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Attacking the Spammer Business Model

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the a-spammer-in-the-gears dept.

Spam 655

Stephen Samuel asks: "Spammers spam because it's an 'easy way to make money'. They send out millions of spams knowing that 99.995% of them will be ignored, but the other 0.005% of responses are pure gold (Andrew Leung at Telus has an excellent report on the economics of spam). Responses to mortage spams are reportedly worth $50.00 each. What would happen if, instead of technical and legal approaches, we simply started attacking their business model? If people started responding to just 1% of the spam we received, spammers would drown in the responses, and the mortage spam responses wouldn't be worth an email, much less $50. The Nigerian Sweet Revenge is an example of this. The nice thing about this sort of statistical approach is that it would start to reward spammers for sending out -fewer- emails. (fewer emails -> fewer bogus responses). What other ways can people think of to attack the spammer business models, and what are the expected downsides of such approaches?" Of course, the one major drawback to this is the likelihood of more spam, since you'll be giving them a valid email address. However, many of you may be receiving increasing amount of spam as it is (even through your filters) so might an organized spam-the-spammers movement work?

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GNAA Business Model (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497874)

1. Post GNAA on slashdot.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Darl here, with another fine Fr1st P0st. After all -- SCO did everything first, and the rest of the responses to this story will owe their heritage to a foundation built on SCO's staff of talented programmers.

You may be wondering why SCO salesmen are not answering your numerous calls while you try to order more SCO licenses. Well, we aren't answering the phones because we're too busy celebrating our newest business partner. Rather than explaining it myself, I'll let our formal press release do the talking. Take it away, Mr. Reuters...

LINDON, Utah, Sept. 8/PRNewswire - FirstCall/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com]), the owner and licensor of the core UNIX operating system source code, today announced its second Fortune 500 clent for the SCO Linux IP license, the GNAA (Nasdaq: RHAT [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com]), developer of fine Slashdot trolls on irc.efnet.net #GNAA, also well-known for revolutionizing small business development with its "Step 2: ??????" profit model. The availability of the SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux affords Linux deployments to come into compliance with international law for the use of all 2.4 and future kernels. The run-time license permits the use of SCO's intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions.

By purchasing a SCO Intellectual Property License, customers avoid infringement of SCO's intellectual property rights in Linux 2.4 and Linux 2.5 kernels and assure Darl financial security for the purchase of his second home. Because the SCO license authorizes run-time use only, customers also comply with the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. Source may still be distributed under the terms of the GPL, however source distributors are held accountable for all violation of SCO's IP. Indemnification is provided for customers of runtime clients only. Read that twice, dirty hippy. You're not in the clear yet.

GNAA spokesperson penisbird said of the licensure, "coming into compliance affords us a new competitive advantage with the other Slashdot authors. By being in the right, we can thumb down our noses at not only the Windows users and the BSD-thieving Mac Users, but also the unwashed Linux hippies running stolen code on their parents' PCs." VP of anus enlargement goat-see added, "fr1st p0st? damn i miss. how do i next story?"

Mr. Darl McBride concurred with GNAA's analysis, adding "We soon hope to convince additional clients such as Trollklore and Cabal of Logged In Trolls of the benefits of licensing SCO's valuable IP. Also, I <3 GNAA bunny. (@.@)" JesuitX clarified the nature of the SCO and GNAA alliance, adding "We're more than just a licensing client. We're also going to be helping to bring these other potential licensors into compliance. We can break them in little by little as paying sublicensors. The alternative is pretty horrible. Our lawyers can take a reticent client from virgin to hello.jpg [figure 2 [yahoo.com]] in under an hour, and believe me -- it is not pleasant." freetibet was recorded saying, "I read Slashdot just for GNAA posts".

Commander Taco was unavailable for comment, however Cowboy Kneel was said to ask for a print of [figure 2] for his basement apartment. Simoniker remained British and unable to spell "color," while Timothy responded by posting the same story six times, and Hemos reposted a seventh time, the submission differing only from his application of that damned Einstein icon.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

________________________________________________
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ |
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

GAY-O (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497879)

GAY-O
By The WIPO Avenger [slashdot.org], 2003-10-18 18:30
(To the tune of Day-O by Harry Belafonte)

Gay-o, gay-ay-ay-o!
Hemos cum when they suck his bone!
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o!
Michael cum when they suck his bone!

Suck all night on CowboiKneel's bum! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Suck Cliff's cock 'til the morning come! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)

A beautiful bunch o' balls on Pater! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
He likes to play the game "Hide the Hamster"! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)

Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

GAY-O! Gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

-- The WIPO Avenger [slashdot.org]


Google it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497882)

I wish people would ask Google before asking Slashdot. There is a lot of info out there on this subject. This [google.com] should get you started.

Good luck.

Richest spammers could afford to handle replies (5, Insightful)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497884)

The top 1% of spammers who can afford the bandwidth and the hardware could still theoretically handle the volumes of email they would receive. Then they just have to expand their operations to go after the potential business contacts.

Now what about sending them bogus email addresses and phony information? That would send them on a wild goose chase.

