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Russian Minister Gets Spammed, Spams Back 406

Posted by simoniker
from the in-soviet-russia-you-insert-punchline dept.
elhim writes "According to an article in the Moscow Times: 'Spammers last week got on the wrong side of the wrong man, and quickly found themselves with a taste of their own medicine. The man? Deputy Communications Minister Andrei Korotkov. Tired of the endless spate of unsolicited messages that clog e-mail systems everywhere, [Korotkov and others devised] ...an audio message to be volleyed nonstop to the telephone numbers listed in the... [email] spam messages.' Sometimes Russia reminds me of the Wild West."
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Russian Minister Gets Spammed, Spams Back

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  • Spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LCookie (685814)
    Oh well I did the same multiple times.. Spamming back is a viable alternative to getting angry I think.. Plus it hits the spammers where it hurts them most...
    • by tankdilla (652987) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:03AM (#6519619) Homepage Journal
      For those of you new to Slashdot and fellow veteran Slashdotters, this is a PSA. As we all know there are many running jokes around here, i.e. the CowboyNeal option, 1. stupid action 2. ??? 3. Profit, beowulf clusters of everything, insensitive clod, and of course the most recently added SCO jokes, as well as many others I'm forgetting. By far, one of the most annoying of the running gags is IN SOVIET RUSSIA! Being that this story is about Russia, be warned that a veritable slew of IN SOVIET RUSSIA jokes follow this post. Any and everyone has come out of the woodworks with bat in hand for the communal beating of a dead horse. So for those with bats, swing away, today is your day. For the rest of us, strap in and enjoy the bumpy ride of redundancy.
    • Re:Spam (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Picon (676270)
      Well if i was a Spammer and i get "Spam back attack", i will modify my "viable command return address" into the attacker address. Say for one day or two days.

      Of course it is a loss of money, but an efficient way to fight against "Spam back attack" :)

      But i'm not a Spammer :P

      • I just read the F. article (honest!) and at the end they admit that "it's possible to collect patterns from their e-mails and block certain logarithms".

        I wonder if they tried blocking log 0 :-)

  • by dizzy_p (66204) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:22AM (#6519483) Homepage
    I've always thought everything was bogus.

    I'll order the penis enlargement pills right away.

    --dpr
  • by minghe (441878) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:22AM (#6519486)
    First of all. A spam message with real, working means of contacting the sender? Why din't I ever get that? Only in Russia, I say.

    And second, that guy is hereby my god.
    • Re:Phone numbers? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:29AM (#6519514)
      What is the point in advertising a language course, putting a phone number in the message for interested people to call, and then put in a fake number?

      A spam message that attempts to start a transaction usually includes some way to contact the sender (or at least, the one that wants his product advertised). This is a lead to stop the spam by abusing it.
    • Re:Phone numbers? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:13AM (#6519648)
      1. That **ing American English Center send out its REAL phone numbers. It's Runet's curse for months now - all civilized attempts to get them down failed. They change mails everyday writing something like 'Tsent rAmerican sko goAngliy skogo' instead of 'Tsentr Americanskogo Angliyskogo' or 'Amer icanEngli shCen ter' to get the filters fooled.

      Still I don't expect broken windows, masked armed men in their office and Militia (our local police) officers showing them a prescription to 'clean out' from there... It is a dream of almost everybody here, but it is not going real any day.

      And their management which is 'very far, too far from here to get phone calls' - these people seem to be just insane i-net villains, striving not for business, but to 'show these Russian swines' who is the king of the hill around.

      2. Read the article more accurately: even Andrey Korotkov had to confirm: that resounding measure didn't bring much good. God or not, but the problem remains.
  • by Mooncaller (669824) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:25AM (#6519498)
    Just hope the numbers in the email are correct!

    BTW, Russia had its wild east. While we had our mountain man era, the Russian had theirs, except they were going in the other direction. The parellels continue untill the turn of the century!

