mistaken impression that most spammers are simply pushy if misguided business people!!!!
The Rules to fight spam
Spammers are criminals! They are not misguided people.
DON’T believe anything spammers tell you
More than likely, the spammer has forged technical information in the message header and provided a bogus return address, and the message itself is probably full of dubious or even illegal claims.
• Don’t believe anything the spammer tells you about his offerings.
• Don’t believe that he will remove you from his list if you ask.
• Don’t believe that you voluntarily subscribed to receive his sewage just because he says you did.
Any offer made via spam is automatically untrustworthy
It is possible (and has happened many times) that a well-meaning soul with something to sell will try to advertise via spam because of its low cost and high coverage. However, such people are in the negligible minority compared with the usual swindlers, crooks, and con-artists who check their scruples at the door in order to use spam. Therefore, even if you can’t find anything else particularly wrong with a spam offer, and even if the offer is for something you very much want or need, the simple fact that it is a spam offer should set off your personal bulls*it detector.
Bulk delivery + unsolicited = spam
If the message was delivered to you as part of a bulk delivery (i.e., it went out to hundreds or even millions of others at the same time), and you didn’t give explicit prior permission for it to be sent to you, the message is spam — end of discussion. Don’t be bamboozled by statements like “you signed up for this,” or “we got your address from so-and-so.” Don’t let the spammer tell you it isn’t spam; use this rule and decide for yourself.
DON’T ever reply to spammers
You may be tempted to respond directly to spammers by means of return e-mail. DON’T. You will either reach no one at all, or else you will reach someone who had nothing to do with the spam. In all likelihood, the return address given in the spam is non-existent, and any replies will simply bounce; if the address is deliverable, it probably belongs to some completely innocent third party who doesn’t want to read a bunch of abuse (i.e., the spammer stole this address from his lists and forged it into his mailings as a form of camouflage).
On the other hand, if in fact your replies do get back to the spammer, he won’t care about your abuse at all. He will, however, note that he has reached a real, live person and will be sure to earmark your address for further spamming by himself or by others to whom he sells his “laundered” list.
DON’T play the “opt-out” game
Some spammers (fewer and fewer these days) still include some sort of e-mail address, web link, or telephone number in their messages that (they tell you) can be used to remove your address from their lists. Don’t use these. Despite what spammers or even certain members of the United States Congress might say, there’s no reason why you should be obliged to remove yourself from a mailing list when you didn’t ask to be on it in the first place. It’s just too likely that the spammer uses the “removal” feature as a means to compile lists of known-deliverable e-mail addresses, and you could simply wind up getting more spam for your trouble. Remember rules #1 and #3
To see why it is pointless to try opting out from spam, read the results of a Finnish computer scientist’s experiment in spam-list “removal.”
Many people immediately go “postal” (become irrationally enraged) when they get annoying spam, and start sputtering threats about “mail bombs” (real or virtual), website cracking, denial-of-service attacks, exposure of the spammer’s private info, or worse. I’m pretty sure that most of these folks wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to go about this sort of revenge, but if they did know, and if they acted, they’d stand to get into even more trouble than the spammer. Providers don’t like spammers, but they hate crackers even more. The cops hate them as well.
Also, there’s a small risk that you could end up on the wrong side of a civil suit if you are not careful with such activity; on occasion, when a spammer becomes the target of intemperate threats and attacks, he will use these as a means to take an opponent to court, presenting himself as an “honest businessman” under savage attack by internet kooks. These cases seldom stand, but while they are in progress they do require the sued party to expend his time and money in his own defense. This is an excellent reason never to make public threats against particular spammers. See the next rule!
I get asked about certain “proactive” spam-fighting tools; most of these claim to work by pelting a spam website with megabytes of spurious traffic in order to (supposedly) run up the spammer’s hosting bill or clog up his backbone connection so as to elbow out the suckers. Other such tools will find spammers’ web forms (e.g., for mortgage spammers) and repeatedly fill them with garbage entries to give the spammers headaches.
I personally do not and would not use such tools, for several reasons:
• First, not all spammers are paying per-bandwidth charges for their hosting (at least not if they do it right). Instead, they may be stealing bandwidth from unknowing providers or their customers, so such attacks do not hurt them much (if at all).
