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Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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I have had issues with my service provider, Insight, regarding

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I have had issues with my service provider, Insight, regarding more than two dozen open ports to the Internet. They are threatening to shut me down for 30 for service violation. I do not use a router, have a cable connection to a single computer and nothing wireless attached. I have been unable, with or without help, to shut down any of the open ports. The ports are numbered 25, 110, 135, 137, 138, 139, 443, 445, 593, 941, 995, 1080, 2024, 2689, 4559, 8000, 8082, 8443. Insight cannot explain what's going on in that Macs are not generally susceptible to botnet problems, and neither can anyone else. Help? Letter follows.

I think they are full of crap.

2 of those ports are email ports needed for email to go out and come in. Why they want them closed is beyond me.

There is no virus or botnet running on any Macs. Unless you have Parallels or VMWare Fusion or installed and use Boot Camp, none of those ports make any difference to them or the Internet.

I would keep pushing them. I have not been contacted by anyone at all before about having a Mac directly connected to the Internet and then being told they need to shut down ports. It's just stupid.

Keep asking them why they need to be closed. What traffic is being proven to come from your Mac? Especially 25 and 110. They are email ports - standard ports all over the world. No need for them to be closed or blocked.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tend to agree, but they hold the cards. I have added a copy of their email to this post. I'm good with your advice and will send payment, but I'm hoping you can take time to read this letter from from ISP . . .

Dear Insight Broadband Customer,

Insight monitors network usage and receives reports of issues which it acts upon to ensure that all Insight Broadband customers consistently receive the highest quality service available, as detailed in our Acceptable Use Policy.

As we have communicated to you before, your modem has been reported for violations of our Terms of Service.

Now that you know, we request your cooperation. Unsolicited Bulk E-mail places a burden on the network and is in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy (see sections x and xi.) which explains that you may not:

x. Transmit unsolicited bulk or commercial messages or "spam." This includes, but is not limited to, unsolicited advertising, promotional materials or other solicitation material; bulk mailing of commercial advertising, chain mail, informational announcements, charity requests, and petitions for signatures; The Service may be utilized for certain advertising by Small Business Customers if authorized by applicable law. The Customer is responsible for compliance with any laws, regulations or rules governing Customer's or authorized Users' use of the Service and/or the Insight Broadband Internet Service Equipment;

xi. Send numerous copies of the same or substantially similar messages, empty messages, or messages which contain no substantive content, or send very large messages or files to a recipient that disrupts a server, account, newsgroup, or chat service; or otherwise disrupts or interferes with the Service bandwidth, data storage or other Service features;

Currently you have been blocked for SPAM 3 times and if you are blocked a 4th time, your service will be suspended for 30 days. Please address this issue to avoid interruption of your Insight Broadband service.

During this 30 day period, you will not be charged for the service and you will not be able to use your service. If you are flagged a 5th time, your Internet services will be terminated with Insight.

What is Spam?

Spam is the common term for junk e-mail or unwanted messages sent to one’s e-mail account.

Click here to learn more!

Why is my computer sending out SPAM?

When a customer’s account is found to be sending out SPAM it is almost always caused by a Botnet.

What is a Botnet?

A Botnet is a program that is installed on your computer without your knowledge which continually sends out information over the PCs internet connection. The information gets sent out in the form of SPAM e-mails. The Botnet sends the e-mails directly, so you do not even need to have a mail program setup on your PC prior to getting infected by the Botnet.

How do I remove a Botnet?

Unfortunately, standard anti-virus programs will not detect or get rid of this infection. There are only 2 ways to completely remove a Botnet. First, you can take your PC to a PC repair shop and they can clean your PC. The second way is to reformat your PC, which means completely deleting all programs off of your PC and reinstalling Windows.

How did I get the Botnet?

There are a few ways that you can get an infection of this sort. First, using Peer to Peer programs. While using Peer to Peer programs are ok, there are several people who purposefully upload viruses and disguise them as legitimate downloads on these programs and so it is very easy to contract a virus from the use of these programs. Be sure to scan all downloaded files with a virus scanner when using Peer to Peer clients, however be advised that it will not catch 100% of the viruses downloaded. Secondly, e-mails are used to spread viruses. Please do not click on any links or attachments from a sender you do not know. Also, if it looks suspicious, even if it comes from recognized address, do not open it without first consulting the sender. Finally, several social networking websites, such as My Space and Facebook, have viruses on them. Do not go to any person’s webpage if you do not know them. Also, be very careful about which applets you install on your own page.

How can I tell if I’ve been infected before I get flagged?

There are a few ways to tell that you have been infected before you get flagged for sending out SPAM. First, if you have an anti-virus program that includes an e-mail scanner, you may notice that it says it is scanning outgoing e-mails even when you are not sending out e-mails. This is a clear indicator that your PC has been hacked by a Botnet. In such an instance, disconnect your PC from the Internet immediately and take steps to remove the virus. Other signs that you may have been infected include slow browsing speeds on your internet and slow processing speeds on your computer. Slow browsing is indicated by the amount of time that elapses between the time you type in a web page and the time it pulls up the web page. Slow processing is indicated by the amount of time that elapses between you clicking on a program, such as Internet Explorer, a game or Microsoft Word, and the time it actually opens the program.

Stay Informed!
Learn more about Internet security and how to best protect your PC from online threats. The following links provide a wealth of information including a glossary of the more common Internet security terms, troubleshooting tips, how to report Internet abuses and much more.
They are complaining about SPAM. Not ports.

How much email do you send out? If not much, then we need to see what is going on in that Mac.

If you are sending out a lot of email, they will consider it spam if it crosses a threshold they have set for your account.

I would stay on Email/SPAM thing here. They are pretty specific about that. If you use this as a business and send lots of emails or send emails to many CC and BCC recipients, they will flag that.

It still puts it back on them. Ask them specifically what and how much email is too much? When did this latest violation happen? Get exact dates/times so you can look in your email client and match them up.

If they will not give details, then tell them they have nothing to complain about if they cannot prove what they are charging. They should have no issues giving you specific dates/times.

Mike and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks. I never use that email account (I have a private one for myself) and my wife sends maybe a couple emails a day on the INSIGHT account. The letter and the conversation with their techs do differ in the use of Spam and ports (the tech never mentioned Spam). We do get quite a bit of Spam. Filter it out, but new shit just keeps popping in. But never forward. I'll follow your advice and go 'round with the ISP. LMK if there's anything else you can do for further payment. Thanks for the quick reply.


It is not just their email account. It is the use of those ports for email. Not incoming, they don't care about that.

It is outgoing, through any provider, and service. If you send an email, it will be reflected in your port usage stats. That is what they are after. They say the email is over the limit of what you are allowed to do.

I would still go after them and get more details on what it is, for the 4th time according to the email, that you are doing/did and when it precisely happened.