How to stop, report and fight back spam and junk email
1. Copping a spam
2. Fight spam on the Internet!
4. Junk Email
6. Reading Mail Headers
7. Mail Abuse Prevention System
9. Blacklist of Internet Advertisers
10. Sam Spade
Here are a 10 key pointers to resources I have scouted and verified for you on how to fight back SPAM:
1) Copping a spam
This is a very recent (January 16th 2002) and interesting article about spam and how to deal with it. It offers valuable and interesting insight along with tips and recommendations about what can be done to limit this problem.
Since Sept. 11 there has been a significant increase in the amount of spam. Over 90% of the mail to one of my e-mail accounts is now what I classify as spam, unsolicited and ... there seems to be very little likelihood that Congress will soon, if ever, pass meaningful laws regarding unsolicited e- mail.
The legislators seem to be paralyzed trying to balance the right of some slime to shout obscenities in my ear and my right to close the door. So far Congress seems to think that the rights of the slime are paramount and has defaulted to an open- (or nonexistent) door policy.
2) Fight spam on the Internet!
This resource site has a lot to offer in the way of articles, tutorials and links to valuable resources that can help you better fight the battle against spam.
The site offers specific information for different type of users according to this scheme:
For system administrators:
Controlling e-mail spam
Controlling Usenet spam
Cutting off IP connectivity to spam sources
Acceptable Use Policies and account tools
For end users:
Hiding addresses from spammers
Spam e-mail blocking and filtering
SpamCop's original spam reporting service will help you report spam quickly and accurately. SpamCop has several dedicated (and spam-free) news groups where you can get help, suggest new features or report bugs. Or search the entire site, FAQ and all support-forum content in one place.
SpamCop is a free service, but the company also supplies a fee- based service that filters your e-mail for you. It can retrieve your mail from your ISP by Post Office Protocol or you can have your ISP forward it to a private mailbox on SpamCop. By running SpamCop's continuously updated filters against your mailstream, the service can get rid of a huge amount of spam. For an average user (0.5M bytes of mail per week), this will cost around $12 per year, while a heavy e-mail user (around 3M bytes per week) will be charged about $78. You can read your mail on SpamCop through a Web interface, POP or Internet Message Access Protocol.
4) Junk Email
This active and continuously updated web site reports on spam news, on legislation that has become available to defend people from spam and junk email, and to tools and resources that would help you report spam to appropriate authorities.
The site offers four key sections covering:
b) a Take Action! initiative,
c) new and pertinent legislation and
d) an official area where to report frauds.
Brightmail is the leading provider of "mailwalls", which are software and services specifically focused on protecting and outbound electronic messages.
The Brightmail Solution Suite is a server-based solution that offers around-the-clock, real-time protection from spam and viruses to ISPs, ASPs, wireless service providers and enterprises.
Brightmail Probe Network is a network of strategically placed, dedicated email accounts with a statistical reach of over 150 million mailboxes. As soon as spam hits the Internet, Brightmail knows about it.
6) Reading Mail Headers
Reading Email Headers - All About Email Headers
This document is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to the behavior of email headers. It is primarily intended to help victims of unsolicited email ("email spam") attempting to determine the real source of the (generally forged) email that plagues them; it should also help in attempts to understand any other forged email. It may also be beneficial to readers interested in a general-purpose introduction to mail transfer on the Internet.
Although the document intentionally avoids "how-to-forge" discussions, some of the information contained in it might be turned to that purpose by a sufficiently determined mind.
7) Mail Abuse Prevention System
Mail Abuse principal means of accomplishing this mission is by educating and encouraging ISP's to enforce strong terms and conditions prohibiting their customers from engaging in abusive e-mail practices.
Mail Abuse offers also a database service.
"The Non-confirming Mailing List ("NML") is a database of the IP addresses of sites which are sending email to mailing lists which contain email addresses whose owners have not granted permission to have their email addresses included in that mailing list", explained Susan Tait, Manager of Online Operations for MAPSSM. "In other words," Tait continued, "if they are sending you email which you did not request and you did not give them permission to include you in their mailing list, then they are eligible to be included in the NML."
