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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Anti-Spam dies a death

It's not everyday that one comes up with such an innovative idea. You come up with an idea and people try to discourage you. They tell you that it won't work and that you'll just end up being sorry for what you came up with. Then your idea creates history and a fortune for you. But as experience shows, that happens rarely.

One such idea died yesterday.

In this story, David wars against Goliath. The Goliath is the bad guy and the David is our hero. Tradition says that good triumphs over evil. Unfortunately for Blue Security Inc, our little David, that didn't happen. What started as an innovative crusade against the multi-million dollar spam business ended in a tragic note. But the idea was, and still is, remarkable.

Tit-for-tat is an old adage. Blue Security Inc. used it with a modern twist. The idea was simple and proved to be effective for a short while.

Spamming is big business. Spam Enterprises flood the inboxes of millions and billions of user's with offers for products and services in the hope that some will eventually buy into those offerings. That some people is big business if you consider that each email user experiences spam and there are billions of email users. Since spam originates from a multitude of nations, policing the internet is not a feasible task. Replying to spam and asking the spammer to stop is a bad option. It just makes the spammer sure that your inbox is a valid and working email address and you can be sure that you'll be flooded even more with offers.

Blue Security Inc. decided to give spammers a taste of their own art. They asked the major spam enterprises to stop spamming Blue's customers. Ofcourse they won't. So when it didn't stop, Blue Security Inc. sent emails from each of their 550,000 strong customer addresses to the spammers asking them to stop. This created such a strong internet traffic that paralyzed the networks of our beloved spammers making sending spam emails an almost impossible task. Some of the spammers put Blue's customers off their mailing list. Sweet Victory!

Blue got venture capital and it's customers were happy, but not for long. The spam brigade united slowly but surely. Utilizing hundreds of thousands of computers, a spam operation allegedly based in Russia sent mass emails to Blue and its customers asking it to stop meddling the spam business. They warned that failing to comply with their request would spark a spam attack so big that none of the customers would be able to do business online.

The counterattack was so large that it affected operations at many other large enterprises. Even the operations of Tucows (Blue's ISP) was crippled for twelve hours.

Yesterday, Blue gave up this fight. They said that they are not prepared to goto war with this Goliath and will shut down operations immediately. The potential damage to their customers is not what they signed up for. They can't start and fight this cyber war. And that makes me very sad. It's sad when someone on the side of good loses the war against evil. Welcome back to the real world.

Meanwhile spam continues to thrive. I got 32 in my gmail spam folder today itself. That brings me to another of my favorite topic Google Inc. and it's awesome products. But more on that later. I have an exam to give tomorrow, but I had to write this one today. Good bye folks until another story grabs my attention.

If you want more of this story, see here and here.


Vimal Arora said...

Hi Shalin
Well I like this post very much. Can I use it on my own blog with your permission?
Do reply.

Shalin Shekhar Mangar said...

Hi Vimal,
I hope you're not going to put the whole post into your website. It's quite alright with me if you just want to take a part of it and acknowledge it's source by linking it back here.

Vimal Arora said...

Thanks Shalin
For allowing me to use this entry of your blog. Don't worry I will not use it whole and will surely acknowledge back to your website.
Keep posting such interesing posts.
Take Care. Bye

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