Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Extortion by spammers

I haven't met anyone who enjoys spam, what some of us have had to do here on our own blogs to deal with the spammers is irritating at times. Yet Spam has taken on very menancing form that in some cases is actually extortion.

As the above linked Washington Post article points out, this isn't just about email boxes or blogs being spammed or even Blue Security folding under the threats of the spammers:

Alan Paller, director of research for the Bethesda-based SANS Institute, a computer security training group, said extortion attacks have exploded in the past few years. With Blue Security, Paller said, the attackers' extortionist demands were that the company merely stop interfering in a multimillion-dollar spam operation.

"We're hearing from federal law enforcement that they are getting more than one new case of online extortion each day," Paller said.

And it can affect many people:

The spammer's counterattack generated so much Internet traffic that it also affected other sites, including Six Apart Ltd., a San Francisco-based company that runs millions of Web sites through its TypePad and LiveJournal blogging services. The attack also shut down operations for roughly 12 hours at Tucows Inc., a Toronto-based Internet services company that helped manage Blue Security's site.

Tucows chief executive Elliot Noss called the attack "by far the largest the company had ever seen," and said that only a handful of companies have the infrastructure in place to withstand such an assault, much less a more powerful one.

"This attack really was like trying to take out a mosquito with an atomic bomb," Noss said.

What to me is most irritating is none of us are going to buy the crap these spammers send us anyway. Or at least we shouldn't. Maybe that should be the goal, to get the message out there to never ever ever buy anything from these spammers. If they ceased to make a profit they'd cease spamming.