Re:Richest spammers could afford to handle replies (5, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497941)

It isn't about bandwidth. This plan is to make the flood of loan referrals, or whatever, have lower value. If the only people who respond to loan spams are people searching for loans then each one has a good chance of being a customer. But if there are a thousand bogus loan seekers then there are suddenly less real customers and the loan companies will not want to pay very much to chase bad leads. At least, that seems to be the idea here.

Re:Richest spammers could afford to handle replies (1, Informative)

spence2680 (667507) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498046)

The only problem I see with this is that most spam is not designed to be replied via email. In most situations, spammers rely on people going to a website that they have setup.

Re:Richest spammers could afford to handle replies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498091)

We could smear poopy on their webservers; get a nice big turd on the CPU and that sucker will cook, and the poop vapors will repel all!

Re:Richest spammers could afford to handle replies (4, Funny)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498118)

"Now what about sending them bogus email addresses and phony information?"

Reply with the the email addreses of other spammers :-)

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497885)

First post!!

This is actually a GOOD thing. (3, Funny)

Mirk (184717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497888)

This is actually a good thing.

Why? Sheesh, I don't know, but whatever story gets posted here, someone always claims it's a good thing, so I figured it might just as well be me this time.

Easy! (0, Troll)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497890)

"What other ways can people think of to attack the spammer business models, and what are the expected downsides of such approaches?"

Break their fucking legs, and arrest.

Re:Easy! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497956)

> > "What other ways can people think of to attack the spammer business models, and what are the expected downsides of such approaches?"
>
> Break their fucking legs, and arrest.

You didn't completely answer the question.

"Break their fucking legs, and arrest them. I see no downside to this approach."

There, that's more like it.

Re:Easy! (0)

lowmagnet (646428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498007)

No, he said break their fucking legs and arrest. The arrest can be cardiac, if you prefer. I suggest injecting pure nicotine into their bloodstream.

Legs no, fingers yes (2, Funny)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498095)

What other ways can people think of to attack the spammer business models

A spammer can still spam with broken legs, and possibly get out of an arrest. Typing with broken fingers, well... at least they'll be off spamming for awhile until they can toe-type.

Bogus spams? (4, Interesting)

cravey (414235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497892)

Sorry, I don't think it will work. 90% of my spams are either gibberish or are otherwise not selling anything. Passages from shakespeare and the like or blank emails are pretty common for me these days.

Re:Bogus spams? (5, Insightful)

Rascally (89279) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497922)

Those are usually just spams sent out to verify valid email address and filter out bounces, etc so they have a "cleaner" (I use that term in a very loose fashion) list to use for their actual "real" spamming operation.

Re:Bogus spams? (1)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497961)

While most of the "spam" I get nowadays is sent by fast spreading Microsoft worms, these empty or seemingly "useless" spam messages are something I wondered about as well. Who sends them and whatfor? I just don't get the motivation to waste your time/resources to send empty messages.. does anything have any insights to offer? - Thanks!

Re:Bogus spams? (1)

Fancia (710007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498015)

I got the Odyssey recently, combined with bits of the financial section from their local newspaper. Spam just keeps getting stranger and stranger...

Re:Bogus spams? (5, Interesting)

cravey (414235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498025)

My belief is that they are sent for possibly two reasons.

1) Verify that the email address is deliverable. It makes no sense to keep a bad email address in your database of spam targets.

2) Seed statistical spam filters with bogus data.

I've been really happy with bogofilter on my IMAP server. Once I got the bus worked out of my scripts, it's running about 98% accuracy with zero good emails getting filtered as spam.

Re:Bogus spams? (4, Interesting)

sfe_software (220870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498034)

Who sends them and whatfor?

I don't know about everyone else, but a good portion of the seemingly blank SPAM I receive are actually HTML email with no text version. I told Mozilla mail to never, ever display HTML email (and can't figure out how I did it, to replicate on my laptop!) If I look at the email in a text editor, I realize that it's full of either HTML or Base64-encoded text/html.

Mozilla Mail does properly convert normal HTML mail to text, even when a text version isn't included -- so obviously whatever tool the spammers use to compose their messages is non-compliant in some way (I haven't been bothered enough to figure out what exactly they are doing wrong).

I do quite often get other messages that appear to be just junk, or possibly Chinese/Korean characters (the majority simply look like binary data)... those I haven't figured out yet.

Re:Bogus spams? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498039)

While most of the "spam" I get nowadays is sent by fast spreading Microsoft worms

Please, spare us the anti-Microsoft fabricated bullshit stories and stick to the topic.

Re:Bogus spams? (1)

Ricin (236107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498117)

What cravey said, plus: (perhaps lower profile) virusses failing or half working or testing for the next version. The spam and the email related viruses are clearly connected to some degree.

fr1st ps0t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497894)

w00t!!!!!

Ironic, don't you think? (4, Insightful)

The Munger (695154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497898)

They work by flooding us with crap, hoping that they get one in a million to answer. We could fight them by flooding them so they have to look through a million emails to find the one legit order. Hmmm...

Sorting through a pile of junk to get the stuff you're looking for. Sound familiar email junkies?

Re:Ironic, don't you think? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498014)

Good idea! We can flood them with crap. Everyone, start saving your feces in a jar, and send them to me. On the 17th of December, we'll deliver the poopy to their front doors!

automated replies / anon remailers (5, Interesting)

dynamo (6127) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497900)

what if we sent all the replies through anonymous remailers set up specifically for the task, or even better, had a system that you could foreward all your spam to that would do the replying for you - from an address that would send a random spam back in reply to anything you send it - you would literally spam the spammers.

