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IBM Unveils Anti-Spam Services to Stop Spammers

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the keep-your-inbox-sparkly-clean dept.

Spam 443

bblazer writes "CNN Money is running a story about a new IBM service that spams the spammers. The idea behind the technology is that when a spam email is received, it is immediately sent back to the originating computer - not an email account. From the article, ""We're doing it to shut this guy down," Stuart McIrvine, IBM's director of corporate security strategy, told the paper. "Every time he tries to send, he gets slammed again."""

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443 comments

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Woah! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011594)

IBM's Anti-Spam services are designed to stop spammers?!?!?

What will they think of next?

Now the teeth come out. (2, Interesting)

aristus (779174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011597)

And maybe the screaming hordes of DSL-bots will finally get shut down.

spamd (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011599)

I think I'll stick with spamd. It doesn't waste my bandwidth.

agreed (2, Interesting)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011752)

"Yes, we are adding more traffic to the network, but it is in an effort to cut down the longer-term traffic," said McIrvine.

Isn't that sort of like cutting off your legs to run faster?

works great for honest spammers (1, Insightful)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011606)

... but what about the vast majority of spam that's sent from zombied PCs and open relays instead of from the spammer's own mail servers?

Re:works great for honest spammers (5, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011628)

You end up shutting down the zombied PCs. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

Re:works great for honest spammers (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011676)

massive extra traffic to all isp's, traffic that doesn't even end up shutting the real source of the spam down.

so.. double the money wasted on spam on total and no cure.

Re:works great for honest spammers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011817)

If an ISP notices the extra traffic, might they not be motivated to get the zombies that are used for spamming off their network?

My small local ISP sends techs to help their customers when these things happen - and, yes, I realize that's not viable in most cases.

Re:works great for honest spammers (2, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011690)

I don't see any way that this would shut down zombified PCs. DSL/Cable usually has much more downstream bandwidth that upstream, assuming that its even open for receiving mail, I don't think that they would effectively be shut down at all.

Better to slam the websites advertised, like the slashdot effect, I reckon.

-d

Re:works great for honest spammers (2, Informative)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011749)

Instant DDOS attack. All a spammer needs to do is send out a message containing "Nigeria v!agra load http://www.spam-fighter.com teen" and that site gets clobbered even though it had nothing to do with the message.

Re:works great for honest spammers (1)

tealtalon (714179) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011786)

As well as sending the message to the lazy sysadmin with the unpatched exchange 5.5 install with open realy on by default...

Re:works great for honest spammers (4, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011635)

... but what about the vast majority of spam that's sent from zombied PCs and open relays instead of from the spammer's own mail servers?

What's the problem? If you are participating, on purpose or not, you should be stopped.

Being subject to this form of retribution might make people aware of the problems on their machines. It seems to be a Good Thing to me.

Re:works great for honest spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011770)

They're just going to slow them down, not stop them. This doesn't solve any problems.

Re:works great for honest spammers (5, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011638)

If it helps knock the zombie effectively offline, the user is more likely to notice that there's a problem.

Re:works great for honest spammers (1)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011646)

"honest spammers" -- there's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one before.

Well, duh... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011666)

"honest spammers" -- there's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one before.

I think that was the intent. Almost time to drag out the "Reasons this won't work" list again...

Kjella

Re:Well, duh... (4, Funny)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011848)

As requested (all selections open to change, subjective, etc, etc) Note the law-based stuff comes from the fact that I suspect a retaliation response like this is probably illegal, IANAL though so this may be/probably is wrong.

Your company advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
(x) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(x) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(x) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with Microsoft
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with Yahoo
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(x) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(x) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid company for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:works great for honest spammers (4, Informative)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011702)

Moderators, parent post is not insightful, it is clueless. It doesn't depend on the spammer being honest. It depends on the spammer being dishonest. For actual information about how this system works see IBMs web page about it:
http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/fairuce

Re:works great for honest spammers (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011767)

Honestly, will you miss these users ?

He? (-1)

sammykrupa (828537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011607)

"Every time he tries to send, he gets slammed again."
Being sexist, huh?

Re:He? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011663)

she just wants to get "slammed" over and over.

Re:He? (0, Offtopic)

Valafar (309028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011693)

*THIS* is insightful? Although modern english grammar allows for "she", it is correct to use "he" to describe any person male or female without a sexist component.

Re:He? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011730)

Why is there a computer in the kitchen?

I realize you're kidding but, actually, no... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011739)

English does not have a third-person, gender-neutral pronoun for referring to a person (although "hir" has been proposed). So, as a matter of convention, when gender is ambiguous, the masculine is typically used by default.

I learned this from reading various military tech manuals that will, on occasion, put something to this effect in their preface.

Re:He? (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011768)

"Every time he tries to send, he gets slammed again."
Being sexist, huh?


I recall a pic of a female spammer years ago, she was of course ugly. All the photoshopping by dozens of antispammers didn't help either.

Fight one evil with another! (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011609)

Automatic DDOS of spammers. Very cool!

With all the spam zombies, how will this help? (3, Insightful)

lintux (125434) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011610)

How does this exactly help solving the spam problem when the machine sending the spam is not owned (but "0wned") by the spammer?

