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Filters That Fight Back Revisited: Conceptualization and Future Agenda
Online scams, unsolicited advertisements, messages containing malicious files and other forms of spam continue to be a nuisance in today's internet, wasting users' time and causing financial damage to companies and organizations. There have been many proposals on how spam should be stopped, from different kinds of spam filters to legislative measures. One of the more extreme suggestions is fighting back by bombarding spammers' servers with a deluge of HTTP requests. In the current study, we revisit this idea originally proposed by Graham in 2003 and investigate why the approach has received little attention recently. We also present our own example solution that automatically sends false information back to spammers by filling forms on their websites or replying to mail addresses they have provided. We offer a conceptualization and future agenda of filters that fight back, and discuss the ethical and technical challenges related to this solution.