When a large number of screensavers send requests at the same time, the spam web page becomes overloaded and slow, effectively allowing users to turn the tables on denial of service attackers.
However, Lycos itself was attacked from a number of directions...
Eventually, Lycos's screensaver website became inaccessible due to these attacks and Lycos ended up shutting the site down.
Although many of us who receive spam would be very sympathetic to Lycos's effort, it hadn't really been thought through... did they really not expect a DDoS counter-attack?
What Blue Security Did To Spam Spammers
One of the most publicized spam battles was that between a group of spammers and Blue Security Inc.
The company had asked spammers to stop sending unsolicited emails to their clients. However, asking spammers nicely to do something is often a waste of time. Seeing no results from this approach, the company decided to spam the spammers and convince them to stop sending junk email.
Blue Security Inc. organized their clients to bombard the spammers simultaneously with over half a million requests to stop spamming. This had a dramatic effect with a severe decline in spam levels being received.
However, a counter attack was soon to come... a Russian spammer refused to kow-tow to the resistance and flooded Blue Security Inc. with a denial of service attack (DDoS) that froze the company website and services -- it literally couldn't do business.
The spammer then threatened to send spam emails containing malware if Blue Security Inc. didn't stop their "spam spammers" action. The company decided to shut down its website to prevent a full-scale cyber-war.
This is a sad ending to a company brave enough to take on the spammers. But it's a warning that mounting such a campaign is going to bring a response.
Here's an individual who does it differently and achieves a profitable result...
Third Rock Shops Spam Spammers
Joel Gaines, president of Third Rock Shops, a Web-site developer in Tucson, sends his own advertisements back to spammers.
In nine months, five companies -- including a jewelry manufacturer, a coffee vendor, and a computer retailer -- signed on with Third Rock after Gaines replied to their spam with product pitches of his own!
Ask yourself what your motive is to spam spammers. Do you want to hit back -- just do something? Or are you on a crusade, where you want to take on a particular spammer or spammers in general, for example?
I suggest there are three courses of action open to those of us who want to take some type of action...
Option 1. Spam Spammers With SpamItBack
The examples above illustrate a type of action and the reaction. The first two of the spam spammers cases show that if you play the spammer's game and bombard them with spam, you are going to get a reaction... and you could be acting illegally and may risk a fight with your ISP.
However, there is a program called SpamItBack which reduces these risks considerably. I've looked at this software -- which is free by the way -- but I decided to combine antispam and to spam spammers in a single program, which we discuss next.
As for SpamItBack, it is not an anti-spam product, but designed purely to spam spammers. The software is sends messages to a selected group of individuals and companies that are confirmed spammers asking that they stop spamming via private spammer email boxes, online order forms and HTTP requests to weblogs.
The software is fully automated. Once you activate the package, the software starts sending messages to those spammers contained within its database.
A built in SMTP-server is included, which means that the software connects directly with the spammers host web server. The message is not transmitted by your ISP's servers, removing the risk of being shut down.
In addition, messages are sent with randomly generated return address and source information, so making it more difficult for the spammer to trace you and avoiding getting bombarded by them in return.
However, it is my view that a determined spammer could trace you in the same way that the spammer can be. To offer more protection, you can purchase the "bonus version" of SpamItBack which allows you to use proxy servers. Additionally it allows you to bounce back the emails that spammers send you.
For your download, visit SpamItBack
Option 2... Spam Spammers With MailWasher Pro
The second option to spam spammers is bouncing back spam to spammers. It's a little like the example of Joel Gaines, where you can make life a little more difficult for the spammers, without receiving a crushing onslaught in return.
By bouncing back to the spammer the junk he/she is sending to you, not only are you helping clutter their inboxes, but the return message says that the spammers message was unable to be delivered. This implies that the email address is incorrect and some spammers will remove your address from their lists... a big bonus.
I use an spam blocker program called MailWasher Pro... use block link.
This software not only bounces back spammer's junk mail, it has all four filters that I discussed in The Four Types Of Spam Slammers, to filter out spam. You can also automatically send the spam you receive to anti-spam organizations who will use the information to detect and take action against spammers.
Most importantly, you check your mail at your mail server with MailWasher Pro and not at your inbox like most mail managers, such as Outlook and Outlook Express. This means that you will never accidentally trigger malware that is often contained in spam.
For me, this is the safest and most effective antispam software available... and it allows you to spam spammers with subtlety! I've written an article on my experiences with MailWasher Pro, which you can read by clicking on the link to MailWasher Pro.
Option 3. Spam Spammers... AntiSpam Organizations
The third option is not really about how to spam spammers, but it is still about taking action against them. This option is about reporting known spammers to antispam organizations who work with ISPs and law enforcement agencies to close down and prosecute proven spammers.
Some of you may find this route too passive... particularly when many ISPs appear to drag their feet before taking any action or find they cannot take action as the spammers are offshore.
However, the organizations are dedicated, have the time and resources and have also notched up some considerable successes in prosecuting spammers.
Here are two of the largest organizations who will investigate spam reports...
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