Or do they plan to DDoS the spam-zombies?

Re:With all the spam zombies, how will this help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011720)

perhaps it will slow down the zombie's internet connection to the point where its owner will notice the slowdown and do something about it?

The UNITED STATES of LARD (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011611)



The United States of Lard

by Mark Driver

We are a fat, fucking country. We're also lazy, complaining, selfish,
hypocritical assholes, but today, I'm just gonna focus on the fat part.
More than half of Americans are obese. Not just overweight mind you,
OBESE, meaning there is so much blubber on your bones, it's unhealthy.
Your lard encrusted heart pumps your greasy blood through tightening
arteries and brittle veins. Unsightly fields of poisonous cellulite dot
the noxious landscape that is your body. Our chubby children can barely
pry their fat engorged bodies out of bed. There are even reports of these
little butterballs suffering from adult diabetes, a condition that used to
take dozens of years of abuse to manifest. Like a pod of sleepy whales
sucking pure lard out of a generically mutilated mother hog covered from
snout to tail in teats, we just feed and breed. It doesn't matter what the
fuck we put into our bodies. It can be uranium soaked dog feces sprinkled
with live baby tarantulas, tapeworm eggs, cigarette buts and diesel fuel
causing impotence, baldness, spontaneous abortion, and premature death -
as long as it's battered, fried, and salted: it's dinner.

New National Anthem (sung to the tune of anything by N' Sync)

Suck and sleep,
Mate and eat.
Breed and feed,
Breed and feed.
Don't lather.
or rinse,
or chew,
just repeat.

How did everyone get so fat? Our grandparents weren't fat. Most senior
citizens aren't fat (maybe the fat ones die off early). George Washington
wasn't fat. Abe Lincoln wasn't fat. Ben Franklin was fat, but he made up
for it in charm (from what I hear). In random snapshots of history, most
people aren't fat. They didn't have the luxury of a life where you spent
15 hours a day laying on your back. They didn't have the luxury of a
purely sedentary lifestyle. If they wanted to eat something disgustingly
unhealthy, they didn't have the luxury of waddling over to Wendy's for a
bacon triple cheese burger - they had to make it themselves by scratch.
Luxuries have their costs, don't they fatty?

So are you one of these fat asses? One of these obese, bacon-grease
drinking Americans that make up more than half of our population? Do your
rotund children roll around on the floor in their own drool, playing video
games, suffering from high blood pressure and hemorrhoids because you feed
them processed crap and never make them go outside?

It's easy to stop off at the store or pull up to the drive through window,
but if it came down to it, would you be able to provide any of the foods
you consume for yourself? Would catching a pig leave you breathless and
huffing like a broken bag pipe? Could your short, fat fingers fit around a
cow's udder for milking? Could you even climb into the seat of tractor to
dig a trench to seed some corn? Could you pull a stalk of wheat out of the
ground? Could you run after a chicken? Can you even run?

I'm not saying this to be deliberately mean, I'm saying it because you
fat, lazy, pieces of shit piss me off. What is it, like a third of the
world that's starving to death? In countries worldwide, there are human
skeletons with gaping eyes trying to make bread out of tree roots and
dust, swollen joints and bloated, empty stomachs. 5' 3" and forty pounds.
Now that's a fucking weight problem. Imagine reaction of one of these poor
souls watching American late night TV. Picture them, ribs showing through
their stained rags, broken teeth jutting out of their shrunken heads,
trying to find a place to sit on your fast food wrapper papered couch. You
hit "on", and the TV shows images of fat asses just like yourself, crying
with Richard Simmons, saying things like "I just can't stop myself from
eating! Pies! Fried Chicken! Cake! Pizza! Hamburger! I just eat and eat
and eat! I can't stop! And now look at me! I'm fat." You try to explain to
your new, malnourished friend that while there is nothing to eat in his
little dusty country, here in America, there is too much food, and no one
can stop eating it. And no, we won't share. $1.99 for everyone.

But wait, I forgot. You don't have to stop eating. You never have to
share. We have things you can do! There are all kinds of treatments for
this 'human frailty'. Get it sucked out with a vacuum cleaner! Cut it off!
Get your stomach stapled so you can't eat as much! Or wait, take a handful
of pills that keep you from absorbing your food! That's right, we can't
expect you to stop putting food in your mouth, so we have to help you at a
biological level. Just take a pill, and the fat will pass through your
body, undigested. True, it'll probably end up in your underwear because it
causes abdominal cramping, explosive diarrhea, and uncontrollable
shitting, but hey, you're gonna get skinny, right? Millions of walking
dead worldwide praying for a crust of bread and you're medicating yourself
to ensure that food leaves your body undigested. God bless America!

Hey, here's a fucking idea. Why don't you stop eating until you're sick,
and go for a fucking walk every now and then? Maybe get a hobby that
requires something more than typing on a keyboard or adjusting volume by
remote control. Try eating an orange instead of a plate of bacon. You
don't need seven different kinds of meat for lunch. Rice is more than just
an element of Nacho Cheese Chex mix. Try eating food that actually exists
in nature. Realize that Pizza Pockets are polyp inducing chemical sacks,
Mountain Dew makes your bones rot, and that if you can eat at McDonalds
without developing a stabbing stomach ache afterwards, you may already be
beyond help.