Re:automated replies / anon remailers (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498029)

Even better: We write a bunch of viruses to take over underprotected computers. Then we use those computers to respond, en masse, to spammers' solicitations...

Hmmmm. I started out trying to be funny, but if we really want to turn the tables... Anyone know someone in the Russian Mob?

The Best Way to Attack Spammers (2, Insightful)

Qweezle (681365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497902)

The best way to get at these spammers, is not to use a spam filter, because even the best aren't always reliable.

What you should do if you are serious about getting on the nerves of some spammers is create an extra e-mail address for yourself that you send responses to spammers with, and get replies(maybe) in. Eventually, you could take all of those spam messages in that email box to a judge somewhere and win yourself a considerable amount at the pocket of a crass spammer somewhere.

So long as we can outthink them, we can win. :-)

Re:The Best Way to Attack Spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497945)

What you should do if you are serious about getting on the nerves of some spammers is create an extra e-mail address for yourself that you send responses to spammers with, and get replies(maybe) in

No one will do this for the same reason most people stopped tracking down the isp and mailing them about abuse: It started to take too much time.

Re:The Best Way to Attack Spammers (3, Interesting)

Catharz (223736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497953)

You could always do what I do.

Add all the spammers to an e-mail list and automatically forward any spam I get (using an address I use only for this purpose) to everyone on that list.

Re:The Best Way to Attack Spammers (5, Informative)

sfe_software (220870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498086)

You could always do what I do.

Add all the spammers to an e-mail list and automatically forward any spam I get (using an address I use only for this purpose) to everyone on that list.


Having recently been a victim of having my addresses spoofed by spammers, I don't think this is a good idea. Only if the SPAM actually says to reply for more information (or to make a purchase) would this work; in other words, only if you have a reason to believe that the address is in fact going to reach the spammer.

The majority of SPAM I get does not come from a valid email address, but instead includes a URL to visit or a telephone number to call. Thus, forwarding SPAM to the From/Reply address will either just bounce, or worse, go to the unsuspecting person who's address was inappropriately used.

I know that often the spammers just use a random address from their list as the From/Reply-To, but for a couple of weeks I was the proud recipient of many thousands of bounced SPAM messages, to the extent that I had to temporarily /dev/null my Postmaster alias (violating RFCs of course).

in the short run... (4, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497910)

Well, in the short run, loan referrals are STILL worth $50, so spamming a spammer who is doing that will result in an insane windfall for said spammer. And if the reverse attack isn't sustained... well, it just pays for a new boat and house in Tuscany for the spammer. Then it's back to spamming as usual. I vote against this plan unless you guarantee you can sustain it.

Re:in the short run... (4, Insightful)

Stormie (708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497935)

How long will people pay spammers $50 a referral once it becomes clear that 99% of said referrals are for non-existent names and addresses?

Re:in the short run... (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498030)

Well, 1% of millions is tens of thousands. Tens of thousands times $50 each is a nice house in Tuscany. Realise that it's an automated near-instant process for the spammer to submit leads and days/weeks/months of worker-hours of doing followups to discover there's a lot of bad leads. Each individual would-be loan closer is going to think he/she is just having a bad week until a supervisor or other higher-up connects the dots and realises the spammer submitted a bad lot.

Re:in the short run... (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497989)

Well, you could respond to spam, they get the referral fee, but you find out who got the spammer to send the spam, and then publicize the shit out of them in an effort to put them out of business.

If you put the people that support spam out of business, they won't be hiring spammers, and people who see what's going on won't either...?

Just a thought.

Re:in the short run... (1, Interesting)

geeklawyer (85727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498028)

Well, in the short run, loan referrals are STILL worth $50, so spamming a spammer who is doing that will result in an insane windfall for said spammer. And if the reverse attack isn't sustained... well, it just pays for a new boat and house in Tuscany for the spammer.

You could tell the mortgage company what you are doing: "I'm wasting your time because you employ spammers to waste mine. I never had any intention of dealing with a company employing spammers."

That would have the plus of losing them money since a .0005% response rate can be handled by 10-20 staff, say, but if the response rate goes up to 1% they either have to employ lots more people to filter the crap or retain the same staff numbers and let the few legitimate sales leads be buried in noise, or suffer huge backlogs.

It really is a reverse DDoS attack. Might work. Worth a try if everyone does it.

My spam is better then your spam (3, Informative)

mvpll (542255) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497919)

This works fine for spam that requires a valid return address, but what about all the spam that is just trying to get you to visit a website. Replying to such a spam just gets you a bounce message.

Does this mean I now have to read all my spam to decide which I should reply to and which I should ignore???

Re:My spam is better then your spam (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497994)

You could pick one or two spams to read a day and attack them if they are selling something.

As for giving them a valid email address..... (2, Informative)

Dark Nexus (172808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497921)

Somebody suggested this in another /. article talking about spam: For those of us with our own mail server, just create a unique email address to respond with.

Once you're done messing with them, just kill the address. Not exactly a foolproof solution, but I don't see why it wouldn't work most of the time.