    • Cowboy Baby (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr_luc (413048)
      The turn of the century SUCKED.

      It marked the death of the frontier. (I know, blah blah Indians were there first, but the population density was never that great and there were always massive sections of uninhabited land). The remaining frontiers are largely closed to the ordinary man, and are unlikely to ever be truly opened again to the point where you can just go somewhere, stake off a chunk of land, and just LIVE there, and have it be LEGAL.

      I know, I know. Progress. We live 1.6 times as long, that's a
  • The "wild west" aspect has long been the source of attraction for me. And not just Russia, but all those former members of the federation. Definitely dangerous, but rife with promise as well.

    Just like that other "wild west" once was - before it was planted with the neon of corporations.

    Coincidentally, I just finished a commentary [slashdot.org] on that very topic.

    (Notice I didn't say "ironic?")

  • by jurasource (568039) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:33AM (#6519528)
    Otherwise it would be totally useless right?

    Sure the from address is generally bogus, to skip past the basic anti spam methods out there, but something in the email must contain a valid phone number, web site, or address, otherwise how would the spammers make any money (and I suppose they must as they don't do it just to piss everyone off)
    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:49AM (#6519586)
      Yes and no. Spam almost never contains valid automatible contact information for the Spammer, but the Advertiser absolutely has to have some way of being contacted. It's hard work chasing spammers, so there's my usual anti-spam technique - piss off as many "Spammer Customers" as I can. I appear to have been removed from spam lists several times just for hassling a few CEOs...
    • The contact info is often only a website hosted in somewhere like Vanatu with "Give us your credit card number and we'll send you Viagra, honest. No really, trust us." I don't like thinking about just how stupid someone would have to be to buy stuff from spam.
    • No. Sometimes the spam has other reasons that aren't so clear. In fact I was just discussing this with someone from a bank's cc security department.

      Recently there has been a number of spams with a twist on the getting asked to dial 90#. So why is there spam tring to convince people that an get an old trick to be considered to an urban ledgend? Its odd that someone is spending so much effort to get that message out.

      In the past spam has been used to attempt to drive up stock prices and hurt other compai
    • Okay, so every spam needs to have a point. I'll buy that. But then what about this? I review subject lines of blocked spam to be sure no obviously legitimate email gets blocked. I really didn't think this one was legitimate, I just thought the subject line was funny, so I had to read the rest:

      Subject:Dimensional Warp Generator Needed hqz ogrvr ertph

      Hello,

      I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Since nobody here seems to be able to get me what I need (safely here to me), I will have to build a simple ti

    • Not always (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AndroidCat (229562) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:45AM (#6520189) Homepage
      The exception to the rule are pump'n'dump spammers. They push the virtues of some penny stock in hopes that some suckers will buy, pushing up the price. Then when the stock hits a peak, they unload their stock (profit!) and let the suckers take the fall.

      For that, they don't need a contact method.

    • Only if the point is to sell the advertised product. Not all spam need be so direct.

      For example: CALL 1-800-SOMEBODY-THE-SPAMMER-HATES AND WE WILL GIVE YOU FREE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!

      So people start calling some random business's 1-800 number demanding their free money or complaining about the spam. Phone bill goes through the roof, legit calls get DOS'ed, and the spammer might actually be able to put some small company out of business.

      I'm sure the more creative among you could come up with even more fun scen
  • by darnok (650458) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:33AM (#6519529)
    OK, I will

    Phone rings: "Let this be a warning to you: in Soviet Russia, spam *recipient* drives you crazy"

    Hang up

    Phone rings...
  • Beware the Joe-Job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Famous Brett Wat (12688) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:35AM (#6519533) Homepage Journal
    Turnabout is fair-play. I used to make a point of phoning one of the local well-known-spammers when feeling particularly irate about him (usually just after getting spammed about the same old same-old again). Haven't heard from him in a while, though. In any case, I want to emphasise that you should be careful when you retaliate. There is such a thing as a Joe-Job (named after joes.com) in which a malicious third party sends out a metric buttload of spam claiming to be from you, and advertising your website, just in an attempt to cause shit for you. This relies, in part, on third parties taking retaliatory action. My own website has been the subject of numerous Joe-Jobs this year, strangely enough. So make sure you aren't hitting back at an innocent bystander.

