A bad problem, a bad solution, and
a bad outcome for all.
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Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some
of the many questions I get at askleo.info.
Earlier this week the anti-spam company Blue Security ceased its spam
fighting efforts in response to on-line attacks by spammers. Blue Security’s
approach to fighting spam was questionable at best, but the manner of its
demise is also very disturbing.
Blue Security’s approach was to build a do not spam list that people like
you and I would participate in. Sounds like a good idea, right? The “penalty”,
so to speak, for a spammer sending unsolicited email to the members of the
do-not-spam list was a return flood of unsubscribe requests. Now, many call
that justified, but I call it vigilante justice. That returned flood of
opt-out’s is equivalent to a denial of service attack, and that’s wrong, no
matter who does it or for what reasons.
So while I believe that Blue Security’s goal putting the breaks on spam was
laudable, in my opinion, their method was not. Two wrongs don’t make a
Not everyone agrees. In fact, when I got a question last week regarding Blue
Security, I replied by saying that their method really concerned me. The person
asking the question responded with what I’m sure is a common sentiment: at
least they’re doing something. People are so frustrated with spam, that doing
something, anything, no matter how ill conceived it might be, is seen as a good
As you might expect, violence begat violence, and their denial of service
attack on a spammer resulted in retribution in a big way. Blue Security’s
service was the victim of a denial of service attack, and they were taken off
the net. When they moved to a hosted solution, the attack moved with them, and
took down not only Blue Security, but SixApart’s TypePad blog hosting service
Spammer’s don’t care who they hurt. In fact, the spammer thought to be
responsible is quoted in The Register as saying “if [I] can’t send spam, there will be no
Now, while I disagree with Blue Security’s approach, the fact that they’ve
folded due to a spammer’s actions concerns me. It shows the spammers that the
internet equivalent of terrorism can work.
That doesn’t bode well for the future of the internet.
I’d love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10299 in
the go to article number box. Leave a comment, I read them all.
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