[SURBL-Discuss] Re: [Mimedefang] Lycos Screensaver that attacks Spammers

Jeff Chan jeffc at surbl.org
Fri Dec 3 03:18:04 CET 2004

On Wednesday, December 1, 2004, 8:46:10 AM, David Skoll wrote:
> On Wed, 1 Dec 2004, Kevin A. McGrail wrote:

>> Below is an interesting article from The Washington Post where it details a
>> new screensaver from Lycos.  The screensaver visits websites while your
>> computer is idle that are referenced in SPAM and make it to a bad spammers
>> list.  This is done in an attempt to limit the website ability to server
>> traffic efficiently by causing extra traffic.

> This is a very bad idea for a number of reasons:

> 1) In a lot of places, people's bandwidth is metered, so this will cost them
>    money.  (The people running the screensaver, I mean.)

> 2) Just on principle, I don't approve of software that causes this kind
>    of network traffic silently and in the background.

> 3) The potential for DoS'ing an innocent third-party is too great.

> 4) If spammers can commandeer huge armies of zombies to send spam, it's
>    not a big jump for them to install Web servers on the zombies so they
>    have a distributed network serving up their content that is resilient
>    against the Lycos attack.  (In fact, this is the logical next step to
>    counter SURBL.)

As long as they use a domain name in their spam URIs, which seems
likely even with distributed (stolen) web service, we've got them
covered with SURBLs.

> My anti-spam philosophy has always had as a basic principle: "First,
> do no harm."  I don't think the Lycos screensaver adheres to this
> principle.

I agree with your comments.  Bad idea.

Jeff C.
"If it appears in hams, then don't list it."

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