    Oh, and in Soviet Russia, the punchline inserts you. Sorry, but it had to be said.

    • by afidel (530433) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:47AM (#6519580)
      Sounds like on of my pranks from the BBS days, when someone would piss me off I would post an ad for a hot car at an unbelievable price on all the local BBS's and put down their phone number and contact hours of like 1am-4am, then I would go to the stores that had index card ad boards and do the same =)
    • HArder to do to a member of government, espicaly one from Rusia. Any time you deal with a large govenment you deal with latge resources adn the law on your side. In Russia, you also deal with the fact that civil rights is an issue as yet to be seriously discussed. If the spammer choses to retaliate, they could find themselves on the recieving end of some policemen that figure it is ok to beat the fuck out of a suspect.
      • If the spammer choses to retaliate, they could find themselves on the recieving end of some policemen that figure it is ok to beat the fuck out of a suspect.
        IN SOVIET RUSSIA...

        suspects fuck the shit out of the beat.

      • HArder to do to a member of government, espicaly one from Rusia. Any time you deal with a large govenment you deal with latge resources adn the law on your side.

        Not if the spammer is an American.

        • Imagine a UN WMD inspection team desending on your warehouse full of penise enlargement pills looking for chemical weapon materials being smuggled!

          I'm also sure there is a law somewhere pertaining to persons interfering with government operations in the US and very probably it doesn't define gov ops as USG only so it likely that it applies to interfering with foriegn governments as well because the several states are foriegn governments too.
    • If you design a retaliation plan that just cansels out the benefits of spam. Then joe-job'ing someone whould also have no effect(since the "fake" spam benefits them the same amount as it hurts them). Now both "fake" and "sincere" spam is both useless.

      The difficult part is designing the perfectly balanced retaliation sceme.

    • by TheMidget (512188) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:26AM (#6520083)
      Another method of turnaround: Sql injection!

      It's crazy how many spam websites are running on IIS with .asp scripts (or even better: .aspx!) as a frontend [hick.org], and Microsoft Sequel Server as a backend [hick.org] .

      Just type a spare single quote into the "remove me from your list" box, and watch as parts of the SQL query are displayed. Experiment a bit, and transform this into a query that clears the entire subscribers list, or that changes their spam messages to something funny, or that keeps the subscriber list but replaces all e-mail addresses by their own whois contact (or better: their upstream provider's whois..), etc.

      For starters, the following string often removes the entire list when entered into the remove me box:

      ' or '' = '

      (that's two single quotes between the or and the = sign).

      If the site has an "affiliate program" (look around a bit...), the same string entered as a user name into the affiliate programme's login box might let you in, with a little bit of luck. If not, try the following instead (again, there are only single quotes in the string, no double quotes):

      ' or ''='' or ''='

      If it still doesn't help, try to repeat the same string in the password box.

      If still not ok, you may need to use a union statement:

      x' union all select top 1 null,null,null from sysobjects;--
      Start with one null, and keep adding more until the "parameter number mismatch" error disappears. Patience may be needed, certain login scripts require more than 40 nulls! Then start replacing the nulls with your desired password string, and attempt to find a combination which doesn't give you a type mismatch error.

      Example:

      x' union all select 'zozo', null, 'zozo', null

      Then enter zozo into the password box. With a little bit of luck, this method may let you in.

