In 2006, a Russian pharma spammer was fingered as the likely culprit manipulating the Blue Security attacks. This time out, Russian spammers are probably also behind the attack on Spamhaus, though they seem to have gotten a lot of help from a spammer-friendly Dutch Web host named CyberBunker and a consortium of other spammers calling themselves Stophaus.com.
Were the same people behind both attacks? Probably impossible to prove, but I'd put money on it. In an interview with Russia Today, CyberBunker spokeslizard Sven Olaf Kamphuis likened Spamhaus to the "mafia,"calling them "blackmailers" and enemies of Internet freedom:
Spamhaus has become a major influence in internet censorship and basically what we're seeing here is the internet organizing and puking them out.... Basically there was a little meeting on Skype and well, some people in Russia decided to solve the problem somewhat more directly by wiping Spamhaus off the Internet.
Those poor spammers. All they want is their freedom. Is that too much to ask?
Beware of underwater cables
Meanwhile, as all of that was going down, a team of divers off the coast of Alexandria were sitting on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea, attempting to saw through the undersea cable that connects most of the Middle East to the Internet. That happened two days after another team tried to hack their way through the SEACOM cable connecting Europe and Africa.
Are you sensing a theme here? Somebody clearly thinks we're all spending too much time on the Net.
I have an idea. I've been writing a lot lately about how cyber punishments often far exceed the crimes. Here's a punishment I think fits neatly: Let's take the spammers who are so bent on Internet freedom and send them down to repair any damage to the cables that provide them their livelihood. We'll give them all the tools they need -- very big, heavy tools, strapped to their ankles with nice, thick chains.
They will have to supply their own compressed air, of course. If they run out before the repairs are done? Hey, nobody said freedom didn't come with a price.
What would you do to the spammers who tried to take out Spamhaus? Post your just punishments below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "More lives than Lazarus: Internet bounces back against spammers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.