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So rather than bother with serving them a response, I'd like to close the connection without sending any headers or data in order to minimise the server impact and possibly give their scripts a more direct hint. Due to the nature of the hits, I can only detect them by the URL they hit.
Are there any Apache modules which could do this? I'm using Apache 1.3.37.
That closes the connection with a null status (I tried without the null status and Apache filled in a 200 status for me).
It's not a perfect solution since Apache has to process the perl script, but hopefully it'll give the spammers the mesage.