ece
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
Same subject, same day, same author, this time in The Register (with 102 comments):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/03/gchq_mti/
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ and with all that they are about to pull the plug on you lot hehe ;)
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
yet again they are monitoring us and proclaiming to protect us, are people really dumb enough to believe this line any more, if its not for our protection against terrorists, paedophiles & pirates the new kid on the block is malware!

And the spying push/erosion of our civil liberties continues!
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
time to encrypt everything ppl, so find your favourite method of tunnelling.

here's a free one to get you all started: https://www.torproject.org/
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