E-mail and other forms of spamming have been used for purposes other than advertisements. Many early Usenet spams were religious or political in nature. Serdar Argic, for instance, spammed Usenet with historical revisionist screeds. A number of evangelists have spammed Usenet and e-mail media with preaching messages. A growing number of criminals are also using spam to perpetrate various sorts of fraud, and in some cases have used it to lure people to locations where they have been kidnapped, held for ransom and even murdered .
Spamming has also been used as a denial of service (“DoS”) tactic, particularly on Usenet. By overwhelming the readers of a newsgroup with an inordinate number of nonsense messages, legitimate messages can be lost and computing resources are consumed. Since these messages are usually forged (that is, sent falsely under regular posters’ names) this tactic has come to be known as sporgery (from spam + forgery). This tactic has for instance been used by partisans of the Church of Scientology against the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup (see Scientology vs. the Internet) and by spammers against news.admin.net-abuse.email, a forum for mail administrators to discuss spam problems. Applied to e-mail, this is termed mailbombing. The Usenet Meow Wars (circa 1996) were DoS attacks on various newsgroups aimed at specific posters, thus disrupting the newsgroups where they were active. The DoS attacks launched by Hipcrime, which continue today, are more specifically crafted as DoS attacks on entire newsgroups. The alt.sex newsgroups were rendered virtually uninhabitable by commercial porn site spammers, partially for advertising purposes and partially to destroy a perceived free competitor. (This spawned the creation of the moderated, unspammable soc.sexuality newsgroups.)
In a handful of cases, forged e-mail spam has been used as a tool of harassment. The spammer collects a list of addresses as usual, then sends a spam to them signed with the name of the person he wishes to harass. Some recipients, angry that they received spam and seeing an obvious “source”, will respond angrily or pursue various sorts of revenge against the apparent spammer, the forgery victim. A widely known victim of this sort of harassment was Joe’s CyberPost, which has lent its name to the offense: it is known as a joe job. Such joe jobs have been most often used against antispammers: in more recent examples, Steve Linford of Spamhaus Project and Timothy Walton, a California attorney, have been targeted. Sometimes victims (such as ROKSO-listed spammers) are subscribed to lists that don’t practice verified opt-in, such as magazine subscriptions and e-mail newsletters, a practise known as subscriptionbombing.
Spammers have also abused resources set up for purposes of anonymous speech online, such as anonymous remailers. As a result, many of these resources have been shut down, denying their utility to legitimate users.
E-mail worms or viruses may be spammed to set up an initial pool of infected machines, which then resend the virus to other machines in a spam-like manner. The infected machines can often be used as remote-controlled zombie computers, for more conventional spamming or DDoS attacks. Sometimes trojans are spammed to phish for bank account details, or to set up a pool of zombies without using a virus.