Re:As for giving them a valid email address..... (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497981)

That works great for spammers who send to real, or what they hope are real, addresses. Some spam to 000000@domain through zzzzzzzz@domain. These are the truly evil bandwidth suckers, if there are degrees of spammers.

Filters that fight back... (5, Informative)

RevJim (564784) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497924)

Paul Graham wrote an article about this regarding spam filters that fight back. If everyone installs a spam filter that detects spam and then automatically crawls any links listed in the spam, it would bring their web servers to their knees.

Here's a link to the article.

http://www.paulgraham.com/ffb.html

Re:Filters that fight back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497966)

I'm sure that their webservers run on something faster than a DSL

Re:Filters that fight back... (1)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498066)

I'm sure that their webservers run on something faster than a DSL
Oftentimes it's just that - compromised cable/DSL machines acting as either the web servers, reverse proxies to the "hidden master" web server, or DNS for a hidden master.

Re:Filters that fight back... (4, Funny)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498032)

automatically crawls any links listed...bring their web servers to their knees

Oh, the Slashdot business model!

Re:Filters that fight back... (1)

ChrisJones (23624) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498035)

mmm, that's a very neat idea. You could fill forms with random junk and submit them if you had the filter set on "properly evil" ;)

I do wonder if it might be straying into legal definitions of DoS and the like?

Re:Filters that fight back... (1)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498063)

Just take a look [yonderway.com] at the technology that drives some of the lower end spamhauses and then you try telling me that hitting a web site is going to hurt them.

Re:Filters that fight back... (4, Insightful)

grotgrot (451123) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498067)

automatically crawls any links listed in the spam, it would bring their web servers to their knees

It doesn't distinguish between good guys and bad guys. In fact none of the "automatic" schemes mentioned do. Say the spammers decide they hate Paul, they can very easily deliver several spams pointing to his web site/email address/phone number. Remember that the cost of sending extra emails by a spammer is pretty much zero.

The spammers are already picking on the anti-spam people. [theregister.co.uk]

So how will your auto-responders etc tell the difference between bad guys and good guys?

Re:Filters that fight back... (1)

RevJim (564784) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498112)

So how will your auto-responders etc tell the difference between bad guys and good guys?

Well, in his article he explains that the spam filters would be tied into a distributed database that keeps track of spamvertized links. The filter would check to see if a link in the email was in the database first and, if so, spider it X number of times (where X is a configurable value).

I dind't make this stuff up, but it seems like a workable idea to try, anyway.

Re:Filters that fight back... (4, Insightful)

mrklaw (98550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498084)

Wow, what an easy way to DDoS. Just send out a bunch of Spam with a link to your least favorite website. The spam filters take care of the work for you.

Re:Filters that fight back... (4, Interesting)

UnderScan (470605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498094)

Is there a way to keep their porn/mortgage/penis size ad server busy so that it can not open more connections?
http://www.toad.net/~mischief/archives/00000084.sh tml [toad.net]

This tool is a "honeypot." The idea is that you install this software on a Linux/Unix machine (believe there might also be an NT version available) and it pretends to be like multiple computers on the network, acting as virtual hosts. Whenever a worm comes along and probes one of those virtual hosts, La Brea hangs on to the thread and slows down the process of infection, logs all the relevant info, etc. It's actually a brilliant idea and now, thanks to some of our genius legislators, potentially illegal to possess or use.
Someone created a tar-pit for Code Red. google for la brea code red


any ideas?

or am I suggesting a DoS?

God! I'm the first!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497927)

Let's do it. Spammers earn easy money destroying one of the most valuables inet tools, the email.
They only will stop if they make no money.

Reply. (2, Insightful)

Absurd Being (632190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497928)

Reply to EVERY spam. Heck, set up a site where a spam is displayed, and every member of said site goes to the spam's link at say 12:00 EST. The resulting delta-function like demand should break their server, and prevent their legitimate customers from entering. So sending spams, or paying direct advertisers will COST your business. 100000 spams won't be worth $50, but $-50000.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497933)

A couple of approaches I use are as follows :
1) Any 419s I receive get strung along for as long as possible. After reading the article about this the other day I'm now going to be getting pictures and being more sneaky thanks /.

2) Penis/Viagra/Porn spam gets a good ole wget 1000 times to whatever link is in there

3) I usually forward any spam I get on my real email address to Cliff@slashdot.org after he posted my address to /. even though I requested he not do so.

Anyway I'm hoping I'm at least costing them a little money I know it's pretty much a lost cause but hey I might as well try right?

why avoid the real solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497934)

Public flogging or removing the right index finger (mouse clicking finger) for first offenders, followed by additional fingers for each further offense.

Or hire a hit man and kill a few spammers. Nobody would really care, just like nobody got outraged about that guy who shot the lawyer who had cheated him out of the insurance settlement he needed for surgery to fix injuries sustained in a car accident. Juries have a way of overlooking some things when they address serious social problems.

Towelheadse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497939)

If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this [go.com]

Turns out the Iraquis have a little Kobe Bryant blood in them -- they like the old corn hole, too.

Five minutes after Lynch was captured, they're passing her around like a pack of smokes, fucking her in the ass, turning her into their own personal goatse man.

As Americans it is our patriotic duty to go to war overseas and kill as many filthy sand niggers as possible. Send their heathen asses to burn in Hell for all eternity. It's what Jesus wants us to do.

