Hitting back at spammers

Spammers have not been deterred by filters or laws, so it is time for more drastic action, according to Blue Security. The Menlo Park, Calif., start-up thinks spammers will surrender if their Web sites are crippled by a flood of complaints about their annoying messages.

Blue Security is solliciting Internet users to participate in its complaint campaign. Users who sign up will have to install a client on their PC that, when Blue Security receives spam, will follow the links contained in the message and look for forms that accept text. The software then automatically fills out the fields with messages demanding removal from the spammer's list.

While Blue Security insists it is striking back at spammers in an ethical way, the company's methods look a lot like a denial of service attack. And that is only one of the problems with the system, critics agree. Blue Security may hit innocent Web sites and spammers may strike back, writes Scott Pinzon on the WatchGuard blog,

Ray Everett-Church, co-founder of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail and co-author of the book "Fighting Spam for Dummies," also thinks the Blue Security idea is "fraught with danger," he said in an interview.

Furthermore. Fighting abuse through floods of complaints will only if spammers really care about complaints. "Hardcore spammers will see this approach as a minor annoyance -- if they see it at all -- and keep right on spamming without a moment's hesitation," Everett-Church said.

About the author

    Joris Evers covers security.

     

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