Look. The traditional American foods that we learned to eat served a
purpose once. Back when you had a farm to work on, you needed to start
your day with eggs and sausage and pancakes and toast and bacon and hash
browns and biscuits and gravy and grits and orange juice and coffee and
waffles and French toast and corn flakes, because you were out threshing
wheat and busting your ass until "dinner" (which was actually lunch), when
you stuffed your face again and went back out and worked until it got
dark. Then you went back inside and had a little snack called supper to
get up enough energy to get drunk and beat your wife and kids. Then, after
the kids were unconscious, you would complain to your wife that she'd only
given you 20 pairs of arms to help on the farm, guilt her into sex with
some Bible quotes, pass out 30 seconds later, and wake up the next day to
do it all over again.

But now, come on. We work in air-conditioned cubicles. We stand behind
cash registers. We make pizzas. We drive busses. We sit behind desks and
talk on the phone. We need about 5 calories to accomplish these feats of
nothingness. Like an apple for breakfast, a 1/4 of a bagel for dinner and
two cups of water in-between. Even most factory jobs are little more than
repetitious lever pulling. You can't eat like a farmer if you're just
pulling a lever all day. You don't need that energy, so quit eating like
you do.

A few years ago, I spent a summer in southern Minnesota, crating up
fiberglass and loading it onto trucks. It was 90 degrees and me and this
guy Austin were the entire shipping department. We were also the only
skinny people in the whole place. Everyone else just pulled levers. I was
living on Spaghetti-Os, peanut butter, spinach, and Olde English at the
time, not terribly healthy, but I was busting my ass every day, so it
didn't matter. Austin ate a can of corned beef hash with a chunk of
Velveeta melted in, spread thick between two pieces of white bread coated
in Miracle Whip, half a bag of Doritos, and washed it all down two Cokes.
Depending where you grew up this is either entirely offensive or
completely normal lunch. But he was still skinny because we spent our
shift sweating, lifting, nailing, shoving, kissing - well we didn't
actually kiss, but you get the point. Everyone else at the factory ate
equally gross or grosser things as Austin, consuming things like baloney,
Vienna sausages, and canned deviled ham that, up until then, had been
foods whose eaters were things of mystery. I eventually stopped eating
with my co-workers, partly because the smell of their lunches grossed me
out, mostly because they made fun of me for reading, for eating "rabbit
food" (i.e. anything not comprised 100% of pork by-products), for not
smoking, and for not letting them set me up with their divorced 19 year
old daughters ("her kids are real nice") . I moved my lunchroom into my
car, sitting out in the dusty parking lot, where I got to see all the fat
people coming and going through the factory gates all day long. The
workers were huge. Their spouses were huge. Their kids in the back seat
were huge. Even the fucking dogs were huge.

And I'm not just picking on the working class fat asses, because most
middle class suburban kids are worse. The parents may not be as physically
bad off, but Jesus, have you seen some of these kids? Parents have had it
beaten into their heads that letting their kids leave the house is unsafe
because of drug dealers, serial killers, and blood thirsty third world
dictators lurking at the playground, so instead of being somewhere playing
a pick-up game of kickball or racing bikes around the cul-de-sac, the
brats are tacitly encouraged to park themselves in front of glowing
entertainment units and grow as large as sperm whales.

"Timmy, time for soccer practice!"

"I'm too fat to practice! Can I skip Saturday's game too and just go to
the pizza party?"

"OK. Here's three pints of Ben and Jerry's in a huge bowl smothered
with sausage gravy and a brick of suet."

"Burp. Hey mom, I made the guy on the snowboarding game do a backflip!"

"Great! I'll give you an extra sack of buttermilk-fried Doritos and
seven boxes of Meat Trio Bagel Bites for that one!"

"Mmm. Burp. Fart. Groan. Get me a Pepsi."

Nor do I pull myself out of the equation. I was a fat slob from 1997 to
1999 inclusively. I came to Los Angeles weighing 165 pounds, and left it
pushing 205, which is scary because even though at 205 I had a gut and
looked like shit, it was still within the range (albeit right at the
border) of 'normal healthy' weight for my height. I could've put on 30
more pounds before I would've been considered obese. Thus, becoming
morbidly obese is not something easily done. You gotta work at it.

What happened? How did I put on 40 pounds in two years? Well at 165, I
barely had enough money to feed myself, I lived in a little city in
Indiana where I walked everywhere, I was having sex 10 times a week, I
went swimming all the time because I didn't have cash for anything else, I
was a strict vegetarian, the only way I could afford to get drunk was to
drink a 22oz of regional malt liquor (49 cents at the time!) on an empty
stomach. Oh, and I was 22 years old.

Then I hit LA and I had to drive my grandpa's old car everywhere because
everything was so spread out. I started getting paid so I suddenly had
money for food and booze. I didn't have many friends at first and I still
couldn't afford to go out, so I stayed home, drank, ate, and listened to
records. My girlfriend was back in Indiana, so there was no real reason to
try to keep myself looking good day to day. The nearest food to my house
was a gas station, a 7-11, and a burrito stand.

