Hackers Get Free Internet Access Free of Ads

SYDNEY (01/24/2000) - Free ISP (Internet service provider) Globalfreeway has dismissed reports that unregistered users can access its Internet service without viewing the revenue-generatingadvertisements.

Globalfreeway is an ISP which provides Internet access and services to registered users free of charge. The company makes its money through advertising.

"Black Hand", the handle of a member of the hacker advocate group 2600 Australia, alerted PC World to a security breach caused by what he claims is "poor programming" in the company's scripts used to sign up subscribers for the service.

2600 discovered a page on the Web site which enables users to bypass the required registration and set-up established by Globalfreeway, Black Hand said.

Subscribers to Globalfreeway normally need a registration CD-ROM to install software on the computer which displays the advertising banners.

"Using the methods I've outlined, you can create an account and connect to Globalfreeway and obtain unlimited/unrestricted access to the Internet without advertising banners," Black Hand said.

Rakesh Kumar, Globalfreeway's managing director, admitted the company was aware of the problems but downplayed the impact of the breach. "There is nothing to fix," Kumar said. "Everything is safe and secure... we have in-house methods for protecting users."

Kumar refused to release details about the systems used by Globalfreeway, and said he was not worried about the customers or advertisers.

Globalfreeway launched its nationwide service last November and currently has 15,000 subscribers.

This week the ISP announced a strategic partnership with Yahoo Australia that will see the two companies launch a co-branded portal.

According to Black Hand, another 2600 member discovered a similar breach at rival free ISP FreeOnline last year.

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