November 7, 2005

Why Spammers Suck

Aubrey notes that the FBI has arrested and charged a young man with spamming, and if found guilty his life could get quite miserable indeed. (Good, says I.) Aubrey then goes on a little rant, which I will reproduce in part:

I’ve heard it said by spam apologists that it’s nothing personal that they attack your website. To them, it’s all business. Your PC is simply a commodity, to be infected with a bot and traded amongst spammers. Your website is another commodity to be used to gain hits for their clients. And it would appear that despite our best efforts, there is still money to be made

I've never understood the idea of defending spammers, particularly the kind of spammers who are not sending emails, but are using other people's computers to attack third parties or send spam emails, or are posting spams on blogs and other websites in order drive up a third party's rankings in search engines.

If someone were to break into my house, and store illegal or illicit goods in an unused part of my attic, and tell others how to break into my house to get the illegal goods, that would be wrong even though it is utilizing resources (attic space) that I was not myself using.

If someone were to break into my house, and use my phone to make telemarketing calls to others, that would be wrong even though it isn't costing me anything extra unless they call internationally.

If someone were to paint advertising slogans on my garage door without my permission, that would be wrong even though it does not detract from the utility of my garage.

And virtually everyone sees such actions and considers them wrong without any explanation. Yet some still defend people setting up peer-to-peer servers on hacked-into computers, using hacked-into computers to send email spam, and posting spam comments and trackbacks on blogs. Yet the cases are directly analogous. These kinds of computer attacks and misuses are nothing more than lowlife scum attempting to make me pay for things they want, or to direct possible legal retaliation at me rather than them. While I'm not sure that I would necessarily sanction the use of small caliber weapons at body extremities, I'm pretty sure I'd go for expulsion and exile following very public humiliation and the seizing of all the spammers' property, with the profits from auctioning it off going to the people the spammer inconvenienced.

Posted by jeff at 2:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

Meta Solutions

There's a lot of discussion of spam this week, of various kinds. Charles has been battling spammers in referrer logs, as has Aubrey. Then there is the solution to fax spam. I've recently spent quite a bit of time tweaking the anti-spam filters under MT3.2 (they're pretty good at this point, with only a very small number of false positives and an acceptable number of false negatives) as well as the .htaccess (for referrer spam protection) and my daily additions to the ipchains (that blocks an IP from even connecting). It occurs to me that we're putting obscene amounts of hours of productive people's time into fighting people abusing the Internet's mechanisms for their own (minimal) gain. (Really, just what is referral spam supposed to accomplish on the vast majority of sites that don't post their referral logs???)

What is needed here is a meta solution, a way to step outside the current problem and solve it at a higher level. Now, it would be nice to just shoot the offenders, since they obviously add nothing to human existence, but sadly, many of the offenders are in countries that would not take kindly to us shooting their citizens (generally, I suspect, because it usurps their prerogatives).

But there's another way: take it a level higher. If you get spammed from, ban everything from*. If that does not do it, ban everything from*.*. Eventually, you'd be able to totally eliminate spam. It would not take more than 254 rules. (Of course, that would block everyone everywhere, but hey, it would fix the problem.)

For some reason, I keep coming back to the "just shoot them" solution, though.

Posted by jeff at 11:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

More Spammers

I've decided to make this a weekly thing, so that there are fewer posts in amongst the good stuff. Hopefully, this is helpful to people in the first place.

Trackback spammers:

As an aside, is online poker really that interesting to people?

And here are the people trying to actually break into my server. While not spammers, they are in many ways more dangerous, while spammers are merely a nuisance.

Posted by jeff at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

June 5, 2005

More Spammers

Posted by jeff at 10:50 AM | TrackBack

June 3, 2005

More Banned IPs

Trackback spammers:

UPDATE: comment spammer

And have I mentioned how much I like MT3.x's ability to delete lots of spam quickly and get at all the comments from one place?

Posted by jeff at 6:11 AM | TrackBack

May 31, 2005

Yet Another for the Ban List - trackback spammer

UPDATE: some more trackback spammers:

Posted by jeff at 5:57 PM | TrackBack

May 29, 2005

Two More for the Ban List

For trackback spamming: and

Oh, and while I'm at it, here are the IPs I've blocked from even reaching my server (all praise to the authors of iptables), because they attempted to guess id/password pairs on the server.

Posted by jeff at 12:36 PM | TrackBack

May 26, 2005

One More for the Ban List

Yep, spam again:

Posted by jeff at 5:10 PM | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

One More for the Spam Filters

For trackback spamming:

Posted by jeff at 6:32 AM | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Another Spammer for the Ban List

Posted by jeff at 1:39 PM | TrackBack