By modding this post down you are affirming your allegiance to the Jihad over in the Middle East and we will track your Allah-praising ass down and you will be executed for teason against the United States of America.

*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_*_
l_______________________________________________l_ _
y_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______y_ _
n|_______|_____________\__________|______|______n_ _
c|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____c_ _
h`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____h_ _
s_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____s_ _
e__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____e_ _
x___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____x_ _
*____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____*_ _
l______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____l_ _
y_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____y_ _
n_______/\_|___C_____)/IRAQI_\_(_____>__|_/_____n_ _
c______/_/\|___C_____)__LOVE_|__(___>___/__\____c_ _
h_____|___(____C_____)\CANAL_/__//__/_/_____\___h_ _
s_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__s_ _
e____|_\____\____)___`---~()~--'_____________|__e_ _
x____|__\___________________________________/_|_x_ _
*___|______________/_____________\____________|_*_ _
l___|_____________|_______________\___________|_l_ _
y___|__________/_/_________________\___________|y_ _
n___|_________/_/___________________|__________|n_ _
c__|_________/_/_____________________|_________|c_ _
h__|__________|______________________|_________|h_ _
*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_s_e_x_*_l_y_n_c_h_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

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Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

A better idea... (2, Interesting)

woodhouse (625329) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497940)

Most spams I get are trying to convince me to click on a link rather than reply by email. Perhaps we should all just click the links to confuse the spammers instead?

Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498005)

They might get paid per impression. Better to use something like lynx and only hit the server but don't download any graphics.

Why not punish the companies who solicit spammers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497942)

Think about it! Someone has to be paying the spammers. Track those people down and beat em till they learn their lesson.

No good for invalid reply-to addreses (3, Insightful)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497947)

I'd say the vast majority of spam that I get is just a vehicle for delivering a URL. The spammers don't want a reply, they want you to go to their website.

Frequently, I get spam that seems to be selling NOTHING. The reply-to is invalid, and they don't bother including any kind of URL.

On the bright side, the vast majority of my spam gets caught in the filters - so I only see it if I check the spam folder. And may the spam rot there...

Changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497952)

They will just start requiring credit card numbers in the response and putting an invalid credit card number in a response might be illegal in some places.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497954)

Make it illegal to advertise products by spam.

Spammers make money because people PAY them to send out millions of spams to advertise online drug stores or whatnot.

Spam Site? (1, Interesting)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497958)

How about someone set up a few mail servers in China or something and we plug in the e-mail addresses of the spammers and just inundate their emailboxes with ...yes, SPAM!

We should also spam their ISPs after a generous warning.

Spam is out of control, and I think everyone here knows that until some universal SMTP replacement or SMTP extension is implemented, spam ain't going away.

That might work, but it might not-- (1)

DrDebug (10230) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497959)

If we could make spamming illegal--

1) Go after the people who employ spammers. Surely the product they inundate us with leads to real people.

2) Prosecute those people to the full extent of the law. Make examples of the first few thousand.

3) Result-- nobody will hire a spammer, and it GOES AWAY.

End of *MY* business model!

Re:That might work, but it might not-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498047)

3) Result-- nobody will hire a spammer, and it GOES AWAY.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, law cares about noone.

Spam their 800 numbers.. (5, Insightful)

James_G (71902) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497968)

If I get a spam that makes it through spamcop and spam assassin, and contains an 800 number (this doesn't happen often), I'll try and call them. It's not cheap to run an 800 number, and they tend to have a several minute long message rather than a real person answering the phone. If you have multiple lines, the fun thing to do is to call up on one line, let the message finish, get to the part where you get to record a message and then call them up again on a second line and conference the two together. Record their outgoing message as your message, rinse, repeat.

It feels good to cost the spammers some money, even if it does waste your time to do it.

Re:Spam their 800 numbers.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497998)

Remember that "phone number privacy" usually doesn't work with 800-class phone numbers!

Best to call from the fax machine at work or some other "useless" number.

For spam that wants you to call a 1-800 number (5, Interesting)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497972)

How about setting up a website that lists all the 1-800/866/etc. numbers from spam E-mails. Then everyone who wanted to could call and drag them along as long as possible to run the bill up. Probably wouldn't take too long before their phone costs ate up all their profits and more.

The only downside is I don't think many spammers use this approach, but it'd certainly be effective against those who do. I don't think it'd be illegal (as long as each person didn't call more than once) either, but IANAL.

Re:For spam that wants you to call a 1-800 number (2, Funny)

pjack76 (682382) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498076)

How about setting up a website that lists all the 1-800/866/etc. numbers from spam E-mails. Then everyone who wanted to could call and drag them along as long as possible to run the bill up. Probably wouldn't take too long before their phone costs ate up all their profits and more.

Please, think evil. I know you can do better than that. At least try.

What we do is, every time we get a spam with an 800 number, we use our modems to FAX that number...

Passive spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497973)

I get lots of ads for things which they don't expect or care about responses. They in fact don't provide any way to respond. They just want you to read the message. If we take to time to read the message how is that hurting them?

The BIG Problem here..... (4, Insightful)

baximus (552800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497986)

...is that the majority of spam I receive has forged headers, so I would in effect be sending the bogus replies to some poor sucker who had no idea their email address was being used as the "From:" header in a major spam operation.

