"Spamming" is an Internet term invented to describe the act of cross-posting the same message to as many newsgroups and/or mailing lists as possible, whether or not the message is germane to the stated topic of the newsgroups or mailing lists that are being targeted. Spam is unsolicited e-mail's bombarding your e-mail box, like junk mail that you receive at your home mailbox.
Spam of the email variety is easy to spot. It's a message (sometimes two or three!) from someone you've never heard of or would even imagine that you will get these sort of junk emails, advertising something that you'd never use or touting some opinion that you would rather do without, and, while it appears in your inbox, it isn't actually addressed to you.
This term "spam" was originally used in Usenet newsgroups to describe identical commercial or off-topic posts made to multiple newsgroups. It has since been expanded to include ordinary email messages, both UCE (unsolicited commercial email) and UBE (unsolicited bulk email).
Spam basically is the Internet version of "Junk Mail." It is an attempt to deliver a message, over the Internet, to someone who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Almost all spam is commercial advertising. Such information is gathered with automated searches to retrieve e-mail addresses for spamming.
New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer last week has sued defunct email marketer MonsterHut.com and its executives for sending more than 500 million unwanted email messages while claiming falsely that the mailings were permission-based. It's the second legal challenge in weeks for MonsterHut, of Niagara Falls, and its executives, CEO Todd Pelow and chief technical officer Gary Hartl. Click here to read more about Spitzer vs. MonsterHut.Com. Earlier this month, a judge approved an ISP's action to kick the company off its network because of complaints about spamming.
There are no such controls on email spam. Sending email spam is virtually free for the spammer. There are software tools that can send millions of copies of a message out in a matter of minutes and there are lots of enterprising people who are anxious to sell spammers the millions of email addresses they'll need to do it. No self-respecting spammer uses their own ISP's outgoing mail services anymore; that might cost them their account. But they don't need to. There are always thousands of other machines on the Internet running poorly configured SMTP services that spammers can use.
If you've got some decent-sized clients, chances are that they've probably had a site up for a few years by now. The big companies that don't have web sites are pretty few and far between. But that site that seemed like a winner two years ago may seem pretty tired by now. That shovel-ware brochure site that seemed like a good idea back when everyone was rushing to establish a web presence probably has started to look like a liability. And as far as ROI is concerned forget it.
The solution for the spamming emails is simply to delete that email as soon as you receive it. The people who worry about spam say you can reduce the amount of spam you receive by never responding to spam email, either directly or by visiting the spammers? web site. That just identifies you as a real person who read their message. So I don?t think that you should really reply them, just ignore it, and delete their messages.
Mail filtering in the Mail Transfer Agent or Mail User Agent is the only practical solution today for removing spam messages, and it is a lot less than perfect. There are three primary information sources used to filter incoming e-mail:
• Header Information
• Mailer Type (a special type of Header information)
• IP Address (domain name).
Filtering on the Mail Transfer Agent is accomplished by adding rules to the configuration for the specific mail system running on the server. Mail User Agent filtering is accomplished through filters set in a user's mail reader.
You can configure your web free email boxes by changing their settings. Several free email service providers are using the mail filtering software through which you can protect yourself through these spam emails.
So remember, the best ways to fight spammers are:
• To ignore their emails.
• Check their header if possible.
• Report them as per their header.
• And finally delete their email.
Note: Going to a spammer?s site even in curiosity gives them enough reason to keep up their illegal acts.
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This is an excellent topic started by Pradeep, I myself have done a little bit of research on exactly how does a spammer gets your e-mail id.
There are many ways in which spammers can get your email address. The ones I know of are :
1. From posts to UseNet with your email address.
Spammers regularly scan UseNet for email address, using ready made programs designed to do so. Some programs just look at articles headers which contain email address (From:, Reply-To:, etc), while other programs check the articles' bodies, starting with programs that look at signatures, through programs that take everything that contain a '@' character and attempt to demunge munged email addresses.
There have been reports of spammers demunging email addresses on occasions, ranging from demunging a single address for purposes of revenge spamming to automatic methods that try to unmunge email addresses that were munged in some common ways, e.g. remove such strings as 'nospam' from email addresses.
As people who where spammed frequently report that spam frequency to their mailbox dropped sharply after a period in which they did not post to UseNet, as well as evidence to spammers' chase after 'fresh' and 'live' addresses, this technique seems to be the primary source of email addresses for spammers.
2. From mailing lists.
Spammers regularly attempt to get the lists of subscribers to mailing lists [some mail servers will give those upon request],knowing that the email addresses are unmunged and that only a few of the addresses are invalid.
When mail servers are configured to refuse such requests, another trick might be used - spammers might send an email to the mailing list with the headers Return-Receipt-To: <email address> or X-Confirm-Reading-To: <email address>. Those headers would cause some mail transfer agents and reading programs to send email back to the <email address> saying that the email was delivered to / read at a given email address, divulging it to spammers.