• Second, this sort of tactic could also choke out innocent websites that are sharing network resources (IP address blocks, routers, or even servers) with the spammer, and these “collaterally-damaged” folks would probably (and rightly) blame me more than they would the spammer.
• Third, many spammers are sophisticated enough to block or evade such attacks and to “blacklist” the addresses from which they come. Ultimately, then, these tactics may be little more than pointless harassment.
• Fourth, many spammers are far more network-savvy than I, and would probably be able to track me down and file complaints (or even lawsuits) over my behaviour, even if I tried to disguise my actions behind anonymous addresses, temporary shell accounts, proxy web clients, etc. Given a bad day in court, they’d likely come off as poor, besieged entrepreneurs, while I would end up looking like a vindictive kook.
• Finally, I simply would rather not engage in the kinds of abusive behaviour for which I condemn many spammers.
DON’T get emotionally involved in spam
Most minor annoyances we encounter in life don’t deserve to be fussed over. When weeds appear in your garden or your lawn, you don’t get vindictive about it, you just pull them or kill them. When your car gets dirty, you don’t shake your fist at the heavens, you just wash it. For many people, however, spam seems to evoke visceral, reflexive, and ultimately unproductive anger.
When they finally get fed up with spam, some folks get really fed up and go off on a tear. They file all manner of complaints (sometimes improperly directed) and become livid when these do not achieve immediate results.
They make wild, uninformed, and highly-speculative accusations against everyone from Google to Microsoft to the Trilateral Commission. They often think up “new” techniques for fighting spam that are impractical, unsalable, poorly targeted, ineffective, or inappropriate, and they get very angry and even more suspicious when experienced hands point out the shortcomings of these measures. Invariably, in the last stages of their madness, many of these people burn out and give up the struggle, concluding that no one else cares about their efforts or is doing anything about the problem. This is unfortunate, because bringing spam under some sort of control will require consistent, careful, and patient effort by as many of us as can manage it, for as long as we can manage it.
When dealing with spam, then, you should adopt a dispassionate, businesslike attitude. It looks as though spam is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, so you might as well not burn up a main bearing over it. Report your spam if you can, filter it or delete it in any case, and then move on to the next life-problem.
DON’T post your e-mail address “in the clear” on websites or Usenet.
Spammers get many of their target addresses by harvesting or “scraping” them from websites or from usenet postings and public (web-accessible) mailing list archives or bulletin boards. If you use any of these, make sure you protect your address by disguising it or by providing alternative means of reply.
Consider using free “throwaway” addresses for publicly-archived mailing lists, web discussion boards, usenet groups, or other venues that may be accessible for spam harvesting.
DON’T give out your e-mail address indiscriminately
Often, you’re asked by strangers to provide your address as a condition for various kinds of services (like online greeting cards, web bulletin boards,etc.). You should weigh this request very carefully, since you can seldom be sure what will be done with your address afterward (even if the requester swears that he won’t use it for spam or give it to others).
If you like, you can give a phony e-mail address on such occasions (assuming you don’t expect or want to hear back from them), or you can create a “throwaway” address (at yahoo, Hotmail, etc.), or an alias address, just for such use — if spam comes in to this addresses afterward, you can simply shut it down.
DON’T open spam messages you don’t intend to analyze or report
As you can read elsewhere, spammers can sometimes set traps for the unwary. They can force web pages to “pop up” unbidden by you, or they can secretly confirm the availability of your address for more spam. All of this can happen when you do as little as open the message or bring it into view with your mail program. In extreme cases, spammers can implant software that will spy on your network activities or even turn your computer into a spam relay.
Unless you use a net-based filtering service to detect and hold your spam (so you can examine the message’s contents beore it reaches your computer), you can’t tell beforehand whether opening a message will cause any of this to happen. Therefore, if you know for sure that a message is spam, and unless you’re interested in examining it or reporting it (at the risk of having all of the little tricks work), drag it immediately to the trash WITHOUT opening it.
DO trace and report spam e-mails to the providers involved.
The best way for individuals to fight spam is to report it to the providers whose resources were used to transmit it. This includes those responsible for mail servers that sent the spam, but it also includes those who host websites advertised in the spam, or otherwise used by the spammer (e.g., for remove lists). If a provider receives enough complaints about one of his customers, he’ll eventually take action against that customer, or may take other steps to reduce the volume of spam passing through his servers (e.g., by buttoning down open relay hosts, or blocking or mopping up zombie computers).