The number of spam emails that get through SpamAssassin because of forged "From:" headers is ridiculous. And worse is the number of bounce messages I get because someone has used my email address as the "From:" header in a massive spam mailout.

Co-oridnated SPAM attack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497988)

Somebody needs to write an spamer-Denial-of-Service application that plugs into your mail reader and collects email addresses, then synchronises up with all the other people in the world on an anti-spam server - and then coordinates a reply flood to the spammer, hopefully crashing their servers.

Capital punishment... (2, Funny)

fanatic (86657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497990)

...for anyone who buys anything as the result of receiving spam. Anyone that fucking stupid doesn't deserve to live.

Stupid Enough To Work.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7497993)

If somebody found and posted a spammers server IP/email@address/etc. couldn't we /. it?

Not applicable to most spam (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7497995)

Most of the spam I receive doesn't ask me to reply to purchase anything. They simply direct me to a web site of some sort. This eliminates mass-email replies as a possibility. If they use web forms, they can easily tell legitimate orders from phony ones by verifying the credit card numbers, phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Re:Not applicable to most spam (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498087)

That brings up an obvious question:

If it's clear that the spammer is doing something illegal (selling something that's illegal, hosting the website on a hacked cable modem computer, etc...), would it be legal for you to give them a fake/bad credit card number?

Blacklists (3, Interesting)

Preach the Good Word (723957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498012)

I run several domains and use multiple blacklists. The blacklists are incredibly effective, especially those which are country-wide like taiwan.blackholes.us and china.blackholes.us. I, and the other users of my domain, don't communicate with people in China or Taiwan. If I disable the blacklists, the ONLY thing that comes to us from those countries is spam. It has a tremendous impact on the amount that I get. Because of those punitive "broadlists", many ISPs like AT&T and PSI who used to write "pink contracts" and host spammers no longer will. The broadlisting makes harboring spammers unsafe. AT&T is not going to piss off their entire subscriber base just to get one big pink contract from some spam house. It's not worth it to them. Many ISPs, especially dial-up ISPs have blocked outgoing port 25 so spammers can't use them for throwaway accounts from with to spam. No ISP wants to risk some spammer paying $9.99 for a month of service which will get the ISP blacklisted.

From a spammer's programmer (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498017)

Part of my companies' income is from sales of various and sundry products sold via soley online "stores." Part of that traffic is via banner ads, text links, etc, and another portion is via bulk mail (spam), generated by affiliates and run from an outside-the-us operation (that is to say we are not technically pressing the "go" button to spam people).

As a programmer working to keep the data flowing smoothly part of my job entails building programatic methods of detecting false data. Some of this is easy (i.e. people who put "I WANT TO RAPE YOUR DAUGHTER" in the first name field). Sometimes this is harder. IP checking helps, but distributed attacks are always a difficult thing to catch. However, all that said I don't know that this would be a significant problem.

One of our upcoming process changes will include an attempt to contact each customer via phone or email to verify their order before following through with it. Futher, automated credit-card checking will automatically drop orders with bogus data in them. CreditCard declined statistics would rise, but ultimately it wouldn't be that much hassle.

If you really want to hurt a spammer, get thousands of people to order a product, then send it back and charge-back the order on their cards. Creditcard merchant accounts have limits on the chargeback rates, and when they get too high the merchant provider will cut you off. Of course you have to front the money and the hassle, and at the end of the day there's only 1 less spammer out of a million (unless he tries to find another merchant provider and succeeds). But for some, perhaps the cost-benefit analysis would still find it worth it.

Total Due: $0.02

Wouldn't it be handy (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498018)

...to make a good self-service site for that : As in, you go to the site, where you can choose between your different spammers, er, i mean : 'potential sellers' (maybe even choose more than one 'penis-enlargement-cream-seller' at once) And once you've chosen, you would be able to submit your order : Supplied with random name and address. The costs to uphold this site could offcourse be done by banners ;) I like the idea of getting back at spammers this way and i think it could potentially destroy some of them. Hell, if it would mean getting one less spam-email a day, it would be worth it.

Blacklisting for spammers (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498041)

Although I like the idea (since we can't really implement my preferred method of dealing with spam, "hunt them down and kill them in the most painful way imagineable"), I see one major flaw with it...

Namely, the very methods we've come up with to avoid spam would work for the spammers.

How long do you think it would take before, in addition to lists of live email addresses, spammers also begin keeping lists of "people wasting our time"? I'd give it a week, if this really caught on suddenly.

For that matter, I believe this would leave them in a better position than now, since they'd not only have a list of people who won't buy from them (allowing them to cull their list of live email addresses a bit), but also a list of people likely to actually take steps to stop spammers.

Think about that for a minute - The few spammers we have managed to put out of business have gotten nabbed by a few small groups of dedicated, annoyed, and technologically-saavy people. Taking action along the recommended lines would give the spammers a way to identify and steer clear of similar groups of people.

While some of us may consider that a win ("they don't bother me anymore"), I think most of us realize that we need to do more to stop spam than unclog our own individual inboxes - We need to permanantly shut down all spammers in general. Or, put another way, my filters already block most of the spam I get (literally over 300/day now). That doesn't do a damn thing to help friends and relatives who don't understand how to maintain a good filter (like it or not, good spam filters require a fairly high level of understanding about the workings of email to properly tune - Not so much to simply block spam, but more importantly, to not block legit email).

