Lycos Europe launched their “Make love not spam” campaign earlier this week, with a screensaver designed to send large amounts of traffic to the sites of known spammers when your computer was idle, forcing the spammers to absorb large bandwidth bills.
The Lycos plan was already under fire for encouraging vigilantism, but it’s claims that what the screensaver was doing did not constitute a Disributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack may not be so strictly true anymore.
With 90,000 downloads of the screensaver since it was launched, Netcraft have been monitoring several of the spammers sites and two have been knocked completely offline whilst another only responds intermittently as it struggles to cope.
Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure advised against using the screensaver in case of legal problems.
Currently laws in many countries do not explicitly outlaw DDoS attacks but many nations are re-drafting computer use laws to make them specific offences.