      Once you're in, you've access to the affiliate's (i.e., the spammer's) account:

      • home address: always nice for a baseball bat expedition, or to pull an Alan Ralsky [freep.com] on the spammer.
      • phone number: on your way to work, give your friend a call! One from each phone booth that you encounter! Write the number on bathroom stalls! Post it to slashdot!
      • bank account number: well, just change it to your own!
      • website URL: change it to you know what [hick.org]
      • social security number: post it to as much places as you can
      • ...
      The benefit of such actions is twofold: not only does it teach the spammer not to spam, but it also tells him that Windows (and especially aspx + Sequel Sewer) is not a very secure technology.

      Have fun!

      • by Kalak (260968) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @10:03AM (#6521739) Homepage Journal
        An Insightful goatse - I'm impressed. It didn't really offend me in this context. I even expected it coming in the cotext you set up, and I'd love to add a "funny" on it for the punchline. Nice website defacement idea.

        Too bad screwing with their database technically illegal, since the database is an "asset" for the company. The injection you propose would hurt their asset. You might be removing addresses that opted in (yeah, right).

        I wouldn't try this at home, kids.
    • Yes, the scenario you describe is exactly what has kept me from writing some software to automatically redial spammer 1-800 numbers endlessly and rack up their long distance bills. The crap people leave on my car windows, the junk piling up in my snail mailbox at home, and the large volume of spam which flows into my email account like a wave of putrid filth... all of this stuff might be coming from the spammer OR it might be coming from a third party trying to get someone they don't like harassed by a mob
  • by mccalli (323026) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:36AM (#6519536) Homepage
    Now this I like the sound of. From the article:
    "With the brainstorming help of the Group Against Harmful Programs...".

    The Group Against Harmful Programs. Wonderful. Sort of like the Fantastic Four, or the X-Men. Sounds like the sort of thing Tron would belong to. "That's Tron, he fights for the users under the banner of the Group Against Harmful Programs"...

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Entertaining, yes. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aerojad (594561) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:38AM (#6519547) Homepage Journal
    It really is too bad that there continues to be no legal recourse to fight spam though. An arms race of annoyance between spammers and spam-ees probably wouldn't be the best solution though, but something does have to be done eventually. It would be nice to go back to having one e-mail address instead of various "spam" addresses and then my personal e-mail... which of course still gets spam.
    • by johannesg (664142)
      It is true there is no legal recourse *yet*, but we now know beyond doubt that a highly placed russian government official is aware of the problem. This raises the hope that a law against spam could be in the works too.

      Of course, being the russian government, they do have other options, like sending in the special forces for example. It wouldn't have to cost them anything - spammers are not likely to fight back, and I'm sure people would pay to see footage of a swarm of Hinds obliterating a spammers hideo

  • China? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x@sTEAnkmail.com minus caffeine> on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:40AM (#6519554) Homepage Journal
    "..an audio message to be volleyed nonstop to the telephone numbers listed in the... [email] spam messages.' "

    Wasn't there an article some months ago about something simimlar happenning in china? 'Entrepreneurs' would illegally put up advertisements (i.e. posters) all over the place where you have to phone a number to get the product. (Typically these would be mobile phone numbers that were prepaid so there was no name on the account.)

    The law enformenet officials would leave an endless loop of messages on tht moble's answering machine that they must turn themselves in and such. I doubt that they actually expected anyone to turn themselves in, but it made all those posters with the number on them useless and thus discouraged putting them up in the first place.

    I wonder if this russian fellow was inspired by that action.

    • I wonder if this russian fellow was inspired by that action.

      I doubt it -- if you RTFA you'll see the minister trusted a spammer to remove him from their list -- not the act of a well-informed individual.
  • by lovebyte (81275) * <lovebyte2000@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:41AM (#6519556) Homepage
    From the article:
    Spammers have ways to get around anti-spam filters, he said, but it's possible to collect patterns from their e-mails and block certain logarithms.

    What's the point? They will use polynoms! Oh.. I guess they meant algorithms.
  • by FredThompson (183335) <fredthompson&mindspring,com> on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:42AM (#6519563)
    At one time I had a small software company. We outsourced all the phone and fax messages since we didn't have people to work 24/7/365.