After a while, I started getting paid more, but I was getting bitter too.
The city was eating me. With every raise at work came more stupid duties
(that'll be the last time anyone asks me to mediate a message board). I
was drinking more and generally not taking care of myself. Grande
Breakfast Burrito for breakfast, 7-11 Nachos and a baloney sandwich for
lunch, two cans of Spaghetti-O's, a 40 of Colt, and half a loaf of white
bread for dinner. Then I'd go out club hopping with whoever, hitting
Norm's 24 hour Diner (the one on Lincoln in Santa Monica) on the way home,
getting an appetizer platter or a chicken fried steak breakfast to soak up
some of the alcohol before I went to sleep (it's always a great idea to
eat a full meal at 2:30 in the morning and go to bed directly afterwards).
My physical activity was limited to snowboarding 6 or 7 times a season,
and about a week of bodyboarding in Santa Monica Bay before I got a
horrible skin rash from the raw sewage they pump into the water. Oh, and I
ran my mouth a lot. That was it. I got fat and I didn't care. I ate and
drank as much as I possibly could and got no exercise. 205 is the max
weight my body can achieve. It's good to know your limits.

But in the year since moving to Seattle, I've dropped about 20 pounds and
gotten way healthier. Normal again, I suppose. I get to walk everywhere,
I'm not feeling that strange self-destructive angst that makes me think
that there's nothing wrong with sitting down and eating an entire bucket
of fried chicken. I've figured out that hey, if I eat healthy food, my ass
doesn't break out in zits and I can actually stay awake past 8 at night.
I'm not steeping in some inchoate distress anymore. Because that's what
being fat is, a strange way of getting back at yourself for reasons your
sub-conscious won't release. A way to deal with a perceived lack of
control and the disrespect you have for yourself for not taking more of a
lead in your own life. The need to overload every piece of sensory
apparatus in a hope that the hole you're feeling will somehow get filled,
that this tremendous lack in your life will suddenly disappear and there
will be reason to move forward and live bravely, purposefully, and with
real emotions. TV for our eyes, radio for our ears, food and booze for our
mouths, meaningless sex for our loins: it don't make you any happier
(well, maybe the sex makes you a little happier). So fuck it. Throw a
bunch of bananas in your backpack and spend your entire day off wandering
around your neighborhood. Buy a camera and 10 rolls of film and use your
precious Sunday taking pictures of things that inspire you, piss you off,
make you laugh, make you sad, make you want to meet some cutie pie to
spend the rest of your life with. Be someone that people have to deal
with, not some passive punching bag who just sits in a corner getting
gradually larger, and taking up more ineffectual space. Realize the inner
strength that - fuck, I'm starting to sound like an infomercial. I'm just
saying that in this world, dynamic people are in great demand, footstools
and sheep clutter the landscape. It's a quick, tough place we're in and
fat people can't run very fast or very far. Fat people don't drown, but
they can't swim either. Drop the gyro fatty, grab an apple.

I suppose that I should encourage everyone to keep getting fat. It makes
me look that much better. It makes me seem faster. I'll get wiser by
living longer. Fat fingers can't pull handgun triggers. Our fat population
would be unable to fight conventional wars (although we'd go to Defcon 1
every time there was a shortage in Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies). Fat people
go to church and pay their taxes. I can sell them lots of food, and oils
as well. I could fashion the Mark Driver Lime and Tequila Diet, and have
my first (and only) bestselling book. I could transform old cargo planes
into Lardo Airlines where the seats are all triple-wide, the buffet is
always open, and our motto is "Smile, tubby! Your fat ass is on vacation!"
Think of it: fat trains, extra fat mattresses, vending machines selling
pails of French fries, gas powered stomach pumpers, newspapers with rubber
handles, self cooking sausage, his n' hers deep fryers, mail order onion
rings, ranch dressing transfusions, 40-piece individual chicken dinner, a
smaller car to drive from your front door to your real car, extra large
crematoriums, groan activated remote control TV, a fart powered
dishwasher, diesel toilet equipped with a garbage disposal, reinforced
moving sidewalks where you can just lay there and get moved to the
restaurants all over town .......

But I want to help, really.

So what do we do about all this? I think people have become too far
removed from the foods they eat. I say we enact a new law, and it goes
like this: If you can't produce it, you can't eat it. You can't enjoy a
steak until you go to a government licensing station and kill a cow in
front of federal agents. Then you get a little cow picture stamped on your
Eating ID card. Want some chicken? Here's a knife and a tub to drain the
blood into. You want some nachos? Well, sign up for the 3 week course that
takes you through salt mining, corn husking, lard rendering as well as the
synthesizing of disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, and the
National Endowment for the Arts has allowed for nice, uncontroversial
artists to teach you about Artificial Color. Oh, you want a Pizza Pocket?
Due to the offensive amount of ingredients, that's a 4 year course
available only at the Toledo branch, but the waiting list is quite short,
actually. What's that? You're just going to stick to green beans and
tomatoes? Great. Our records show you are already capable, you just need
to lose enough weight to actually bend over and touch the ground.

