Lathiat writes “It seems that spammers have taken a new distributed approach to sending spam, and you get paid for it. Virtual MDA will pay you $1 per CPU hour their program is running to relay spam around the world. Obviously this is not something you should do, most users are all to familiar with the atrocity of sorting through up to hundreds of spams a day just to find one real email, Although it has been previously reported that some users love spam, I for one don’t. Is there any way end users can fight back against people like this?” At $1/hour, this sounds like a low-gain way to infuriate both your friends and perfect strangers.
As many comments there suggest, doing this on your PC is most likely prohibited by your ISP’s TOS and the act of spamming is possibly illegal too. It will definitely get your PC put on spammer blacklists. The cash is pretty tempting, but you should only do it if you don’t mind having all your legitimate email blocked, losing your internet service, and/or being convicted of a crime. They also have this neat little clause in the contract where if they happen to lose your account info, it gets reset to $0.00. Wouldn’t it be funny if every time just before you got to the $50 cash out, their DB screwed up and your account got reset? Also note that it’s per CPU hour, not actual hour. Most of the email sending is going to be network traffic, not actual processing. It will take a long time to generate one hour worth of CPU usage by this program.
Then again, a bunch of people have already found ways to turn this against them. Use a firewall to block the outgoing spam, so you still get paid (in theory) but no spam is actually sent anywhere. Sign up for this and just collect the spam they try to send to add to spam filters.
http://www.virtualmda.com is the site. You’ll have to cut and paste the URL if you want to go there. I realize that even bad publicity is still publicity, but I think that most people reading this should now understand this situation. If you know what you’re doing, you can use this for good. If you don’t know what you’re doing, participating in this program (even exactly as intended) is very likely to get you in trouble in one form or another. Also, the site is currently slashdotted. =)