    One of the things I learned is an incoming toll-free fax cost me a lot more than a voice call because a single page fax was completed very quickly and the charge was per call/per page.

    So...if you're getting hit with crap like junk faxes, fax it back to them on their toll-free fax number about 30 times.

    It took about a month of this but I don't get lots of junk fax anymore, except for the a**holes that block caller ID and don't list a number to get off their list.

    Another fun trick was to use a standard fax machine with a continuous loop of paper. Let that baby run for about 10-15 minutes and you'll create a lot of clutter on the receiver's end.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:45AM (#6519572)
    If there ever was a group of people that should be sent to the Gulag, it's spammers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:46AM (#6519576)
    A smart spammer would be using 0900 numbers... Make
    • me
    money fast!!! Just call 0900-555-555 (calls cost $9.99 per minute, children/ministers please ask your parents/president first)
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @04:55AM (#6519596)
    6. Ukrainian farm girls and animals. free web membership

    5. Enlarge your putin today!

    4. If you order today, you get a free Russian space shuttle [space.com]

    3. Free Vacation in Chechnya, Enlist today!

    2. Out of work Russian comedian, will work for food. E-mail yakov@smirnov.com

    1. Meet beautiful American wives!
  • by Sara Chan (138144) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:04AM (#6519621)
    I once tried something similar. I got the telephone number, which turned out to be in Uzbekistan. Then I set up my fax program to repeatedly dial the number, whenever I wasn't using the phone line for the internet. Thus, every time they answered the phone in Uzbekistan, they got a fax machine trying to get through--hence effectively disabling their phone line. And because this was in a different country, they couldn't trace me.

    I didn't worry about the cost of the calls, because the people in Uzbekistan soon figured out that the calls were almost all faxes. I reckoned that even if they picked the phone up 10 times a day (to check to see if I'd stopped), it was worth the cost. Calls are only charged when they pick up the phone, right? So I let this go on for over a month.

    Then I got my telephone bill. It was in the thousands. It turns out that there are three countries in the world where, if you phone there, you get charged even if no one answers the phone. And Uzbekistan is one of those countries!

    I didn't know about that, and I complained to the phone company about the bill. But my case seemed weak because I was, it's fair to say, abusing the phone system. The phone company ended up splitting the bill in half, and I paid the rest.

    I don't know if my attempts had any long-term effect on those nice folks in Uzbekistan. But at least I tried.

  • UK Spam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbrw (520) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:05AM (#6519623) Homepage
    Two days ago I got a spam from a local (London, UK) company trying to get me to go to their event. It had a 378Kb attachment to it. Thanks.

    The kicker was that the disclaimer said it was impossible to unsubscribe, as it was a carefully crafted one-time mailing list. I imagine i'll be on all future carefully crafted one-time mailing lists for them in the future too.

    The email was sent with a from line of "[something]@noreply.com" or similar (which breaches their ISPs AUP), and if I was to contact them via their email address listed on their website, by their logic i'd have contacted them, thus allowing them to continue to spam me (since we'd then have an existing relationship).

    So - best course of action? The Advertising Standards Authority, whose standards they ahve breached, seems to be a toothless tiger set up by the industry to pay lip-service to the general public (any ruling against an advertiser seems to result in a ruling of "we advised them to contact us in future before undertaking a similar campaign"). I'm not aware of any specific legislation to stop this (although i'd like to know where they got my email address from. Should I unleash the Data Protection Act?).

    So, what's the best way to hit back? Complain to the ISP? File an ultimatetly useless complaint to the ASA? What?
    • Re:UK Spam (Score:5, Funny)

      by MythMoth (73648) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:34AM (#6519722) Homepage
      If there's a phone number, then leaflet all of the phone boxes in the Kings Cross area with it advertising their "services"...

