Do We Want Spam Software That Fights Back?

from the fighting-getting-nastier dept

It’s no secret that spammers are increasingly using dirty tricks to continue the spread of spam – while also doing their best to annoy anti-spam activists. They’ve been launching denial of service attacks on just about all anti-spam sites, and recently tricked a registrar into taking away SpamCop’s domain name. Some in the anti-spam world are sinking lower themselves and looking at ways to fight back by issuing automatic denial of service attacks against links in spam messages. There are a number of obvious problems with such a plan. First of all, it’s illegal. More importantly, though, many anti-spam offerings have been shown to be a little too quick on the trigger, leading to many legitimate messages getting tagged as spam – and folks being hosted on the same servers often found their own email blocked. What happens when a denial of service attack hits one of those servers? Even worse, the spammers will begin to look on this as a tool to do denial of service attacks on their own. They no longer need to infect machines with trojans. Just spam the website they want attacked and the anti-spam tools will do the work for them.

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Comments on “Do We Want Spam Software That Fights Back?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

You’ve commented that “…[dos back at spammers] is illegal”. This may be true if a single individual or (anti-spam) organization does it.

However, I’ve often thought the real solution to spam is a societal consensus to do the equivalient of DOS. Meaning, if they send out several million adds and actually only make money on 20 or 30, what happens to their profit model if even a few thousand of the others waste their time/resources? I personally would do this (waste their time) if I thought even a handfull of others would also do it.

Throughout the 50s, 60s, and most of the 70s, there were very, very few billboards along side highways in New Mexico. People would cut them down (even steel poled ones – every ranch has a welding rig). No one person cut down very many signs, but between all of us, billboards just couldn’t survive. While this tapered off in the 80s and forward (perhaps us NMicans got less onery?) it’s a great example of how just a percent or two of an offended population can make certain forms of advertising economically infeasable.

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