AT&T Mistakes Bitcoin Node Traffic for Malware
Telecom giant AT&T has been warning customers about a potential malware infection on their computer. Any internet service provider can monitor port traffic for the individual user, and the port used by Bitcoin software has been flagged as “malware infection” by the ISP.
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AT&T Actively Monitors Port 8333
It is always positive to see internet service providers pay close attention to potential threats their customers might be facing. With the number of Bitcoin ransomware and spyware attacks on the rise, providers who actively monitor which ports are being used for Internet traffic could be beneficial for less tech-savvy consumers.
However, these same ISPs need to be more careful when they start sending out potential malware infection reports, as in this case, AT&T has listed Bitcoin software as a potential threat. Or to be more precise, the provider has taken a particular interest in port 8333, which is used by Bitcoin software clients.
The message sent out to AT&T customers reads as follows:
AT&T has received information indicating that one or more devices using your Internet connection may be infected with malicious software. Internet traffic consistent with a malware infection was observed on <date> from the IP address *hidden*. Our records indicate that this IP address was assigned to you at this time. Infected computers are often used as part of a zombie computer network Botnets are networks of computers which have been infected with malware and placed under the control of a hacker or group of hackers. They are often used for attacks on websites, spamming, fraud, and distribution of additional malware.
It comes as no surprise to see ISPs monitoring this port in particular, though, as various users run a Bitcoin Node at home. These nodes are [usually] always connected to the Internet, constantly sending data through this port. In some cases, the bandwidth usage can exceed 200GB per month, which warrants providers such as AT&T to send out an alert to its users.
Although messages like these might be cause for concern among AT&T users not versed in the world of Bitcoin, there is nothing to be worried about. Anyone running the official Bitcoin software clients is safe from harm, and there is no malware attack taking place.
No ISP Conspiracy Against Bitcoin Users
Events like these will always shed a negative light on Bitcoin users, although that was not the intent of AT&T in this case. Internet service providers [should] take user security very seriously, and they want to prevent rather than cure. This email warning was not intended to be “against Bitcoin,” as similar messages would be sent out to users running any other type of software using a lot of bandwidth.
It is always best to err on the side of caution, and users who are not running Bitcoin software on this port may want to check their computer for a real malware infection. There is no conspiracy by internet service providers taking place against Bitcoin users, as they have no reason to do so.
What are your thoughts on this AT&T news? Have you ever received such a warning from your ISP? Let us know in the comments below!
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