SpamHaus targeted by child-porn email attack

The anti-spam service has been targeted by a scam that is designed to end up with it being sent angry emails by users who'd been told they were being sent pornography

Anti-spam organisation Spamhaus is the victim of a devious spam email doing the rounds, which makes it a target of floods of angry emails.

Recipients are told that they have subscribed to a child pornography mail order service and that a set of CDs containing pornographic images of children is already being mailed out to them.

The email states that if they believe they have received the message in error then they should contact the administrators and cancel their order. Scared that they may be about to receive illegal pornography and having been warned that they will be charged $100 per month for the service, many may instantly fire off an angry email, without thinking.

However, it is likely that there are no CDs in the post and no service behind this email -- rather it is the work of an aggrieved spammer.

The clue to this lies in the fact that the email address given links to anti-spam organisation Spamhaus -- which has become particularly unpopular with spammers because of its efforts to stamp out unsolicited email.

A particular hate figure within the organisation is founder Steve Linford, who this year entered the top 20 of ZDNet UK's sister site silicon.com's Agenda Setter's poll because of his sterling work fighting spam.

The spammer is clearly hoping to overload Spamhaus's servers with emails from angry email users aggrieved that they have been falsely accused of buying child pornography.

The email also contains a link to the Spamhaus website where users are promised the best "selection of porn to suit every taste".

A statement on the Spamhaus Web site says: "The Spamhaus Project blocks and terminates spammers from the Internet, therefore it's no surprise spammers hate us, just as thieves hate the police."

It goes on to detail the methods some spammers will go to in order to have their revenge. "A common practice of spammers is to "joe-job" anti-spam organisations, by sending out spam fraudulently claiming to be sent 'by' the anti-spam organisation. Spammers...dupe people into harassing anti-spam organisations such as Spamhaus by flooding us with complaints."