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May 12th, 2001

The Spam That Wouldn’t Die

It’s been a long time since I’ve ranted about spam, although Ryan has had his turns recently. As of late, my spam has been on the upswing – something none too pleasing, to be sure.

On Wednesday night, I received two emails from a person that looked legit – the address was mine, and it was the only one in the To: field. Of course it was junk talking about an "URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL&quot. I sent them to SpamCop and figured I’d be on my way.

Later that night, I got three more copies of the exact same email – this time coming from another address, but via the same email server in the Netherlands. The text was identical but this time, the email was sent to my address with the first letter cut off. Again, off to SpamCop.

But that wasn’t all! On Thursday, I received eight more copies of the exact same email. They came from both forged addresses, and went to both paul@ and aul@. I was getting increasingly tired of this, as they were getting around my filters in The Bat!. I wanted to stop things at the source, but telnetting into my account was impossible.

Yesterday rolled around and I got a total of 10 more pieces of spam from this guy, with the contents remaining identical, the email addresses identical, the To: addresses identical, and the identical mail server being exploited. Yes, they went to SpamCop, but I finally got SSH access on my account. I just set up procmail filters and, knock on wood, things look good so far. (To test this out, I switched to another account of mine and changed the name on the account to match those in the spam – then sent it over to my daily email account. So far, so good.)

I don’t think this was your typical anonymous blind spammer. I think this person found my address, got an open port on a mail server, and just went to town. Undaunted, he sent out about 25 pieces of the identical crap mail. It moved beyond the mildly frustrating stage and entered full on annoying.

Anyone who can look me in the eye and defend the right of anyone to spam is welcome to try. -pm

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