I like that people keep thinking about this problem, and eventually look forward to a good solution. This does not seem like "the" solution, though.

To attack the spammer isn't going to help..... (0)

linkdead (695379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498043)

You have to sue the agency the spammer is representing.

If you want to make the point across without litigation, every time you get a spam for say, "Salted Seabass Inc", you would farm out a list of email addresses for that company, and subscribe them to 50-odd mailing lists. Then using an anonymizer announce tot eh head honcho of the company since they feel spam is a legitimate buisiness model, you felt you had some offers they would be interested in.

Even the best corporate filters will mess up on blocking a certain amount of spam. And being on that many mailing lists will guarantee a steady influx of this crap.

You have to remeber, shooting the messenger only works until the writer can find another messenger. If enough of these companies learn that using the services of a spammer is not acceptable, the more they will want to steer clear of them.

Sure you will have your non-US entities trying to sell stuff, but you have to admit, 90% of this crep is about US-ran websites, so going after the firm being advertised is the wiser choice.

Reply to SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498050)

Actually, I heard of someone being asked to reply to SPAM for pay.

The deal included getting free use of a dialup account.

The basic process was to dial up, read the email of the account, reply to one SPAM in the email box with realish information, disconnect, and repeat.

Fight fire with fire (1)

LibrePensador (668335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498052)

Sorry to hijack this very interesting broadcast on Spamming. But wouldn't the proposed tactics also be useful with our friends in Utah? Send them a windfall of daily inquiries about their product line from their "ever growing customer base" of Slashdot readers. I mean, aren't you guys interested in getting the scoop on all the latest and greatest offerings that they may have to offer? I have heard that the next version of Uselessware has a built-in posting prioritizer that greatly improves your chances of reaching the ever-more-desirable nirvana of a first post.

Yeah, but what's the point? (1)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498055)

Spam is bad because it takes up time. It takes time away from users who have to filter their mailboxes and miss important emails or skim through the spam themselves. It takes time from sysadmins who have to deal with abuses of their services. Replying makes no sense. The time it takes to reply is far greater than the time it takes to click `delete.' But maybe this is just me talking. I'm careful, I use disposable e-mail addresses (spamgourmet.com), and I don't get spam. Who needs spamassasin and over-agressive blacklisting when you got common sense?

Not that I'm advocating not fighting spam. But I read this article a few days ago on kuro5hin, and it strikes me as stupid. If you want to go after the spammer business model, make laws that hold those who advertise for spam liable. Don't waste your own time with this. It's a losing battle.

This is a really neat idea (2, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498056)

you could have spammer spamming software :). Imagine if every time your filters tagged a message as spam it could send an auto reply with a forged header (fake email address and stuff like that, assuming this doesn't get ruled illegal). Then the spammer would get a randomly generated email along the lines of:

Yes, I am very interested in your product. Please send more information to my address at fictionalPerson@non-existantDomain.net.

Now that would be funny.

Works with physical mail (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498057)

One thing some people do with physical junk mail is to stuff as much advertising and other paraphernalia into the postage paid replied envelope as possible. This has the effect of increasing the costs to those that send junk mail, and encourages them to keep their lists as targeted as possible.

The problem is that with spam we often have no address to send anything to, or the address we have is one that will do any good. It is like those 'work at home' signs on the road. We may think we are attacking the business plan by calling the number and racking up minutes, while what we are really doing is making the business plan succeed by enriching the person at the top of the pyramid.

So, we can't reply by email, because the address is likely either bogus or that of an innocent party. If we go to the web site in an effort to consumer bandwidth, we are likely going to receive a couple ads that will then make the spammer money. For the spammer to make real money, spam has to generate a real contact, which means that we much supply the contracting company with real contact information, which will then likely get sold to many other companies.

The 419 anti-scams work because the people invest a lot of time and money. I suppose if we all get throw away fax number, voice mail number, and PO boxes, we could mess with the spammers. But is the expense really worth while. Sure such things would only cost each of us 10 dollars a month, and would cause spammer and the evil companies they work with a lot of money, but not like the 419 thing, would not likely change much at the end of they day.

The real solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498059)

No, the real solution to the spam problem is to identify and prosecute them, then dress them up in pretty frilly lingerie, and drop them into prison cells with hairy-backed guys named Bruno and a bucket of chilled champaigne.

A glimmer of an idea... (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498060)

I like the idea of sending stuff back to spammers and I don't mind sending it from an address that I've created for that purpose but, even better I'd like to get other spammer's information and submit that! Perhaps we could create a database of spammers information or create a newsgroup to exchange this information. This way, we could inconvenience them twice, once when they get the bogus reply and once when they are spammed by other spammers!

so /. the spammer? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498097)

get to it

umm (1)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498100)

so might an organized spam-the-spammers movement work?

Nothing works. It will work in the short term but in the long term it will be SOS.

Look, Allman (creater of sendmail) said this whole spam thing is like an arms race. I agree 100%. Anti-spam programs have been countered by spammers. And the more Anti-spam programs come out, the more they are countered by spammers. There is really no end.

