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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

Posted in Technology

FROM: dave
DATE: Saturday May 12, 2001 -- 9:15:01AM
Spam is definitely on the upswing. Last winter I set up a Hotmail account solely for me to use to communicate with the students in the class I taught. All was quiet for a while...but in the last week or so I have been getting 8 or 9 spams a day...of all sorts of varieties. I'm reluctant to look at that account at work because some of the subjects are so offensive.

FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Saturday May 12, 2001 -- 12:18:00PM
Anyone who can look me in the eye and defend the right of anyone to spam is welcome to try.

It depends on what you mean by "right". I will certainly defend someone's legal right to send unsolicited commercial e-mail. Although most spammers illegally hijack mail servers in order to spam, that is a separate issue.

If you really want spam to be illegal, think about what you're proposing: that would mean the government would have the right to dictate who can e-mail who, and what the content can be. I don't think the government should regulate the internet!

Additionally, although my e-mail address is all over the place (unprotected on Usenet, & the web), I don't receive more than 1-2 pieces of spam per week, probably due to my web host's mail servers. This is the libertarian solution we should ask for, instead of the government telling us who we can and cannot send e-mail to!

FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday May 12, 2001 -- 3:00:05PM
I'm definitely not advocating government intervention in matters of email, and nothing in my Ping indicates that.

I'd rather see efforts like SpamCop bring stronger ideas about spam to a head. Think about it: AOLers get tons of spam daily, and think it's normal. Why should they? Why should they sit there and get tons of crap mail, when people such as yourself get 1-2 a week?

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