Of course, this will do much to destroy the years this country has spent
developing industries of specialization that make sure we never have to
dirty our hands, but with 99.9% of all people specializing in little more
than shoving handfuls of gooey cheese and fried meat into their morbidly
obese bodies, I think a little revolution is in order, don't you? Our
children will thank us.

Re:The UNITED STATES of LARD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011652)

Oh no! Those skinny communist unamerican terrorists are on slashdot!

Re:The UNITED STATES of LARD (-1, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011797)

HAHAHAHAHA!
Best troll I've seen in a while.

Re:The UNITED STATES of LARD (0)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011829)

http://images.google.com/images?q=happy%20they%20e at%20lard

not a new idea (-1)

fastfinge (823794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011613)

Virus checkers are doing this already. So are some isps. It just hammers on whom ever the spammmer put in the headers. I would think IBM would be smarter than to try this? Oh, first post.

Re:not a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011658)

I think maybe you missed the line that read "it is immediately sent back to the originating computer - not an email account".

You Idiot! You miserable Failure! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011803)

You didn't even manage to read the fuckin' blurb!
How fucking stupid can a single person be!?

AOL and MSN (4, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011614)

Watch as AOL and MSN/Hotmail now mark IBM as a spammer...

What about the zombie PCs (4, Interesting)

spicydragonz (837027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011616)

The networks of zombie PCs are going to be even more lagged by IBM. Maybe this will finally get their owners to patch or firewall them.

Re:What about the zombie PCs (4, Insightful)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011696)

I doubt it. What average user is going to understand the problem, much less the solution?

Re:What about the zombie PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011769)

"Patch or firewall" them?

If by that you mean - "buy a new IBM because this one is just slow."

As much as I love your optimism, it has to go thru a "reality that people know jack-ol'-squat about computers" +5.

jokes writing themselves... (5, Funny)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011618)

IBM Unveils Anti-Spam Services to Stop Spammers

Anti-Spam services that STOP spam?!? You don't say? Now there's a novel idea...

This joke was brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Re:jokes writing themselves... (2, Interesting)

dos_dude (521098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011811)

I know that this was supposed to be a joke, but it's worth some thinking. Are anti-spam services really always meant to stop spam? IMHO, this isn't redundant, but a strange business model if you really think about it.

We've got this new product here and if it suceeds it will be completely superflous!

Hmmm (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011626)

Seeing how most spams come from zombies, I'm not quite sure what we're after; It's cool that we'll chew up the bandwidth so it limits the amount of spam he can send, but it's not like that's actually hurting the spammer.

I will be interested to see if this significantly limits the amount of spam at all.

Any idea what this actually means? (2, Interesting)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011627)

I don't understand what they mean about sending it back to the computer, not the email address. Do they mean that they'll identify the postmaster or domain administrator, because most spamers don't even have those addresses, or if they do they're total black holes.

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011678)

I don't understand what they mean about sending it back to the computer, not the email address.

It means this recognizes the spam and initiates the counter attack from the mail server, not the client.

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (3, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011679)

I think he means the IP of the SMTP sender will be loggged and it will be sent back to that IP. Many SMTP servers may simply deny the packets though.

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011700)

the computer the mail was sent from, meaning it will hopefully shutdown some botnets

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (2, Informative)

fox8118 (538985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011719)

If you look at the email headers you can often times tell which IP address it was sent from. Domain spoofing just implies changing the From and/or the Reply-To header.

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (3, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011799)

If you look at the email headers you can often times tell which IP address it was sent from.

If you have somebody opening a TCP connection to your mail server, you already *know* what IP address is on the other end. And, as IBM has realized, that's *all* you know, so that's the place to start applying pressure.

Re:Any idea what this actually means? (2, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011816)

close but 100% wrong

try reading the SMTP RFC's sometime,

the *only* part one can trust is the IP of the machine sending the message

I'm rubber, you're glue... (4, Funny)

catisonh (805870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011629)

What if the spammer had this same technology? Would the internet get stuck in an infinite loop and go to 100% usage?

its ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011763)


according to the helpdesk ctrl+alt+del will fix it, if it doesnt just reboot !

Re:its ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011841)

Tee-hee...

Dumb question - dumb answer.
Cool. :)

Great... (2, Interesting)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011631)

Now we'll have even more junk traffic slowing things down on the internet. It's a waste of bandwidth, in my opinion, to do this.

fire with fire (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011633)

fighting fire with fire, that's all it is

Not a good idea. (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011637)


Rather than adding yet more traffic to the net I think it'd be far better if more places ran OpenBSD's spamd [openbsd.org] package. It tarpit's mail connections from spammer machines thus consuming the remote machine's resources rather than generating more traffic in a misguided game of "fight fire with fire".

Re:Not a good idea. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011694)

Damn OpenBSD zealots :) (Hello Grub). Instead of running a separate daemon, just run /sbin/iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 25 -j TARPIT [netfilter.org]

Re:Not a good idea. (4, Insightful)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011827)

spamd(8) gives you additional capabilies above that of a packet filter ... greylisting, automatic whitelisting, etc. plus, you don't have to run it on your mail server and it will still function correctly. 3.7 will also have greytrapping

Re:Not a good idea. (1)

Durzel (137902) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011721)

I agree with this.

