But, I don’t like spam!

How should I say this politely: I do not like spam! I hate spam. Can I choose something different? Perhaps a nice cold beer on such a warm day, but definitely not hot steaming, bug infested spam.

I read a report on my favorite news website yesterday, which stated that 95% of all sent email is spam. Hard to believe, but saying that I found it hard to believe that we only crossed the 50% mark two years ago. Sure, a company that makes spam filters wrote the article. However, even if the 95% figure is not 100% true we’re all still being sent excessively many fishy, smelly, stinky, irritating emails and I am such a saint! I am still waiting for a call from the pope, but not an email from Wendy over my personal problems. How on earth did she know?

Sad but true, the spammers seem to have the initiative in this war and thus are winning. The distributed nature of the internet combined with the cross boundary laws makes diminishing the effects of these repetitively boring full spectrum attacks difficult. I wouldn’t mind so much if my mailbox was less full or my spam filter was 100% accurate. I think it is brilliant the way thunderbird helps me to define away large chunks of spam. However, at the 95% mark even leak tight containers start to cringe under the onslaught. It is time to take back the initiative and start sharpening the tools. Many clever people are already doing so.

Tools I say and tools I mean. I love Linux live distributions and have a great deal of respect for the security minded. I particularly like the idea of kicking spambots with brilliant tools such as basted.

Spambots suck up email addresses. You leave your address in a mailto tag or on a newsgroup, and then you are so gone, but sadly and definitely not forgotten. You’ll be part of the history of the internet forever, more backed up than the Internet Archive and famous to those who wish to sell diplomas and cures for your obvious inadequacies.

Basted is a script that keeps track and sends many bad addresses back to the bot. Basted has the potential if widely deployed to have effect on the profit of spammers. Sure, it’s at an early version, but when it has grown up it will start bullying the bullies. But why stop there? There are Linux honeypot distributions, why not have one whose sole task is to help ISPs stop spam? Acting as a full spectrum inoculation at the source mail servers, if aggressive enough and updated enough and open proxied enough, then we have a chance to breathe again. Free from unwanted emails that our children may accidentally click on. Perhaps there’s already a distribution out in the wild that does all that I want. For example, STD 0.1 looks like a broader version of where it should be. I would hope for a distribution with less than 40 tools and many graphically assistive help files. A distribution that could be popped into a spare computer and with the help of virtualization look like a network of victims with really sharp hidden teeth. A virtual network that has the potential to be updated automatically with new tools every night. A zero maintained, headless, anti-spam attack drone. Remotely flying over the enemies head.

So what do you think? Have you any ideas for tools? If so, please leave a polite comment.


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