CRTC serves first warrant under anti-spam law, targets malware-spreading server

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has served its first-ever warrant under anti-spam legislation that went into effect last year. 

A Toronto server was the target of the first-ever warrant served through Canada's anti-spam law | Photo: Shutterstock

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has served its first-ever warrant under anti-spam legislation that went into effect last year.

The warrant targeted a Toronto-based server responsible for distributing Win32/Dorkbot malware that has infected up to 1 million computers in more than 190 countries, the CRTC alleged in a December 3 announcement.

The Win32/Dorkbot malware can steal passwords as well as initiate distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks causing other servers to crash.

The publicly funded agency worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Interpol and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the investigation.

The warrant was carried out with assistance from Mounties on Thursday.

In its announcement, the agency said it would not comment further on the investigation or name anyone involved in the investigation.

But in an email to Business In Vancouver, a CRTC spokeswoman said the warrant did not target any individuals associated with the server.

Instead, the warrant allowed investigators to retrieve information from the server to determine if it complied with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and "obtain the assistance of persons in charge at the place in the execution of the warrant."

An RCMP media relations officer in Ottawa declined to comment on the investigation, referring BIV back to the CRTC for more details.

CASL went into effect in July 2014.

Since then, the CRTC has penalized companies like Rogers (TSX:RCI.A), Vancouver-based online dating service PlentyOfFish and Toronto’s Porter Airlines through CASL with fines ranging from $48,000 to $200,000.

The only other company targeted under CASL, Quebec-based Compu-Finder, was fined $1.1 million.

torton@biv.com

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