[linux-elitists] paul graham on spam

Modus Operandi modus@as220.org
Tue Mar 30 20:47:36 PST 2004


This may be old news to Karsten et. al., but I found these two articles
on spam and statistical filtering to be of interest:

  "Will Filters Kill Spam?"
	http://www.paulgraham.com/wfks.html

  "Filters That Fight Back"
	http://www.paulgraham.com/ffb.html

Of particular interest is the idea of spidering spammers' sites in order
to hammer their servers -- better than challenge-response systems, and
similar in effect to teergrubing:

> I'd like to suggest an additional feature to those working on spam
> filters: a "punish" mode which, if turned on, would spider every url
> in a suspected spam n times, where n could be set by the user.
>
> As many people have noted, one of the problems with the current email
> system is that it's too passive. It does whatever you tell it. So far
> all the suggestions for fixing the problem seem to involve new
> protocols. This one wouldn't.
>
> If widely used, auto-retrieving spam filters would make the email
> system rebound. The huge volume of the spam, which has so far worked
> in the spammer's favor, would now work against him, like a branch
> snapping back in his face. Auto-retrieving spam filters would drive
> the spammer's costs up, and his sales down: his bandwidth usage would
> go through the roof, and his servers would grind to a halt under the
> load, which would make them unavailable to the people who would have
> responded to the spam.
>
> Pump out a million emails an hour, get a million hits an hour on your
> servers.

What do elitists think of this technique?

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