Don't Get MadWritten by Bob Osgoodby
Get Even! In a 24 hour period starting at 10: A.M. this past Tuesday, and ending at same time on Wednesday, I received 1,734 pieces of spam email. Now these were all unique addresses, and some had 4 or 5 copies.
I have had it with this nonsense. Looking at email addresses, it was obvious that mine were being harvested from web.
There is software, similar to protocol used by search engines, that allows someone to enter keywords, and it will search web for any web site that matches keywords entered. It will then capture any email addresses it finds. An example of such software is "Atomic Harvester".
I downloaded this software, which is fully functional in its search capabilities, and is free if that is all you want. You cannot however, save addresses it finds unless you pay for it. Not wishing to harvest any addresses from web, I chose free version, as step one of my devious plan, so I could see what spamsters would find when they harvest my site.
Step two was a bit more work. Instead of simply deleting spam, I created a filter with my email reader that automatically sends all spam identified to my trash bin. I use Eudora, which makes this a rather easy task, but was still time consuming. While this won't provide a "spam free" inbox, it will cut down on junk one has to wade through. The rest I simply delete, which also goes to trash bin.
Now, I have all this spam in once place - my trash bin. But wait, I said get even. A good friend of mine is proficient in "Perl" programming language. He wrote a program that goes into my trash bin, and extracts all of "From" email addresses it finds. Now I have a file of all return addresses of anyone who sends me spam.
The majority of professional spammers use a forged address, which if you respond to it, is returned as undeliverable. Some of na´ve newbies use a legitimate address.
Theft of ServicesWritten by Bob Osgoodby
Spammers will use many tricks in their effort to "ply their wares". One of most common is to use someone else's email address as their return address. Another is to link to images contained in their email, which are on your web site, illegally using your bandwidth.
Using a stolen email address as their return address, is becoming quite common, as some Internet Service Providers are checking to ensure that sending address is valid before relaying message. They have started doing this due to "raft of complaints" received about mail going out with a phony return address.
The consequences of this can be quite far reaching for person whose address has been stolen. This happened to me late last year. It was a porno ad that was sent out bearing my return address. I got over 7,000 requests to remove their name from my mailing list in a 3 day period. Many were quite nasty, threatening all sorts of things. I called "At Home", who provides my cable service, to see if there was anything I could do about it. Their advice was to use a different email address.
Fortunately it was an address that I don't use for business, and if it was, it would have been far more serious. The real problem here is not that your ISP will shut you down for spamming, as it is fairly simple to find out that you didn't send it, regardless of return address.
There are three potential problems however, that you may have to deal with.
The first is number of "bounces" (bad email addresses that cannot be delivered). Many ISP's program their servers to shut down an email account that is getting a large number of bounces, as it is one of symptoms of a denial of service attack. If your bounces exceed a certain number - usually around 500, your web server may automatically go into a "self protect" mode and shut down your email address.
If you start receiving many bounce notifications, immediately notify your ISP of problem, telling them that someone has illegally used your return address. If it was an email address that you use for business, bad press that you get can be devastating. You should write a short email explaining what had happened, and send it to everyone who sends you a complaint. While this sounds like a Herculean Task if you are getting thousands, you can use an email package such as Eudora to do this automatically. You can down load this software from our web site at: http://adv-marketing.com/business/freebie.htm