A different technique used by spammers is to request a mailing lists server to give him the list of all mailing lists it carries (an option implemented by some mailing list servers for the convenience of legitimate users), and then send the spam to the mailing list's address, leaving the server to do the hard work of forwarding a copy to each subscribed email address.
[I know spammers use this trick from bad experience - some spammer used this trick on the list server of the company for which I work, easily covering most of the employees, including employees working well under a month and whose email addresses would be hard to finding other ways.]
3. From web pages.
Spammers have programs which spider through web pages, looking for email addresses, e.g. email addresses contained in mailto: HTML tags [those you can click on and get a mail window opened]
Some spammers even target their mail based on web pages. I've discovered a web page of mine appeared in Yahoo as some spammer harvested email addresses from each new page appearing in Yahoo and sent me a spam regarding that web page.
A widely used technique to fight this technique is the 'poison' CGI script. The script creates a page with several bogus email addresses and a link to itself. Spammers' software visiting the page would harvest the bogus email addresses and follow up the link, entering an infinite loop polluting their lists with bogus email addresses.
4. From various web and paper forms.
Some sites request various details via forms, e.g. guest books & registrations forms. Spammers can get email addresses from those either because the form becomes available on the world wide web, or because the site sells / gives the emails list to others.
Some companies would sell / give email lists filled in on paper forms, e.g. organizers of conventions would make a list of participants' email addresses, and sell it when it's no longer needed.
Some spammers would actually type E-mail addresses from printed material, e.g. professional directories & conference proceedings.
Domain name registration forms are a favorite as well - addresses are most usually correct and updated, and people read the emails sent to them expecting important messages.
5. Via an Ident daemon.
Many unix computers run a daemon (a program which runs in the background, initiated by the system administrator), intended to allow other computers to identify people who connect to them.
When a person surfs from such a computer connects to a web site or news server, the site or server can connect the person's computer back and ask that daemon's for the person's email address.
Some chat clients on PCs behave similarly, so using IRC can cause an email address to be given out to spammers.
6. From a web browser.
Some sites use various tricks to extract a surfer's email address from the web browser, sometimes without the surfer noticing it. Those techniques include :
1. Making the browser fetch one of the page's images through an anonymous FTP connection to the site.
Some browsers would give the email address the user has configured into the browser as the password for the anonymous FTP account. A surfer not aware of this technique will not notice that the email address has leaked.
Some browsers would allow email to be sent when the mouse passes over some part of a page. Unless the browser is properly configured, no warning will be issued.
3.Using the HTTP_FROM header that browsers send to the server. Some browsers pass a header with your email address to every web server you visit.
An E-mail containing HTML may contain a script that upon being read (or even the subject being highlighted) automatically sends E-mail to any E-mail addresses. A good example of this case is the Melissa virus. Such a script could send the spammer not only the reader's E-mail address but all the addresses on the reader's address book.
7. From IRC and chat rooms.
Some IRC clients will give a user's email address to anyone who cares to ask it. Many spammers harvest email addresses from IRC, knowing that those are 'live' addresses and send spam to those email addresses.
This method is used beside the annoying IRC bots that send messages interactively to IRC and chat rooms without attempting to recognize who is participating in the first place.
This is another major source of email addresses for spammers, especially as this is one of the first public activities newbies join, making it easy for spammers to harvest 'fresh' addresses of people who might have very little experience dealing with spam.
AOL chat rooms are the most popular of those - according to reports there's a utility that can get the screen names of participants in AOL chat rooms. The utility is reported to be specialized for AOL due to two main reasons - AOL makes the list of the actively participating users' screen names available and AOL users are considered prime targets by spammers due to the reputation of AOL as being the ISP of choice by newbies.
8. From finger daemons.
Some finger daemons are set to be very friendly - a finger query asking for john@host will produce list info including login names for all people named John on that host. A query for @host will produce a list of all currently logged-on users.
Spammers use this information to get extensive users list from hosts, and of active accounts - ones which are 'live' and will read their mail soon enough to be really attractive spam targets.
9. AOL profiles.
Spammers harvest AOL names from user profiles lists, as it allows them to 'target' their mailing lists. Also, AOL has a name being the choice ISP of newbies, who might not know how to recognize scams or know how to handle spam.
10. From domain contact points.
Every domain has one to three contact points - administration, technical, and billing. The contact point includes the email address of the contact person.
As the contact points are freely available, e.g. using the 'whois' command, spammers harvest the email addresses from the contact points for lists of domains (the list of domain is usually made available to the public by the domain registries). This is a tempting methods for spammers, as those email addresses are most usually valid and mail sent to it is being read regularly.