      D.
    • Re:UK Spam (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:38AM (#6519738) Homepage

      Give the ASA a try. They bitchslapped Telewest for me for repeatedly "forgetting" that I'd unsubscribed from their spam. The response was rapid, but they were fairly clueless - I sent full plain text headers, and they got back to me asking what the recipient email address was. D'oh.

      Best case, I never get spam from Telewest again. Middle case, they spam me again and I get to find out what the ASA does to repeat offenders. Worst case, I get the spam, the ASA does nothing, but at least I get to piss off them by forwarding the spam. I have a vague hope that swamping the ASA with UK spam might get the problem addressed.

      I don't believe that contacting someone to tell them to cease and desist constitutes having a business relationship. I'm sure that J. Random Spammer would assert otherwise, but you do need a record of telling them to get lost. What have you got to lose?

    • Re:UK Spam (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hawthorne (220575)
      All of the above

      First, complain to their ISP. State clearly in the complaint that their customer is sending unsolicited email, and have not had your permission to mail them. If they are advertising a website hosted by a different ISP then complain to that ISP too.

      According to the DPA, they need to have obtained your consent in order to process your data - ask the ISP if they can obtain that proof for you.

      Second, post a copy to news.admin.net-abuse.sightings so evidence of their spammishness will be archi

  • for they find annoying people & problems crunchy and rather tasty.

    In Soviet Russia, spam spams you back!
    • In Soviet Russia, spam spams you back!

      No, I think you'll find this happened in capitalis Russia. In Soviet Russia the spammer would have been invited by some nice men from the KGB to go and play with their thumb screws, then sent on an all expenses paid holiday to Siberia. Don't you miss the good old days?

  • At last (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fatquack (538774) * on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:12AM (#6519646)
    a minister who reads his email. If more politicians read their own email (and not a hapless assistant) the problem of spam would be evident to them and antispam legislation would be nearer.
    And yes, I know legislation is not the sole solution, but legislation plus technical solutions is the best bet in my opinion.
  • So can we point this guy to the SCO legal department? Get them boys in Lindon Utah hoppin'. Ideally get some home and cell numbers...

    "Hello?"
    "Theese ees caal frrom Russia. tsk tsk tsk... [click]" :)
  • In Soviet Russia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @05:30AM (#6519712) Homepage
    Just shut the fuck up, already. It wasn't funny six months ago, it's not funny now.
  • by Pflipp (130638) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @06:04AM (#6519803)
    ...remember that there are some (lots of) spams out there that make money on the price-per-minute of the phone line you're trying to flood!
  • Ring Ring!

    Oh A customer!
    (picks up phone)

    Ni!
  • by aaaurgh (455697) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @06:29AM (#6519877)
    I recently got on the mailing list of a surf company in Sydney, I've no idea how since I'm in Perth and can't surf (Ex-pom).

    I started receiving almost weekly newsletters and updates and, despite numerous phone calls and e-mails with the usual promises to comply, I just couldn't get off the list... then they sent the 2.5 Mb Word document, you know the type!

    I e-mailed back and told them that they'd filled up my e-mail account and caused me to miss some important e-mails, plus cost me time and money due to the download costs. I advised them that, as they were now affecting my business, I'd be invoicing them $25+GST administration fee for each and every e-mail I received from then on and that if they didn't pay, I'd hand the account to a debt collection agency - one that takes a cut of the recovery value.

    I cautioned them that it would not concern me if I received nothing from the agency but that such action could affect their credit rating. What a surprise(!), I've received nothing since.

