It's time for us to take back the Net
from the creeps, spammers, phishers, and other criminals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let's hit 'em where it
counts - In the pocketbook!
Spammers, ad-ware writers, and other scum have made many, many people's online experience a nightmare. While most people try to defend themselves by installing spam filters, spyware detectors, anti-virus programs and other software, spammers continue to come up with yet even more insideous ways around these defenses with impunity. We have even asked the government to help us, and what does Uncle Sam do? He passes a law that is most favorable to spammers. The law is called the CANSPAM act. CANSPAM puts the burden of "opting out" of spam on us users. We have been instructed many times by anti-spam gurus to not to reply to spam or visit a spammer's websit in order to "opt out". This is because spammers in many cases use these opt out requests to confirm an actual working email address. Spam filters in many cases miss some spam and can actually flag very important legitimate email as spam. Again, we are punished while spammers continue to profit.
Spammers will continue to spam as long as there is money to be made in doing so. The economics are on the spammers' side. If a spammer sends out one million spams that advertises a product, and only one person out of ten thousand buys the advertised product, the spammer has made one hundred sales. These sales were generated at little cost to the spammer, and at big cost to users and internet providers. The Internet service providers have to pay the costs of storage and equipment to process the spam. Time is money, and many users spend their precious time deleting spam, upgrading filters, etc. If the user is at work, then their company has to pay for this time in lost productivity. The same thing goes for malicious software that generates popup ads, skews search engine result, etc. People can continue to use their antivirus, antispam, and antiadware programs to try to protect themselves, while the bad guys continue to get away with their spamming, pop-up advertising, and search engine skewing with impunity. Using defensive means to defend against spammers is much like putting one's hands over one's face in order to protect against the punches of a schoolyard bully. One might keep a specific blow from blackening an eye, or fattening a lip, but he or she has so far done nothing to deter the bully from throwing even more punches. The bully will continue to throw punches as long as there is satisfaction in doing so. It is only when the bully is confronted with a crowd of angry people, or a damned good fighter does he or she have an incentive to quit throwing punches. As it goes with bullies, the same thing goes with spammers. Punching back can definitely be a deterrent! Spammers will stop spamming only when the cost of spamming becomes higher than the profits made from spamming.
There have been many people who have made small steps in making spamming more expensive. These people understand that the spammers' weakest point is at their point of sale - usually a website. Many of these people have written programs called "spam vampires." These "vampires" are usually small programs or scripts embedded on a webpage, and they cause a visitor's browser to repeatedly download content from a spammer's website. These repeated downloads can cost spammer's a lot of money for bandwidth usage as well as processing power required to handle the data transfer. When enough people run "spam vampires," a spammer's website can cost a spammer money while at the same be too busy to process requests from those people who actually buy products advertised in spam. Programs that download content from spammers websites have been proven very effective. A program called, "Make Love Not Spam" was so effective, that it actually shut down many spammer's websites. "Blue Security" was another hard hitter against spammers. When "Blue Security" was up and running, many people, including me, noticed a huge decrease in the amount of spam received. Unfortunately, both Blue Security and the authors of "Make Love Not Spam" had the same weakness that spammers have. Both had a website that was used to administer their programs. Spammers control millions of individual computers without the owners' knowlege or permission, and they can call these computers into action to either spam or attack other people's websites. When an individual website operator begins to cost spammers money, that owner will quickly find out that he or she is no match for the spammers. It is sort of the same idea of a small country's army fighting the U.S. armed forces openly on a battlefield - the battle will be over with before it hardly begins.
SpammerSkewer operates much differently. Just as the U.S. has a huge fight on its hands in Iraq and Afghanistan due to the terrorists not having a central command, so will Spammers have a huge fight if thousands of people use SpammerSkewer. What sets SpammerSkewer apart from similar programs is the fact that no central website is required for updates or instructions. Each computer that runs SpammerSkewer has the ability to pass updated instructions to other computers running SpammerSkewer. Instruction files are cryptographically signed so that only instructions authored by the creators of "SpammerSkewer" will be distributed from one system to another. Computers running SpammerSkewer will ask each other for the latest instructions on complaining to websites advertised by spam. These computers will also tell each other where they can find other computers where instruction files can be downloaded. This kind of teamwork between computers running SpammerSkewer will make a very fomriable fighting force against spammers once there are a few thousand participants.
SpammerSkewer is open source so that knowlegable users will be able to examine how the program works. This examination is encouraged by the writer. SpammerSkewer is distributed free of charge and has been written in Java so that it will be attractive to many different users. It should work on any desktop or laptop computer that has Java installed. People are encouraged to use this program so that they can make a convenient and powerful contribution to fighting spammers, spyware authors, and phishers.