[Mailman-Users] The economics of spam

J.A. Terranson measl at mfn.org
Sun Jan 4 18:15:19 CET 2009

> [1] Hashcash fails on inspection because attackers control vastly more
> computing resources than defenders, by several orders of magnitude.

The idea behind Hascash is *not* that it will *stop* the flow: it, by 
itself, most certainly will not.  However, no successful security strategy 
relies on any single modality for successful coverage of any issue.

Hascash is another of the various forms of tarpitting, which also does 
not stop anyone, but it does slow it down, and every little bit helps.

I realise I may well be just another "stupid newbie" in your eyes, so 
please explain why something that can enforce a fixed amount of work to 
each and every transaction on the SENDER's side is a bad idea by itself.

Currently, almost 100% of the cost of protecting yourself falls to your 
own machines and systems.  On the scale of a modern spam run (tens of 
millions to hundreds of millions of emails per run) the offloading of 
even a minor workload onto the sender would be a significant overhead 
transferred to the spammer.  

Like everything else in the security mileiu, hascash is yet another layer.  
But more importantly, it is a layer than can be provably shown to affect 
Mallory more than it will Jane.

No matter how many stolen cycles are used to bypass a hascash like scheme, 
those cycles still *must* be expended by the spammers resource pool.

This can *only* be a Good Thing.

J.A. Terranson

"Never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public
plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to
the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always
be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by
predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."

Joseph Pulitzer
1907 Speech

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