11. By guessing & cleaning.
Some spammers guess email addresses, send a test message (or a real spam) to a list which includes the guessed addresses. Then they wait for either an error message to return by email, indicating that the email address is correct, or for a confirmation. A confirmation could be solicited by inserting non-standard but commonly used mail headers requesting that the delivery system and/or mail client send a confirmation of delivery or reading. No news are, of course, good news for the spammer.
Specifically, the headers are -
Return-Receipt-To: <email-address> which causes a delivery confirmation to be sent, and
X-Confirm-Reading-To: <email-address> which causes a reading confirmation to be sent.
Another method of confirming valid email addresses is sending HTML in the e-mail’s body (that is sending a web page as the e-mail’s content), and embedding in the HTML an image. Mail clients that decode HTML, e.g. as Outlook and Eudora do in the preview pane, will attempt fetching the image - and some spammers put the recipient's email address in the image's URL, and check the web server's log for the email addresses of recipients who viewed the spam.
So it's good advice to set the mail client to *not* preview rich media emails, which would protect the recipient from both accidentally confirming their email addresses to spammers and viruses.
Guessing could be done based on the fact that email addresses are based on people's names, usually in commonly used ways (first.last@domain or an initial of one name followed / preceded by the other @domain)
Also, some email addresses are standard - postmaster is mandated by the RFCs for internet mail. Other common email addresses are postmaster, hostmaster, root [for unix hosts], etc.
12. From white & yellow pages.
There are various sites that serve as white pages, sometimes named people finders web sites. Yellow pages now have an email directory on the web.
Those white/yellow pages contain addresses from various sources, e.g. from UseNet, but sometimes your E-mail address will be registered for you. Example - HotMail will add E-mail addresses to BigFoot by default, making new addresses available to the public.
Spammers go through those directories in order to get email addresses. Most directories prohibit email address harvesting by spammers, but as those databases have a large databases of email addresses + names, it's a tempting target for spammers.
13. By having access to the same computer.
If a spammer has an access to a computer, he can usually get a list of valid usernames (and therefore email addresses) on that computer.
On unix computers the users file (/etc/passwd) is commonly world readable, and the list of currently logged-in users is listed via the 'who' command.
14. From a previous owner of the email address.
An email address might have been owned by someone else, who disposed of it. This might happen with dialup usernames at ISPs - somebody signs up for an ISP, has his/her email address harvested by spammers, and cancel the account. When somebody else signs up with the same ISP with the same username, spammers already know of it.
Similar things can happen with AOL screen names - somebody uses a screen name, gets tired of it, releases it. Later on somebody else might take the same screen name.
15.Using social engineering.
This method means the spammer uses a hoax to convince people into giving him valid E-mail addresses.
16. Chain Mailling
A good example is Richard Douche's "Free CD's" chain letter. The letter promises a free CD for every person to whom the letter is forwarded to as long as it is CC'ed to Richard.
Richard claimed to be associated with Amazon and Music blvd, among other companies, who authorized him to make this offer. Yet he supplied no references to web pages and used a free E-mail address.
All Richard wanted was to get people to send him valid E-mail addresses in order to build a list of addresses to spam and/or sell.
17. From the address book and emails on other people's computers.
Some viruses & worms spread by emailing themselves to all the email addresses they can find in the email address book. As some people forward jokes and other material by email to their friends, putting their friends' email addresses on either the To: or Cc: fields, rather than the BCc: field, some viruses and warms scan the mail folders for email addresses that are not in the address book, in hope to hit addresses the computer owner's friends' friends, friends' friends' friends, etc.
If it wasn't already done, it's just a matter of time before such malware will not only spam copies of itself, but also send the extracted list of email addresses to it's creator.
As invisible email addresses can't be harvested, it's good advice to have the email addresses of recipients of jokes & the like on BCc:, and if forwarded from somebody else remove from the e-mail’s body all the email addresses inserted by the previous sender.
18. Buying lists from others.
This one covers two types of trades. The first type consists of buying a list of email addresses (often on CD) that were harvested via other methods, e.g. someone harvesting email addresses from UseNet and sells the list either to a company that wishes to advertise via email (sometimes passing off the list as that of people who opted-in for emailed advertisements) or to others who resell the list.
The second type consists of a company who got the email addresses legitimately (e.g. a magazine that asks subscribers for their email in order to keep in touch over the Internet) and sells the list for the extra income. This extends to selling of email addresses accompany got via other means, e.g. people who just emailed the company with inquiries in any context.
Nice list Vishal and after such a long time seen you.
Thanx a lot Shabbir for a warm welcome... as they say there is no place such as home.... feels good to be back..................
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ReekenX, confine links to signature only. If you spam the forums with your links your posts will be deleted.
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