Too much love?

Mentioned in comments on a thread yesterday, the ‘Make Love Not Spam’ anti-spam screensaver is proving very, very popular, or, as the BBC puts it, “getting out of control”. OK, so “Two of the [spam] sites being bombarded by data have been completely knocked offline”… and the problem is?

  • Fraggle

    Pete, if you take the time to read the article yourself, you’ll find out what the problem is.

  • peteb

    You assume that I haven’t read the article, Fraggle.

  • maca

    The problem is that if knocked off line it could be seen as a DOS attack and that’s a very serious offence! However if they hit all servers for 99% i’d be quite happy.
    I notice that the screensaver is now not connecting…

  • peteb


    The DOS level is a result of the popularity of the screensaver and that popularity can be attributed to the failure of certain authorities to take action against the spam sites using servers within their jurisdiction.

    I’d hope that some fine-tuning is all that’s required for the ss… but personally I’ll not be losing sleep over this particular DOS – which, as the article points out, isn’t as widely legislated against as some might believe.

  • Davros

    Pete and maca – please translate .

  • peteb

    Read the BBC article that’s linked, Davros.. any other questions and I’m sure someone will attempt to assist.

  • Davros

    I did – too much jargon 🙂 I’m just a simple country lad Pete.

  • James

    “I did – too much jargon 🙂 I’m just a simple country lad Pete.”

    The answer:
    “The pump don’t work
    Cause the vandals took the handles”

    If that didn’t explain everything:

    Denial Of Service = DOS

    You keep them so busy just replying to your ping or attempt to contact them that they do not have time to send anything out.

  • peteb

    bad vandals bad 😉

  • maca

    Davros, each webserver has a certain amount of bandwidth. The more visitors you get then the more bandwidth will be used up, and the server slows down under the load. In the case of the screensaver we are essentially “visiting” their websites and therefore using some of their bandwidth.
    The idea was to use 95% of their bandwidth slowing down their servers and sending their bills sky high.

    DOS, Denial of Service is when you basially overload the server so that it cannot respond to requests (each time you visit Slugger you make a “request” to Sluggers server). In this case you make so many requests that the server cannot handle anymore. DOS is a serious offence and is usually only done by hackers/crackers.

    … something like that …

    I know what you mean, however there’s a very thin line between what Lycos did and DOS.
    Having said that i’ve mailed them a supporting note, fair dues to them for coming up with the idea.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    It would appear that Lycos have had to close down the site. This appeared on the MacUser website today:

    Lycos runs up white flag in DoS war on spammers
    After a week of trading packet requests across the internet with spammers, Lycos Europe has pulled down its service. The site now features a single page with the logo.

    The site offered a screen saver download to customers which would then fire packets to known spammers’ websites. The scheme proved very popular. Too popular as many of its targets were not merely slowed down but actually brought to a halt – in contravention of various national laws which outlaw denial of service attacks.

    Not that the spammers felt the need to go to law. Instead they appear to have launched a reprisal DoS attack of their own forcing Lycos Europe to switch the IP address of the service towards the end of last week. Lycos Europe has now decided to run up the white flag.

    Nevertheless, Lycos Europe says that during the week the service was available generated over 100,000 downloads. If nothing else it shows there is a large degree of support in the online community for striking back at the spammers, even though, in this case, the spammers appear to have had the greater firepower and probably the law on their side.