May 8, 2006

And the battle rages on …

I wrote about Blue Security, Blue Frog and the fight against spam a couple of days ago. At that time, I mentioned how a spammer was trying to intimidate Blue Frog users and get them to stop using Blue Frog. I also mentioned that the Blue Frog servers appeared to be under attack at that time.

Well, it turns out that the two events were related. The spammer who was trying to get Blue Frog users to stop was the same one who was attacking the Blue Frog servers. He had gone as far as to get an employee at an ISP to filter all traffic to the Blue Frog site except from inside Israel, where their servers were located. If I was surprised at that – at the fact that employees at ISPs were corruptible and didn’t really take their responsibilities seriously – I shouldn’t have been. We are after all, human and utterly fallible :p

Blue Security had overcome that particular issue by moving their company blog outside Israel by pointing it to a TypePad account of theirs. The spammer had retaliated by launching a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack against the TypePad servers, denying service not just to Blue Security but all the other users of the service as well. Apparently, the spammer then proceeded to DDoS TuCows, Blue Security’s domain service provider, resulting in TuCows terminating their services for Blue Security.

Of course, this Yahoo news report (and probably others like it) seems to indicate that Blue Security might not have been totally blameless here and it looks as if people are actually blaming Blue Security for all this. I am not aware of the actual events that took place – besides, they say that there are three versions of the truth: his, hers and what really happened :p However, there are two things that I do find interesting – one, that major service providers (including registrars) will shut you down if somebody attacks you and you did not do anything. Basically, they are punishing you for somebody else’s misdeeds. Two, that people will find the most visible scapegoat for anything without actually bothering to find out who is at blame. This unfortunately, is typical of most people.

Sure, Blue Security might have been aware that they were being DDoSed and have pointed their domains at TypePad – if they did, that was reprehensible. It is also possible that they were never aware of the DDoS as they claim and that they simply pointed stuff at TypePad so that they’d have a site visible to the rest of the world. So why castigate them? Why is it that nobody talks about the spammer here and censures the guys who actually make the effort to go after spammers? I think it’s because this is not about who is right or wrong but about one thing and one thing only … money :)

TuCows is going to lose money if their servers are down and so they cut Blue Security loose – doesn’t matter that Blue Security was combatting spam and were a victim of the DDoS themselves. TypePad is angry because their servers went down and they look bad. Does anybody care that somebody took the stand against spammers? No. All they care about is their own businesses.

However, this situation has certainly made me go after the spammers with a vengeance 😛 I used to simply delete the spam in my Google and Yahoo inboxes. Not anymore. I report the spam with relish! If 10% of the people who were affected by this whole Blue Frog thing feel the same way as I do, the spammers have made a major mistake by launching this attack and they are going to find that it’s going to cost them …

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