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Lycos Screensaver Tackles Spam Wesites  - Lycos Screensaver Tackles Spam Wesites
Mon, April 19 2004 | 10:23PM | PermaLink Feedback?

Net users are getting the chance to fight back against spam websites.
"Internet portal Lycos has made a screensaver (download here) that endlessly requests data from sites that sell the goods and services mentioned in spam e-mail. Lycos hopes it will make the monthly bandwidth bills of spammers soar by keeping their servers running flat out. The net firm estimates that if enough people sign up and download the tool, spammers could end up paying to send out terabytes of data.

By getting thousands of people to download and use the screensaver, Lycos hopes to get spamming websites constantly running at almost full capacity. Mr Pollmann said there was no intention to stop the spam websites working by subjecting them with too much data to cope with. He said the screensaver had been carefully written to ensure that the amount of traffic it generated from each user did not overload the web. "Every single user will contribute three to four megabytes per day," he said, "about one MP3 file."

Update - A campaign by Lycos Europe to target spam-related websites appears to have been put on hold.  Earlier this week the company released a screensaver that bombarded the sites with data to try to bump up the running costs of the websites.

"Lycos Europe's "Make love not spam" campaign was intended as a way for users to fight back against the mountain of junk mail flooding inboxes. People were encouraged to download the screensaver which, when their PC was idle, would then send lots of data to sites that peddle the goods and services mentioned in spam messages. Lycos said the idea was to get the spam sites running at 95% capacity and generate big bandwidth bills for the spammers behind the sites. But the plan has proved controversial. The downing of the sites could dent Lycos claims that what it is doing does not amount to a distributed denial of service attack. In such attacks thousands of computers bombard sites with data in an attempt to overwhelm them."

Original URL, circa 2004:

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