Reporting spam requires that you analyze it to trace its origin (which is almost never the “from” address that you see onscreen). Then, you look up the proper e-mail address for reporting spam or abuse originating from that point. The process is not terribly difficult after a bit of practice, but you can also find automated alternatives if you want them.
Of course, many providers don’t seem to care about your complaints. I’d say that, as long as it won’t end up getting you more spam (due to “know-nothing” ISPs handing your complaints over to the spammer), it never hurts to complain; if nothing else, this will give them a taste of what it’s like to receive hundreds of unwanted e-mails. And, eventually, their practices will catch up with them when they end up on some block list or other.
DO review privacy policies of websites and online businesses with which you have dealings
More and more, we’re getting asked for our addresses by people with whom we interact personally, such as store cashiers or telephone sales people. The same cautions apply for these “offline” requests for e-mail addresses.
DO check all those “don’t send me mail” boxes on web forms
Whenever you are asked to register online for some product or service, look the form over carefully for checkboxes or buttons asking for permission to send you marketing materials. You may choose to accept e-mail from the company itself if you like, but you should certainly stop any mail from “our affiliates,” or “certain outside companies,” or other third parties. Otherwise, it’s just too easy for your address to fall into the hands of a spammer who can then make a tenuous claim that you “opted in.”
Read carefully, as these questions are sometimes phrased in the opposite fashion (e.g., “check here to NOT receive mail from any bum off the street who buys our customer list”).
DO tighten up the security of your mail program
Ideally, a mail program would permit you to make the following security settings:
• Not to load images automatically from remote servers.
o Image links in spam messages can often conceal “web bugs” that can signal back to the sender that you have received and opened the message, and are thus a ripe target for yet more of his spam. Many spams have graphic images embedded directly in the mail packet; these do not require extra network activity and thus are “safe” insofar as web-bugging or other clandestine network activity is concerned.
• Not to start up other programs (like web browsers) automatically.
o Allowing spam messages to “shell out” to other programs on your computer is a very dangerous proposition indeed. Spammers can use this sort of thing to destroy your computer or steal your files, but most often they use it to subvert your computer to do their spam work for them.
• Not to launch attached files automatically, or even not to launch them at all (requiring you instead to explicitly save them and then launch them on your own).
o Spammers often try to trick you into opening attachments to their mailings by claiming that these are games, greeting cards, or naked pictures of the latest Pop Tart. You'll find that these files are not what they claim; in fact, they are malware that can damage your computer or turn it into a spam proxy. Good mail programs will often sternly warn you before allowing you to launch such attachments yourself, and will certainly not run them automatically in any case.
• To block, or request confirmation of, any network activity other than picking up your mail from your known mailboxes, or sending your outgoing mail.
o Sending and receiving e-mail occurs on specific IP ports. If your mail program is doing any other kind of network activity while you are viewing spam mail (such as fetching pictures or stylesheets, loading web pages from remote servers), this activity must be regarded as very supicious indeed.
You should study the documentation for your own mail program to find out how many of these settings you can make. These will help to protect you from web-bugs, popups, and other spammer tricks. Unfortunately, I can’t be of much assistance here, since I don’t know much about most of the mail clients available today (particularly those for Windows).
If you find that your big-name browser mail program is deficient in one or more of these areas, consider shopping for a freeware or shareware alternative that caters more to the spam-averse (Mozilla Thunderbird is a popular choice these days).
Last but most important ...
DON’T trade with spammers
If you do nothing else about spam, you should surely follow this very important rule for your own sake as well as for the rest of us who suffer with the pestilence of spam: DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH SPAMMERS!
The basic message is this: by trading with spammers you will (1) expose yourself to all manner of cheaters, swindlers, and criminals, and (2) help make spam profitable, thereby perpetuating it.
If it appears too good to be true well guess what ! it always is.
Spammers are criminals! They are not misguided people.
oops ---> The source of this document was not copied over go to -- Rick Conner 's web site http://www.rickconner.net This site also has other interesting spam information.
Last edited by Dusty; 10-07-2010 at 12:51 AM.
Reason: need to add source
"Per Ardua ad Astra" / "Through Adversity to the Stars"
"Quo fas et gloria ducunt" / "Whither right and glory lead"