Subscribers to MAPS'SM services include Internet sites, which stem the flow of unwanted commercial and bulk email, sometimes known as "spam", from entering their systems.
Subscribers to MAPS'SM services include commercial organizations such as Raytheon, educational institutions such as Stanford University's Highwire Press, and Internet Service Providers such as Panix. Many individuals and small businesses also subscribe to MAPS'SM services.
Access to the service is subject to registration and costs are very affordable if not altogether waived for educational and no- profit institutions, small businesses and individuals.
MAPS Realtime Blackhole List
This is a conservative list, containing sites that are actively supporting UBE senders or are aggressively indifferent to doing so.
MAPS Dialup Users List
This is a list of addresses belonging to dynamically allocated dialup modem pools. Blocking email sent directly from these users blocks a lot of senders of UBE, and affects almost no legitimate users.
MAPS Relayed Spam Source
A list of servers which appear to have relayed spam and which appear to allow third-party relay.
For more information about the NML, see:
A great resource for information, techniques, tools and methods to keep junk and spam email off. JunkBusters service to deter junk email, JUNKBUSTERS SPAMOFF, gives you a personalized ``No email solicitations'' notice that you can publish on your Web space. Among other things they provide a strongly-worded reply that you can send people who email you junk.
Their Guidescope and Internet JunkBuster tools get rid of stuff you don't want while surfing the Web, such as banner ads and cookies.
The Internet Junkbuster free software that everyone is welcome to download, install and distribute (according to the GPL). It uses very little disk space and is so fast that it's practically unnoticeable. If ads are blocked, it typically speeds up surfing.
The current release, Internet Junkbuster 2.0.2, works as a proxy that stands between your browser and the Internet, checking every HTTP request for each resource (including graphics) against a blockfile of URLs before sending it over the Internet. (It can also be configured as a plain old non-caching, non- blocking proxy.) The Internet Junkbuster can be used with almost any web browser.
It comes with no warranty.
If you are running a Mac operating system, ask your ISP or systems administrator at work to set it up on one of their servers or consider alternatives such as interMute, WebFree or Muffin. If you notice an ad or anything you don't want getting through, you simply add a pattern covering it to your blockfile.
The Internet Junkbuster can also be used to block whole sites, such as those disapproved for children. The Internet Junkbuster stops almost all cookies, except from sites you tell it are allowed to set cookies.
It also helps prevent the disclosure of other details that surfers often want kept private, such as information about the page clicked on, and their computer's software and hardware configuration. These features can be optionally disabled or altered.
9) Blacklist of Internet Advertisers
The Blacklist of Internet Advertisers is intended to curb inappropriate advertising on Usenet newsgroups and via junk e-mail. It works by describing offenders and their offensive behaviors, expecting that people who read it, will punish the offenders in one way or another.
The list is posted regularly to several newsgroups, stored on a number of FAQ archives around the world and the most recent version is always available on the WWW at:
10) Sam Spade
A terrific resource site offering custom online services that can help, support or complement investigative searches to identify senders of junk or spam email.
Some of the free online tools available include:
The address digger.
This tool takes a hostname or an IP address, guesses at the domain name, and then runs some whois queries to find out who owns the domain and the block of IP addresses it lives in, and traces the route packets take to the host.
It's slow, crafty, returns less information and has more bugs than the newer tools, but it's still handy to have around.
The obfuscated URLs
A lot of spam includes pointers to websites. Often the URL is obfuscated in a variety of ways - by using %-encoded characters, bogus authentication information, IP addresses written in strange ways
This tool will decode any legal URL, showing you how it was obfuscated, what the real URL looks like and who hosts the website.
Access to all these tools is at:
A personal note:
You may also report spam to the Federal Trade Commission in the US by forwarding the email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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