Free ISP Globalfreeway has dismissed reports that unregistered users can access its Internet service without viewing the revenue-generating advertisements.
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 PCWorld 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 Website 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 to install software on the computer which displays the advertising banners.
Black Hand said: "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."
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 they 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.