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Antispam screensaver downs two sites in China

"Make love not spam" site has taken two sites offline, a Web traffic monitoring firm says.

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By Dan Ilett
ZDNet (UK)

Lycos Europe's "Make love not spam" campaign has killed access to some of the Web sites of its target alleged spammers, Netcraft has found.

According to the Internet traffic monitoring company, Lycos Europe has successfully taken two Web sites hosted in China offline. The sites are bokwhdok.com and printmediaprofits.biz, according to a posting on Netcraft's Web site, dated this week.

"A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack launched by users of Lycos Europe's MakeLoveNotSpam.com screensaver has succeeded in crippling several spammer sites, but some of the targeted sites remain available," the posting said.

Lycos Europe was unavailable for comment on the matter, but the company said on Tuesday it was not carrying out DDoS attacks, just slowing the bandwidth of its targets. It added that it had no intention of taking Web sites offline.

"I have to be very clear that it's not a denial-of-service attack," Malte Pollmann, director of communications services for Lycos, said on Tuesday. "We slow the remaining bandwidth to 5 percent. It wouldn't be in our interests to (carry out DDoS attacks). It is to increase the cost of spamming. We have an interest to make this, economically, unattractive."

Lycos Europe is a separate company from the Web portal that bears the Lycos name in the United States. It claims that it maintains roughly 40 million e-mail accounts in eight European countries.

The "Make love not spam" screensaver site appeared to have been taken down by its operators on Wednesday. It now shows a graphic and the words "Stay tuned."

On Tuesday, the Web portal denied claims that it had been hit by hacker attacks, saying a reported defacement of the "Make love not spam" Web site was a hoax. But Netcraft, among others, reported that the Web site was unavailable at several intervals that day.

Lycos Europe launched its antispam campaign earlier this week, offering users a screensaver that uses the idle processing power of their computers to slow down bandwidth that connects to spammers' Web sites.

Steve Linford, director of international spam-fighting organization Spamhaus, said on Tuesday that by attacking spammers' bandwidth, the portal could be attacking innocent users' bandwidth.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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