Could hackers launch a denial-of-spam attack?

Feature

Could hackers launch a denial-of-spam attack?

I received several tempting offers in my e-mail inbox this morning. "Get free information on how a $10,000 investment could return $25,000 in less than 30 days." Others promise untold pleasures or reveal how I can reduce my debt.

Spam is choking the internet. The ease with which people can send out mass mailers is appalling. Internet service providers are failing to stop them.

The best advice is to ignore these dimwits. We are told only to accept e-mail from people in our contacts book that has been sent direct to us, rather than as a CC.

I wish someone would do something quickly because network bandwidth is expensive and the last thing you would want to receive over a 3G network is a spam message offering subscriptions to a porn site or another get rich scheme.

But, as Kevin Costner found out in the film Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. And the more avenues spammers have access to, and the more bandwidth that is available, the more messages they will send: to your internet e-mail address; your 3G mobile phone; your PDA; and even your set-top box.

Think about it: one day your internet-connected washing machine could receive a spam e-mail with a tempting offer of a hot date.

Government legislation is too little, too late. And Microsoft's threat of legal action against the culprits is unlikely to force them to run for cover.

Spammers are now using sophisticated hacking techniques to avoid detection. At some point soon, spammers will start using the technique found in the Melissa Word macro worm to spread using the e-mail contacts in our own Outlook address books, creating a kind of peer-to-peer spam.

It is about time the hacking community did us all a favour and stopped spammers for good. Why target innocent internet users with the latest MyLife worm or SoBig virus, which affects everyone, when they could target spammers.

Someone, somewhere, must be able to develop a hacking tool to spam the spammers and put their servers out of commission. They could potentially create a "denial of spam" attack that would wipe spam clean off the internet.

Come to think of it, there is likely to be a lot of money to be made from developing a universal way to can spam.

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This was first published in July 2003

 

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