    If you can justify charging a fee to the spammer for administration or storage or anything like that, sufficient to stand up reasonably in a small claims court, then you should threaten to invoice the spammer and use a debt collection agency - it just might work for you too.
  • Go for the source (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zornorph (63846) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:00AM (#6519982) Homepage
    This is the avenue we should be pursuing when trying to stop spam. Instead of trying to stop the spammers themselves, go after the source (advertiser) instead. If enough advertisers are convinced/shamed/etc that spamming is a bad thing, they will go elsewhere to get their message out, and the spammers will magically disappear.
  • Exploit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skinfitz (564041) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:08AM (#6520010) Journal
    ...cut to spammers setting up premium rate numbers to put in their SPAM messages in the hope that people will spam them back by calling them all the time.
  • Wild West (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wordsmith (183749) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:11AM (#6520020) Homepage
    Was there a lot of spam in the wild west?
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:21AM (#6520059)
    How about an open source software project that creates a piece of software that attacks spammers using a SETI-style approach. Using spare bandwidth and CPU time, the software would repeatedly send requests to the links found in spam.

    Repeatedly loading the homepage of some spam-spawning viagra sales site would hurt the viagra sales company. Companies that advertize with spam would find their bandwidth charges skyrocketing and their conversion rates plummetting. The key is to create disincentives for the e-commerce sites that try to flog their products and services using spam. While spammers can be anonymous, the e-commerce sites that use spam to get eyeballs need more permanence. Eventually, these companies would even penalize the 3rd-party spam sending companies for using email lists that generate too many spurious requests or that have low conversion rates (the spammer's pay drops if they send emails that lead to long streams of spurious requests).
    • Well, I'm not sure this would work out so well. (And I'm skipping over the fact that this is more or less a Distributed Denial of Service attack...) A lot of clueless companies only care about how many hits they get. They don't care (well, of course they do, but not entirely directly) whether or not you buy anything. They'll see that their newest spam company just got them 500% of the hits the last one did, and they'll pay the spammers extra, and tell all their 'friends' about how good the spammer is. Eve
      • Targeted marketing.

        It wont take them long to realize they are marketing to people unwiling to buy. Thus they are wasting their time and money. They will then feel negatively about it without even ever knowing what really happened.
      • The catch here is that if their servers get pummeled offline every time they boot back up, it might also occur to them that they rather dislike being unable to market and/or sell their products. They'll also (hopefully) get complaints from their ISP if traffic on the network gets bogged down. So, realistically, I doubt they'd be too impressed by 500 million hits if those hits tear their server to shreds. =)

  • by kmilani2134 (652045) * on Thursday July 24, 2003 @07:37AM (#6520136) Homepage
    Wondering what would happen if you spammed this Russian politician and placed the number for the White House or some other important number in the body of the spam. I bet George W. would like it if the Russians were spamming his office. :)
  • Yeah...we have all this hubub about all the overseas outsourcing, but I think we should hire him. Awww yeah. Let's get the Angry Russian on those spammers. I wonder how much he charges...
  • In Real Russia Spammers do not get call backs.. ..we take you out back in the woods and have you shot!
  • Easy Money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by donutello (88309) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @10:27AM (#6522063) Homepage
    1. Set up 1-900 number.
    2. Spam Russian minister.
    3. Profit.

    Ha!
  • For a little history, search for 'dot annoy' on google. It was a little unix script that did this with 'cu' back in the day.
  • Choice Quotes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bugmaster (227959) on Thursday July 24, 2003 @12:22PM (#6523429) Homepage
    "I want to warn you that if you continue your illegal activity, then the necessary measures will be taken not just by me," the Korotkov voice intoned, after giving his name and ministerial affiliation."
    As for how Korotkov's message was received by the language center's staff, Petrova said, "That question is for the management, who are not available." In fact, they were "very far away, too far away to receive phone calls," she said...
    Remember folks: this is Russia, where the leaders of the country are also the biggest crime lords. The spammers did the right thing when they suddenly became "very far away". If you're too far away to receive phone calls, you are also too far away to receive "necessary measures", such as a bullet to the head.

    This may sound cool and exotic, but it's actually pretty sad... Westerns are only fun to watch, they are not fun to live in. Especially when the robber gangs grow to the size of entire cities.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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