Lycos Europe has started to distribute a special screensaver in a controversial bid to battle spam. The program – titled Make Love Not Spam, and available for Windows and the Mac OS – sends a request to view a spam source site. When a large number of screensavers send their requests at the same time the spam web page becomes overloaded and slow.
The servers targeted by the screensaver have been manually selected from various sources, including Spamcop, and verified to be spam advertising sites, Lycos claims. Several tests are performed to make sure that no server stops working. Flooding a server with requests so that the server is unable to respond to the volume of requests made – a process known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack – is considered to be illegal.