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2006 Aug 31 17:22

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] spam current events
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Re: [vox-tech] spam current events

On Thu, 31 Aug 2006, Micah J. Cowan wrote:

Note that they don't do this anymore (this is mentioned at the end of
the article). The spammers' response was effective enough to win them
the battle :(

I've been using the bayesian filter "spamprobe" for a few years now, and been very happy with it, but it crashed a few weeks ago, around the time more messages were slipping through (of the 100s per day I receive). I had to delete the database, which had grown to about 50MB, and start over, and since then it has been pretty effective. So I wonder if purging the database before the crash, to remove less relevant words, would also have restored the effectiveness of spamprobe.
The torrent of spam I receive is mostly due to owning several domains and having their e-mail sent to my address. Since it gets on my nerves, I've been interested for the past several years in strategies - like the one described in the above article - to use the spam against the spammer to help reduce the problem on a global scale. The vulnerability I see in Blue Security's strategy is that their attack wasn't distributed, so they were an easy target for the spammers. Although the concept is rather gray-hat, the strategy I like most is to increase the cost of advertizing with spam by increasing traffic (and hosting fees) on the servers that host the spammer's web sites, without increasing sales. There are some web pages (such as Spam Vampire) that download images from spam advertized web sites and are very convenient to use, but filling those pages with links from my own spam is inconvenient. The best way I've found to make use of the links in my own spam is to extract them with a php script, screen out the innocent links as much as possible, and create shell scripts containing wget statements to be started with cron. These scripts can then be distributed easily and run on even tiny systems, like the Linksys WRT54G/S router under OpenWRT. It seems to me that if enough people chipped in that spammers would start moving on, and the remaining spammers would get even more unwanted traffic. I envision an extinction of spam, if this sort of strategy ever gets enough momentum.

- Chris
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