Lycos Europe, according to The Register, is distributing “a special screensaver in a controversial bid to battle spam”. Make Love Not Spam “sends a request to view a spam source site. When a large number of screensavers send their requests at the same time the spam web page becomes overloaded and slow”.
The idea, of course, is to slow down servers allegedly delivering spam by overloading it with requests in what is called a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Lycos’ argument: The spam sites will get charged for the higher traffic, and eventually go out of business. As Aunty Spam, a website dedicated to spam issues, points out, Lycos may be skating on thin ice: denial of service attacks are illegal, at least in the U.S. “The problem is, just because you are part of DDOSing spammers rather than legitimate companies doesn’t make it any less illegal.”
I’d tend to agree. Tempting as it is to do this kind of thing, it’s not the way to go, and I’m surprised that Lycos is doing it. My bet is that Lycos Europe finds itself on the end of its own DDoS attack from vengeful spammers.