Can You Slow Spammers Down?

from the gotta-keep-trying dept

Yet another anti-spam company is making news for their slightly different take on how to stop spam. The company, TurnTide, is offering a router for ISPs that watches over email traffic, and if the traffic is consistent with that of spam, the system slows down the traffic to a crawl, making spamming less lucrative, in theory. This is, basically, a more commercial means of offering a greylisting solution. The company, which showed up with a new $1 million in funding today at DEMO 2004, claims they have no competitors – but that (as always) is untrue (and whoever invested in them needs to tell them that). My guess, though, is that it won’t take spammers too long to figure out ways to get around this sort of blocking maneuver. At their own end, they’ll simply find spam-sympathetic ISPs (as they do now) that would never use such a system. Then, they’ll probably just hijack more machines and have them each send out limited amounts of email to trick the system into believing they’re legitimate.

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Comments on “Can You Slow Spammers Down?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The only solution

Is to remove the spammers via suing them out of existance.

You must be willing to take them to court and sue them.

You must be willing to withstand a ‘prepetual’ DOS.

At the moment, I can’t withstand the DOS. But I want to. I can ‘afford’ to structure my ‘site’ to the US and the US only. The Pro SE cost of a federal lawsuit is only $150, so that is “affordable”. But I do not have the code written to set up the ‘contract framework’.

(I need to become ‘known’ with the NANOG crowd)

Realistically, no one wants to be a target of thugs. It takes a special kind of person who is willing to take body blows of thugs to effect change. Most people are unwilling to do that. Until you have 100’s, if not 1000’s or 10,000’s who are willing will the spammers be put out of business.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Mike, there is no magic bullet, so stop dissing any technology that doesn’t achieve magic bullet status.

This could help. At the margin, you’d prefer your ISP to use this kind of throttling. ISPs who worry about bandwidth costs (hmmm, all of them), will think about using this to help lower their bandwidth costs.

If this kind of throttling also allowed authenticated email to never be delayed, you’ve got incentive for people to start using authentication (more): send a friend an email and if their ISP is throttling spam, your friend may not get it quickly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Apparently, yes, they can...

The TurnTide anti-spam router has absolutely nothing in common with greylisting. All spammers have to do to circumvent greylisting is to configure their software to connect to an ISP more than once. Unfortunately for them, it is not nearly so easy to circumvent this system. The only way I can think of is to send spam to ISPs that are not using it.

This company has no real competitors at this time, since no one else attacks the problem TCP/IP layer (as opposed to the SMTP layer) and no one else looks at a path’s whole behavioral history over time (not just the current message). All the other products are focused on SMTP-level filtering on a message-by-message basis. In this, their claim of uniqueness is well founded. It might not stay that way, but it was still true at the time. Truely, they do have competitors in the anti-spam market, but this solution is definitely different than anything else out there.

As well, had you actually read about the product, you might have seen that spammers cannot “get around” it, as you purport. The router’s effectiveness has nothing to do with which ISP the SPAMMER has chosen. If they are sending spam to an ISP that _USES_ a TurnTide router, they will be subject to the throttling, whether they like it or not (and they surely will not ;-). Therefore, any ISP that uses a TurnTide anti-spam router will save resources by not having to host tons of spam, because it will be backed up on the SPAMMERS OWN SERVER’S, via the use of TCP traffic shaping. The primary selling point, as I see it, of the TurnTide router is to reduce the cost of spam for ISPs and enterprises. Putting spammers out of business looks like a nice side effect ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can get all that information from the technical white paper, which you clearly didn’t bother to read. Next time you decide to pan a thing, try understanding it first. Meanwhile, I’ll be watching NASDAQ for TurnTide’s IPO. ๐Ÿ™‚

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