[ISN] Lycos screensaver to blitz spam servers

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon Nov 29 01:59:52 EST 2004


By Jan Libbenga
26th November 2004 

Lycos Europe has started to distribute a special screensaver [1] in a
controversial bid to battle spam. The program - titled Make Love Not
Spam, and available for Windows and the Mac OS - sends a request to
view a spam source site. When a large number of screensavers send
their requests at the same time the spam web page becomes overloaded
and slow.

The servers targeted by the screensaver have been manually selected 
from various sources, including Spamcop, and verified to be spam 
advertising sites, Lycos claims. Several tests are performed to make 
sure that no server stops working. Flooding a server with requests so 
that the server is unable to respond to the volume of requests made - 
a process known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack - is 
considered to be illegal.

Lycos believes the program will eventually hurt spammers. 
'Spamvirtised' sites typically don't sell advertising, so they have to 
pay for bandwidth. Therefore more requests means higher bills, Lycos 

A spokesman for Lycos in Germany told The Register he believed that 
the tool could generate 3.4MB in traffic on a daily basis. When 10m 
screensavers are downloaded and used, the numbers quickly add up, to 
33TB of 'useless' IP traffic. Seems Lycos may hurt not just spammers. 

[1] http://makelovenotspam.com/intl

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