By replying to their email, it is not destroying their business model, it is validating it. Did the US crush the Soviet Union by giving it more money and power? By giving them more money by responding, are you not giving them more power (money = power).

Even if this spamming the spammer were sustained, and they stopped getting paid, suddenly the spammer would stop sending that particular type of spam, their contractors would not have anyway to create revenue, so chances are they will go back to paying the spammers to spam so they can make income.

Or if the spamming the spammer was meant to dDoS the spammer who is to say the extra income they generate wont let them afford better setups. There is no way to end this any time soon. Even if a federal law is passed we will get spam from China and Eastern Europe as well as South America.

There is a way to stop spam, it just isnt known. But i do not believe this could possibly be one of them.

Spam the spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498101)

Just look where the links go to copy paste then post there e-mail addresses around, cook, stir, repeat !

http://www.easywhois.com/index.php?domain=aline2 .c om&next.x=0&next.y=0

Bot food !

yizhewang32@yahoo.com.cn

How about attacking their relays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7498106)

Yesterday reading another /. article got me thinking. Why not create a p2p network that identifies spam by creating honey buckets that track spam objects (that identify characteristics of messages frequently sent to the trojan horse addresses), for example their total size in bytes and hashes of parts of the message. You could even hook it into spamassassin. But the idea really is that the network should be able to identify spam by having largly the same message but with small modifiers - and do this in real time. When a certain percentage of the machines participating in the p2p honeybucket become annoyed by the spam, the whole network starts flooding the spam relay.

Now a lot of spam relays do not know they are spam relays, and their IPs are just silently black listed without them even caring. Spam is largely a security issue, and it is because it does not cost companies (most of the time) to have this hole in their network that they do not fix the security issue.

Remember back when ip directed broadcasts were enabled and every packet kiddie on irc was smurfing anyone they did not like. Administrators fixed that issue because it cost them not to (when all their bandwidth was being used up by packet kiddies). Spam can go unnoticed by many of these admins, and a ping of death from a 1000 node p2p spam honeybucket may be what it takes to make these admins fix their networks.

Just a thought. :)

Nice Try Spammer!! (1)

binarybum (468664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498108)

samuel@bcgreen.com is obviously a spammer.
He's like "hey you guys, I've got this great idea. why don't we 'fight' spam by verifying our email addresses with spammers. It's going to be so awesome, c'mon guys!"
sure.. samuel@bcgreen.com, and we'll meet you at the ninth hole at nine p.m. m'kay

most spam points to a website, and this suppossed "solution" is a futile self sacrafice that is not attractive enough for sufficient numbers to participate in. The result-- more spam for those few nobel foolish souls that attempt this strategy. And yes, it definitely is possible to receive more spam than you are right now.

Charge to send email (1)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498111)

It's been suggested before. That assumed all the ISPs would somehow just all start doing that. But I don't think that's going to happen.


But that doesn't preclude someone from setting up a private paid email service where you have to pay ,in the form of micropayments, to send mail to its customers. Business opportunity here.

What we need is an intelligent attack-bot (1)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498115)

I've long thought that there needs to be some sort of automated "attack the spammer" bot that could be used for such purposes.

Such a thing might work like this:

  1. Someone builds a parsing engine like Spamcop's to extract the spam-reply e-mail address from the pink gooey mass.
  2. You set it up so vetted (and possibly paying) customers/spam recievers/victims can send it to the parsing engine.
  3. The engine: A.) Extracts the e-mail address, B.) Uses a parsing script to write a reply with several questions ("I am very interested in your penis enlarger. Can you tell me how many pills are in a bottle? How does the guarantee work? Are there any other side effects? What are the pills made of? Are they FDA approved? What other pills should I not take with them?" etc. etc. (I suspect you could fairly quickly write a set of 10-20 scripts which would cover 95% of the spam being sent today.)
  4. It creates a unique e-mail address to a neutral-sounding domain (or one of several), like geditkita.com, spluuur.net, etc.) to use as the reply to address.
  5. This e-mail address automatically goes back to the parsing engine, at which point it goes to a second-level reply script. ("What color are the pills? Are they safe for cats? Are they legal to resell in Ann Arbor? Will I still be able to play the piano?" etc.)
  6. Repeat as necessary.


This could quickly eat up a very large amount of spammer time. And anyone who spams that address in the future alos gets feed into the bot loop!

Any here think they're capable of setting something like that up?

Spam their order systems and http logs instead (1)

kroyd (29866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498116)

I imagine most spammers have some kind of web page where you can order their "product". It would be rather simple to make something that filled in the form with a random name and random credit card number, then submited the form.

This would be rather effective if they paid a fee for each credit card validation and not each succesfull validation, but I'm not sure of the legality of this. (Of course, spam being international it could always be done from abroad)

My second thought is to see the spam as an order of "fill my http log with random binaries":

while :
do
for a in /boot/vmlinuz
wget http://spam.me/$a
next
done

(or similar)

A more ethical solution would be to start tracking who is the real "product provider" and their banking contact, then go after the banks - It would be very bad PR to have your bank associated with spammers in the media.

from k5 (1)

JFbasta (722882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7498119)

funny thing, but pretty similar to a piece on kuro5hin... I'm sure they're not related, though ;-)
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/11/4/11105 9/720
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