I recently wrote an article that I submitted to Virus Bulletin about how certain elements in Eastern Europe have connections to large botnet armies and are able to launch DOS attacks on the infrastructure on a country.  This is similar to what happened when a bunch of “spammers” decided to launch DOS attacks on Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, LiveJournal, and so forth, in a bid to shut down a spammer.

This, of course, is an evil purpose to using botnets.  But is it possible to use this for the powers of good?

I have been bugging two friends to fill out a document for me for a couple of weeks now (three weeks for one friend, two weeks for another). They still have not done it.  I decided I was going to start emailing them every single day until they finally get off their cans and fill out the personal form for me, which will take all of 15 minutes.  If they are going to forget, then I shall remind them.  They shall feel some pain from me (I have also reminded them in person).

Obviously, my notices haven’t gone heeded.  So I thought to myself “Why should I do this manually?  Why not write a script to do it every day?”  This is something I have done in the past for our internal processes.  All I would need is a mail server and I could code this up in an hour or so (if I wanted some redundancy).  That way, I could have a daily reminder sent to them every single day until they sent it back.

Then I thought to myself “Hmm… I could be a bit more evil.  What if instead of sending once per day, I sent it once per hour?”  That would make it a bit more painful for them.  After all, nobody moves on anything without sufficient motivation.  Then I thought to myself “What if I sent it 10 times per hour?”  Now I am moving into the realm of spamming.  Except, of course, it is solicited, it is not bulk, nor is it commercial.  It’d be blackmail, but at least I’d get their attention.

And then I thought to myself “Hmm… what if I rented a botnet and sent them 100 messages per hour?  With warnings that this wouldn’t stop until they filled out my forms which have a deadline of two days from now?”  That was a little bit too harsh.  That’s using the power of evil maybe a bit too much. It would certainly blur a lot of ethical lines.  In the end I decided against it.

But it certainly was a seductively entertaining possibility that crossed my mind, that’s for sure.