Saturday, December 04, 2004

Lycos attacks spammers

In a surprising move, Lycos Europe has started organizing a distributed denial-of-service attack against web sites run by spammers.
Lycos, via its site, is offering a free screensaver for download. The screensavers make constant http requests to spam websites. The idea is to slow down spam servers by overloading them - ie. by launching a DDoS. Which is illegal in many, many countries.
Although this seems like a good idea, I don't recommend using the screen saver because of possible legal problems.
In an interesting twist, apparently one of the spam sites under attack from Lycos' "Make Love not Spam" operation has turned the tables. The front page of a spammer site called (which used to sell cheap mortgage loans) has been changed to contain a Meta Refresh tag, redirecting all web traffic
As an end result, depending on how the Lycos client works, the screen savers downloaded from might be attacking the download site itself.
In another development, Lycos made a statement that this site was not defaced yet.
Lycos has confirmed that their screensaver does not follow Meta Refresh tags, so this attempt by spammers will fail. The site seems now to be temporarily unavailable...