Comparitively speaking sockets are cheap, bandwidth isn't.

It's a nice sentiment from IBM, but like Lycos' "Make Love Not Spam" it is a misguided one.

Re:Not a good idea. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011785)

Is this the same spamd that is available for Linux?
On google I found spamd for Linux that is a daemonized version of spamassassin.

If I were a spammer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011639)

I'd forge my return address as "webmaster@ibm.com"

to stop spammers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011643)

... Anti-Spam Services to Stop Spammers

Umm, what else would anti-spam services be used to stop?

Re:to stop spammers? (0)

TOakes (660181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011714)

Spam, usually

Can RSS Solve The Spam Problem? (3, Interesting)

filmmaker (850359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011644)

IBM says in a new report that, in February, 76 percent of all e-mails were spam. While its report says that is down from a summer 2004 peak of nearly 95 percent, it is well above levels in February 2004.

Interesting that the figure has dropped so significantly in a year's time. The mere fact that email has been so thoroughly polluted as a medium by spamvertisers prompts me to think that RSS could be a way to circumvent email and its problems entirely. Imagine if people had pass-protected RSS feeds for all their contacts, as well as group feeds and a public feed. Then, when it's time to email someone, you just insert a new entry in that person's feed. A mechanism that checks feeds 10 times an hour should be sufficient. In terms of end-user interface, it would be identical to email in every significant way. Just seems to me that there's no room for spammers in a system like that, since in order to be "spammed" you'd have to subscribe specifically to a spammers feed.

There would be a lot of traffic overhead with a system like that, but it couldn't possibly be worse than the 75% spam overhead of email.

Re:Can RSS Solve The Spam Problem? (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011740)

or setup the server with a whitelist of contacts. its just not feasable if you dont know every person your going to send/recieve email to/from.

Re:Can RSS Solve The Spam Problem? (1)

fastfinge (823794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011746)

Oh, sure. So then How am I to give out my info? Please phone me and then I'll subscribe to your feed and then you can insert a new item in your feed for me and then I'll get it in ten minutes or so? Unless I'm not running my rss reader and you send so many messages that your item to me falls off of your feed. Oh, and assuming I'm not some creep and read all the other mmessages that you sent to everyone else that I got while I was checking your feed for messages to me. Oh, but if you change your ISP and your feed address changes I have to subscribe to your new feed if I ever want to hearr from you again. Also, forget giving out my online address on resume/business card/what ever, because if I don't subscribe to you you're screwed and can never send me any messages ever.

Re:Can RSS Solve The Spam Problem? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011778)

..wouldn't that be just like whitelisting certain people? what EXACTLY would be the benefit over current email?

spam occurs because everyone can send everyone an email if they wish, this is the basic thing why email is useful in the first place. your public feed would be get just as well swamped on spam, and when your passwords for the non-publics would get leaked eventually so would they end up full of spam.

if you'd want you could implement a system that only allowed to send you messages through a web form that had some bot-protection. but even that wouldn't stand against sweatshop spammers.

so a solution it would not be.

Re:Can RSS Solve The Spam Problem? (1)

filmmaker (850359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011824)

Hey, just throwing it out there. I know you'd have to have some kind of initial point of contact. Another poster replied that you'd have to move your feeds if you move ISPs, but that's not so different from repointing the DNS for your domain name...

I don't claim to have an end-to-end solution in mind, only saying that a new technology might provide some new tools for combating the spam in electronic communications.

christ on a cracker... (1, Insightful)

Rodney L Caston (143815) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011648)

Completely pointless exercise, most big spammers are going to be using a outbound only load balanced relay of some kind, they won't be accepting the mail in from the same exit point.

This is complete crap. ...

take it from me, someone who sends out roughly 5 million emails daily.

FairUCE (5, Informative)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011654)

It's been reported on a mailing list that the article is actually about FairUCE [ibm.com] , which implements something completely different which makes at least some sense (for scoring, not for outright blocking).

Doesn't sound very effective (2, Insightful)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011655)

This kind of assumes that the machines that are sending spam are also listening for SMTP. IMHO I would doubt that. Also, what about all the hijacked Windoze boxes out there that are sending spam on behalf of spamers. Granted I wouldn't feel bad about them getting their hacked machines hosed, but I don't see how that would help the overall situation.

Yes, but what about the network traffic? (2, Interesting)

delirium28 (641609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011664)

Maybe I'm just new here, but wouldn't spamming the spammers still cause an awful lot of network traffic on some "innocent" ISPs for the spam wars?

Re:Yes, but what about the network traffic? (2, Insightful)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011743)

All the more incentive to the "innocent" ISPs to do something about the spammers on their network.

Doesn' this just... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011669)

perpetuate the problem of increasing traffic on networks thereby increasing infrastructure costs to a company?

Nevermind the fact that most spammers don't use a real e-mail address (shocker) -- but my IT department doesn't have funds to waste attacking spammers.

Useless article AND dupe (5, Informative)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011674)

This is a duplicate of http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/04/204 7246&tid=111&tid=185&tid=95

However, the CNN story referenced seems to be utterly clueless as to how this technology, known as FairUCE, actually works. It really is nothing like they have described it. For real information go to IBM's page: http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/fairuce

This system does not try to DDOS the spammers, or anything stupid like that. It attempts to link the IP address of the sender to the senders domain name using DNS and WHOIS lookups. If that fails, it sends a challenge/response email to the sender.

