Lycos Starts Anti-spam DDoS Campaign

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Makosuke, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Ok, this is an interesting one: Ol' Lycos has apparently developed a screen-saver based system that will launch DDoS attacks against websites known to spam:

    The system, as the article describes it, is actually more of a targeted Slashdot effect than a DDoS. Each screen saver checks in with the Lycos server to find out which site (apparently hand-picked to eliminate collateral damage) to pick on, then starts sending HTTP requests to the site periodically. Their system monitors the performance of the sites to make sure they specifically DON'T go down, merely run slow as a result of massive traffic.

    The theory is that the bandwidth costs will make it economically unviable to spam people--if you make less per month than your site costs to run, there's no point in it. They've also worked at making the useage low so as not to bog down the net, only requesting 4MB of data per day per user.

    I'm not so sure it's an ethical idea, and I'm also not so sure it'll work unless they went for full DDoS and completely shut the sites down, but for semi-legit spam (that is, spam advertising something like a gambling or porn website as opposed to phishing or whatever) it could actually work, since those people might acutally pay hosting bills instead of just using hacked servers.

    In either case, as much as it sounds like a bad idea, I'd LOVE to see it work. Burn, spammers, burn!
  2. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Mar 19, 2004
    A series of tubes
  3. OryHara macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2004
    San Bruno, CA
    If lycos could come up with a better spam blocker then maybe they wouldnt need to do this. :p

    but seriously, my lycos imbox is almost compleetly boged down with spam :mad:

    edit: but will it work on mac
  4. cheekyspanky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2004
    South Bucks, UK
    Mac OS X and 9 versions available.

    Only slight problem with it at the moment is all the spammers/hackers seem to be turning their attention to taking down the site - hasn't been accessible for quite some time now!

    I've been using it for the last two days and i left the screensaver running for around 7 hours and it only used 500kb so each individual user doesn't contribute much but as a collective...!

    Interesting to see how it all goes down
  5. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001
    Doesn't work for me. Hangs whenever I try to test it.
  6. zarathustra macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2002
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don't like this at all. While I wish all spammers would get their nuts caught in a closing door, resorting to criminal activity doesn't pay off.

    Lycos only suspects someone of spamming so they spam them. It's like I am suspecting my neighbor of stealing my paper, so I start stealing his mail. I smell a lawsuit coming.
  7. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I'm with you that this sounds like it's legally questionable and of dubious value, but it's usually VERY easy to spot an illegal spam website:

    a) If the site is selling illegal products (Viagra without a prescription, etc), then it doesn't really matter what you do to id.

    b) If the site is advertised via unsolicited spam without a "remove from list" link, it's already illegal in many areas.

    c) If the site has a "remove from list" page that doesn't work, it's illegal in many areas.

    d) If the advertising messages use inaccurate headers, it is illegal in some areas, and sleazy at the very least in others.

    e) If the site hosts web bugs or other semi-legal tracking devices embedded in the email message, it's highly likely to be a shady operation.

    And although a site could, theoretically, be falsely targeted by somebody advertising it with spam (though c and e preclude that possibility), that's rare at best and since the target list is human-decided, it'd be pretty obvious if the targeted site wasn't gambling, porn, or drug related.

    Besides, with the volume of e-mail traffic Lycos must see go through their servers, I expect they have a VERY good idea of who sends most of the spam and where it points.
  8. Peyote macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2002
    Don't worry about it folks. This is just a calculated marketing move to get people to their site and advertisers. There's now way that they think they can legally do this and get away with it for any length of time. The only mistake they made was not having better protection. However I wholeheartedly believe that this was just a ploy to get their name back on the news sites.
  9. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    i tried the screen saver but now its not working . i guess the legals have come in!

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