Site inaccessible for most of Wednesday£¬
Lycos Europe denies attack on zombie army
Published: December 1, 2004, 10:35 AM PST
By Dan Ilett
Special to CNET News.com
Internet portal Lycos Europe has denied that its "Make love not spam"
Web site was hacked into and defaced last night.
The company said that an e-mail that contained an apparent mirror
image of the Web site being hacked was a hoax generated by spammers.
"This is a hoax," said Malte Pollmann, director of communication
services for Lycos Europe. "We have obviously reached our goal and
are getting to the spammers. On our servers, we don't have any logs
of an attack. No one was able to verify that."
Despite the company's assertions, the site was inaccessible for most
of Wednesday, according to Internet analysis firm Netcraft.
Lycos Europe is a separate company from the Web portal that bears the
Lycos name in the United States. Lycos Europe claims that it
maintains roughly 40 million e-mail accounts across eight European
The "Make love not spam" Web site was reported to have been
inaccessible for some time last night, and an e-mail was sent to
security company F-Secure with what appeared to be a mirror image of
a defacement of the site. The defacement read:
"Yes, attacking spammers is wrong. You know this, you shouldn't be
doing it. Your IP address and request have been logged and will be
reported to your ISP for further action."
Lycos Europe introduced its "Make love not spam" campaign, which
offers users a screen saver that helps to launch distributed denial-
of-service (DDoS) attacks on spammers' Web sites, this week. The
company said the screen saver uses the idle processing power of a
computer to slow down the response times from spammers' Web sites--
much in the same way spammers use compromised PCs to distribute
unsolicited e-mail messages.
But Lycos Europe also denied it was using denial-of-service attacks.
"I have to be very clear that it's not a denial-of-service attack,"
Pollmann said. "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, not more attractive."
Steve Linford, the director of international spam-fighting
organization the SpamHaus Project, said that by attacking spammer
bandwidth, Lycos could be attacking innocent users' bandwidth too.
But Pollmann sidestepped that question. "We want to hit targeted
bandwidth," he said. "We are selecting spammers from blacklists. We
verify every address. Professional spammers run on very dedicated
Finnish antivirus company F-Secure warned users on Tuesday not to
participate in Lycos' campaign because it might involve "possible
Dan Ilett of reported from London.