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Spam, Damn! Laura Larsson Health Services March 7, 2014 Objectives participants will be able to define what spam is know who the major spammers are use tricks to overcome spammers employ anti-spam devices that usually work

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spam damn

Spam, Damn!

Laura Larsson

Health Services

March 7, 2014

  • participants will be able to define what spam is
  • know who the major spammers are
  • use tricks to overcome spammers
  • employ anti-spam devices that usually work
  • understand that legislation is being discussed to help you
what is spam
What is Spam?
  • unwanted, unsolicited, often commercial email (online junk mail)
    • advertisements
    • hate email
    • harassing email
    • chain letters
    • urban legends
  • spammers post directly to your email account and to discussion and news groups
what do we know about spammers
What do We Know About Spammers?
  • Spammers are advertisers (or hate mongers) who hide behind false names and ISPs
  • spammers usually block your angry email back to them
  • spammers have programs which surf the Web looking for email addresses - yours!
so how do they get my address
So, How Do They Get MY Address?
  • E-mail stripper programs
  • Newsgroup/Discussion Group "trolling”
    • using the “Review”
    • now usually accessible only to the listowner
  • E-mail capture devices
  • Surfing the Web
  • Commercial Bulk E-mail services
  • Source: Adam Boettiger. How to Combat Bulk Unsolicited E-mail. 4 Apr 1997. [Online] http://www.TOURBUS.Com/archive/tb040397.txt
tricks to cutting down on spam at work
Tricks to Cutting Down on Spam at Work
  • set up a personal email account for non-work related email
  • look at the many free email accounts
    • Hotmail
    • Yahoo!
    • Excite
  • be careful about giving out your main email address(es)
tricks to cutting down on spam
Tricks to Cutting Down on Spam
  • look for the full Internet mail header
  • depending on your mail server, you may have to work at finding out
  • look to see what the last received element is
  • that address will be written in this format: (
spam reducers whois
Spam Reducers: Whois
  • then use the Whois service at
    • enter the IP address using "network 211.188.122"
    • note the last section of the IP address is left off
    • this will tell you who posted the message
tricks continued
Tricks, continued
  • never, never respond to spammers
    • not even to ask them to take you off the list
    • they then identify you as someone who reads your email
    • they will continue to send you email
    • create more than one account
      • use one of your accounts to download software
    • keep one account for friends
    • keep one account for business/work
involving your isp
Involving your ISP
  • forward spam to your ISP for action
  • complaining to your ISP or to the ISP of the spammer’s site helps
  • an ISP may drop or block the offender
involving the spammer s isp
Involving the Spammer’s ISP
  • write to the postmaster at the sender's site
  • find the line that begins, "Message-Id:”
  • remove the information in front of the @ and key is postmaster
  • so your message would be addressed to:
  • include the original message with the full headers of the mail intact so the sysop can determine what the problem is and take action
opting out
Opting Out
  • You can request that your name be removed from the Direct Marketers’ Association
    • DMA's e-Mail Preference Service
  • However, it then becomes your responsibility to make the request
  • much junk mail is generated from organizations who are NOT members of the DMA
software programs spam hater
Software Programs: Spam Hater
  • analyses the Spam
  • extracts a list of addresses of relevant Postmasters, etc.
  • generates a "WHOIS" query to help track the perpetrator
  • prepares a reply
  • choice of legal threats, insults or your own message
spam hater continued
Spam Hater, continued...
  • Appends a copy of the Spam if required.
  • Puts it in a mail window ready for sending
  • Source: Mark West as quoted in Tourbus: Dealing With Junk E-Mail. April 4, 1997. [Online] http://www.TOURBUS.Com/archive/tb040397.txt
tricks for webmasters
Tricks for WebMasters
  • if you run a Website, use a company or non-personal account
    • Websites are great places for spammers to grab addresses
    • you already manage high tech equipment, are a decision maker, and likely have influence over purchases
tricks for listowners
Tricks for Listowners
  • if your list gets spammed or you have a problem poster, nip that in the bud by blocking their postings
  • don’t toss them off the list (what sane person would keep someone from getting information?)
  • instead, block their messages
  • that usually frustrates them enough so that they’ll quit the list
other methods
Other Methods
  • filters
  • knowing who the main spammers are
  • legislation
garbage filters
Garbage Filters
  • this software works by scanning for specific character strings or addresses
  • use the software to write the suspected spam messages to a “spam” or “trash” folder for checking over before you delete them
  • these compare text that you’ve entered into the filter with email messages coming in and discard the ones you don’t want
    • e.g., type in the address of the spammer and instruct the filter to discard those postings
spam attack pro
Spam Attack Pro
  • software with the email addresses of about 400 of the best known spammers programmed into the software
  • you can also add addresses and subject headers to the filter as necessary
filters caution
  • these work very well, but
  • filters can screen out items for which you never thought to ask
  • serendipity should not be screened out of the process of acquiring information
major spammers
Major Spammers
  • Cyber Promotions Inc.
    • run by Sanford Wallace
    • generally thoroughly disliked mostly because he takes up your time and computer space
    • after being refused service by AOL and CompuServe, it started its own ISP
  • AGIS (Apex Global Internet Services)
law and legislation
Law and Legislation
  • restraining orders (by ISPs request)
  • small claims court
  • FTC
  • Congress
  • BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • State Attorney General
small claims court
Small Claims Court
  • federal law (47 U.S. Code, Section 227) authorizes damages of up to $500 per copy for receiving unsolicited faxes and other electronic communications
  • you can sue in small claims court but since most of the spammers are usually fly-by-night outfits, you may be unlikely to collect
zero junk mail
Zero Junk Mail
  • this company will contact advertising firms and direct marketers on your behalf and ask them to remove you from their lists
  • sends email on your behalf to the appropriate network administrator letting them know that spamming is going on
  • it will also process your mail and filter out the spam before you ever see it
    • but your mail will be kept for a week just in case you want to see it
for additional information
For Additional Information…
  • go to the Weblinks page for this topic
new discussion group
New Discussion Group
  • SPAM on Discussion of SPAM
  • “SPAM is a unmoderated and archived list for those interested in discussing ways in which SPAM may be avoided and to develop policies and practices which may help to eliminate or reduce the level of SPAM on the Internet.”
  • To subscribe send a blank e-mail message to