Re:Useless article AND dupe (0)

DJDutcher (823189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011809)

Wow that CNN story is really wrong. That IBM article is very interesting, and I think IBM is on the right track when they say "Sender identity is the spam-fighting tool of the future." Maybe somebody is finally catching on.

e-mails coming from a computer on the spam list (5, Insightful)

bagofbeans (567926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011687)

"e-mails coming from a computer on the spam list" are treated this way. Great. So when a variable-IP zombie pc power cycles and I get their old IP address next, it becomes my problem. Time to buy a fixed IP service, people.

Why don't we dump the email architecture? (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011704)

I mean, it is seriously flawed. Why not dump it and design an optimal system that can handle the real world issues that pertain to email? We keep trying to patch a flawed system, it is only going to get worse. I realize many people have dumped a lot of money into email systems, but it is fatally flawed.

postmaster? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011705)

Maybe they take incoming spam that would have been bounced and instead reconnect to the SMTP server that tried to send it and direct the email to postmaster@localhost ?

there's an idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011706)

wow, what a cool invention! surely IBM filed a patent?

Tristan

Another Braindead Idea (1)

slashfun (831726) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011707)

This will only add useless traffic to the net. Successful spammers hijack systems through use of trojans planted on Joe User's computer. Sending spam back to those hijacked systems will only cause more problems, and it's probably illegal in the first place. The only solution is to get a robust email provider that does effective spam filtering through the use of mail manipulation into folders, with application of aging on suspected spam.

Half of a spammer's bandwidth is still a lot (1)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011711)

So they'll only be able to send spam at half speed.

And that's just until they figure out how to set up a packet filtering rule.

Not a big improvement.

A bad analogy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011716)

Isn't that kind of like solving the gas price problem by driving more?

(Before you all flame away, recognize that I am not being serious and I do see both the obvious and subtle reasons why this analogy is crap. The attempt here is at humor, not insightful commentary.)

More me too bullshit (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011723)

Real solutions to spam [in decreasing order of success]

1. Not use SMTP, sounds like a shocker but like the doctor says "if it hurts don't do it".

2. honeypots can be used to waste spammers time

3. Absolutely don't reply to spam in any form

But the real problem is SMTP is not a reliable or robust protocol for the problem it tries to solve. The fact that people keep pushing it shows they're lazy.

But you don't have to abandon SMTP completely. Something as simple as hashcash could essentially eliminate spam.

Just nobody wants to actually implement it [re: think about a mozilla/thunderbird plugin that uses X-HEADERS to put/read hashcashes].

Tom

We have this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011727)

It is called a blacklist. There are many blacklists out there from the free like http://cbl.abuseat.org/ [abuseat.org] to the non-free http://www.spamhaus.org/ [spamhaus.org] . Wonder how much time IBM wasted on figuring out how to send a 500 error message based on IP.

It's all good until... (1)

origamy (807009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011736)

...a valid e-mail from a company gets tagged as spam and then everyone who receives e-mail from that company starts attacking it back.
The main question here is who/what defines what's spam or not?

Let's here it for irresponsible corporations. (0)

Halvard (102061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011741)

Okay, the subject sounds like I'm a troll.

Just being sarcastic. This is kind of a vigilante tactic and it doubles the bandwidth consumption of spam, which IMHO, isn't a good thing. I recall a statistic published six or seven years ago that stated that roughly 40 percent of all internet traffic was AOL email. Sorry I don't recall the attribution. Extrapolate that to all email and the ration of real email to spam.

If IBM finds widespread adoption, the increase in bandwidth consumption would be huge. And just how do they propose to not spam innocents that are listed in forged headers? I supposed this could be coordinated with tcpdump or somesuch on a router or even implemented on a transparent mail proxy but again innocents will likely get bombarded or it could be used to DOS an innocent.

Is this ... (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011750)

Is this like 'fighting fire with fire' or the 'an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind' situation?

What if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011757)

...the spammers themselves use this service? Could their system get jammed by messsages going back and forth?

But really, suppose you take the most prominent IP adress out of the email, how on earth are you going to send an email back to him/her when port 25/tcp is closed (or does not connect to an SMTP service)?

To me, this sounds like wasted traffic, which has a price. So it's wasted money.

Nan Awg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12011766)

<WinX> NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - IBM is set to unveil a service Tuesday that will send unwanted e-mail back to the spammers who send them, according to a published report Tuesday.
<WinX> oh THAT will be rich
<WinX> The paper reports that, using that database, e-mails coming from a computer on the spam list are sent directly back to the computer, not just the e-mail account, that sent them.
<WinX> I really want to know how exactly they plan on accomplishing that particular feat of wizardy.
<bleen> yeah
<bleen> like my mx boxes dont get enough spam, now they will send it back?
<bleen> good way to use bandwith there IBM
<WinX> they realize it will add load to the network, but justify it by saying that they have their eyes set on the long term goal of eliminating spam entirely.
<WinX> good luck!
<duncan> winx: lasers! from space!
<WinX> oh. that explains it.

No no no...nail the spam advertisers (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011773)

The best idea is not hit the spammer, but the people advertising using the spammer. If they can generate enough traffic to hit the advertiser with essentially a DDOS, then the advertisers will go somewhere else.
Somehow I think the scum bag advertisers will be shut kdown without much effort and hopefully go back to selling knock off Rolex's on street corners.

Solution? (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011774)

Seems to me that most spammers will just disallow incoming mail.

Otherwise, sounds good to me.

With the increase in the cost of bandwith to ISPs (that allow zombies), this will hopefully force ISPs to shut off these connections.

Others may assume that these people will just pick up and move to another ISP... but I doubt it.

The majority of people only have a few options open to them when it comes to an ISP, and when their internet is not working they generally want to find and fix the problem, not cancel (if they even can, without breaking a contract) or pay a few hundred dollars to go to a new ISP (hardware, set-up fees, etc.).

Plus I'm betting that most people are more willing to run Ad-Aware (or get a neighboorhood kid to clean up their computer, for $30 or so), then wait a week switching to a new ISP.

Heres what happens in order (5, Insightful)

dalewj (187278) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011790)

1) Person on comcast gets zombie-fied
2) starts sending out spam to say IBM
3) IBM sends back spam to the zombie
4) IBM gets put on every RBL list because it actually is sending spam, think about it
5) comcast and every major company using that RBL and every user in comcast can no longer get mail from IBM
6) IBM yells and screams to RBL list owner that they really arent sending spam, just well sending back email to people who didn't ask for it, or didn't want it or didn't sign up for it. OK they are sending spam... just not bad spam.

Only positive I see is maybe ISPs like comcast might wake the hell up and start cleaning up the problems and stop ignoring their users.

How does it hurt spammers? (3, Insightful)

Elixon (832904) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011798)

Suppose the spammer's machine that sends 200k e-mails per hour. This machine is for sending only. It does not have any port for receiving e-mails opened. So - the throughtoutput must be high to send out 200k of e-mails, and what they will do to the spammers? If all servers (it is not likely to happen) are having IBM soft then they will receive 200k attempts per hour to connect to blocked ports on spammers machine while trying to hit back... And this is going to stop them? :-) Their specialized machines tuned for sending with no receiving capabilities against high-performance spam-analyzing machines that will waste CPU by identifying spam and waste bandwith while trying repeatdly pass e-mail to some blocked ports on spammers machine... Hm. I don't understand it. Just another way how to hurt people afected by spam by selling the useless software/hw to them.

useless tactic (3, Insightful)

msblack (191749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011800)

IBM's tactic is utterly useless because the vast majority of spam originates from zombie PCs. Those zombie system may have an SMTP engine to generate spam, but they most likely do not have port 25 open. Bouncing the spam back will be futile. It is more likely to generate a new denial-of-service attack: send a spam to IBM and watch them fight in vain attempting to bounce back the message.

Most of spam went through blind relays 5 years ago (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011814)

and as many open and blind relays got shut down, spammers got new technologies (|-|ac|0rz actually helped them) such as DSL zombie trojans.

I suppose it's true, these may well disable the actual machines sending the spam.

Hmm, some fool whose zombie machine gets shut down by IBM ... company with deep pockets ... law$uit. "So what if it was spamming, it was working fine until you Big Blue guyz hacked it."

"Make Money Fast with a Zombie Machine on the Net" spamming only ibm.com addy's.

What are we doing? (1)

tbase (666607) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011819)

A discussion on a techie website about article on a financial website about a techie problem and proposed solution. I RTFA- let the groundless speculation fly!

Come on people, don't you find it a bit hard to believe that a company like IBM is going to attempt what they're saying in the article, for obvious reasons? There's something major missing from this article.

FairUCE.com (1)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011826)

Spam just lost the battle.
- FairUCE.com [fairuce.com]

Doesn't appear to be related to IBM based on whois info.

Cold War (1)

True Freak (57805) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011828)

This seems a bit like an internet cold war. We'll send ours...then they'll send theirs...then we'll send some more...and they will send some more...etc...untill the internet as a whole just shuts down under the load. Then no one will win. Tic Tac Toe anyone?

How do they determine the right IP address? (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011833)

This is one thing that I'm concerned about. I get a lot of spam where the headers are forged to make it look as though the originating computer is in the middle of the whole e-mail routing process. So, for anyone who doesn't know better, they look at the first IP address and assume that that's the guilty system. I'm finding that more and more this is not the case.

If their system gets such a spam, how exactly are they going to determine which IP address is the true, valid IP address? If they do nothing more than find the first IP address in the header chain, the spammers can easily fool the system. Hell, they could even use it to trick the IBM system to DDOS a completely innocent site that they just don't like!

Yeah, that will be impossible to avoid... (2, Informative)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12011845)

ipchains -A input -s $MYNETWORKS -j ACCEPT
ipchains -A input -p tcp -dport 25 -j DENY

I mean, I suppose in theory IBM could DOS my ipchains, but this is rate-limited by what I'm capable of sending out, which is significantly less than ipchains could handle.

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