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Better SPAM filter setting and other items

©04 The Media Desk

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      OK, it is NOT perfect. But it is doing pretty good at killing a good chunk of the Desk's incoming SPAM.
      If you can specify filter settings in your mailbox's filters to read the HEADER of the email, tell it to delete anything with FORGED and SPOOFED anywhere in the header.
      SPAMMER robots will often cheat on the routing their crap takes. Some email handlers will recognize this and put a flag in the header that something is wrong with where the email says it came from.
      Trust the Desk on this one, you do not want to read anything where the source has been concealed or masked in any way.
      And when is the last time your sister-in-law sent you an Angel Poem or A Mother's Love story with 'forged' in the title?

      Of course, if your filters don't look at the header, this does no good at all.

Now a word about the WAR ON SPAM

      MSN and Hotmail has sold their soul Once Again to the SPAMMERS. They are going to allow spammers to post a bond with a third party to allow their mail through their tissue paper thin SPAM barriers.
      The Bonded Users will be allowed to send mail with few restrictions. If a Bonded Sender breaches their agreement they can forfeit their cash bond with the holding company. Which is one way to meet certain provisions of the CAN-SPAM law, which we will look at later and you can look at now:
      Terrific? Right?
      How long will it be before the SPAMMERS spoof the authenticating certificates on the mail and flood MSN and Hotmail with even more SPAM than they are now with their dictionary programs and the old mailing list Hotmail actually SOLD once upon a time?

      It's a good idea, but it Won't Work. At least not for long.

      What will?


      By actual study, only two percent of email users in the UK actually admitted to buying, or attempting to buy, anything from a SPAM message. That seems a bit low, but OK. Two Percent.
      In 2001 there were just over Twelve Million households online in the British Isles, with half of all adults having access to email.
      You wanna do the math?
      There is money to be made in SPAM.
      If your garbage email can reach enough people, and you can get a return like that, you'll do all right.
      Some SPAMMER LISTS claim a response rate of up to twenty percent. Others tout a Purchase Rate of Ten Percent. The truth is probably somewhere between the British two and the SPAMMER ten, most likely around the five percent range. But even if it really and truly is the lower figure, that's still a sizable audience.

      As long as the Gullible are out there with their money, and they have been since that famous line about PT Barnum was spouted a hundred years ago: "There's a sucker born every minute." Somebody will be there besides the Government to get it.
      [Barnum didn't say the famous line, it was said about a competitor and his show whom Barnum wanted to buy out.]

      Face it, people ARE gullible.
      Yes, individuals can be intelligent. Individuals are clever and full of common sense. A single person can be a shining example of the best of the species.
      But People, the Great Unwashed Masses, Humanity At Large are, well, the 1997 movie M.I.B. said it best:

Jay: Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it.
Kay: A *person* is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
      And those are the twenty percent that open SPAM messages, click on the link to see the cheap prescription drugs, low mortgage rates, designer sunglasses, R/C cars, computer cameras or even want to meet the 'sexy singles in your area' are what are driving the entire SPAM industry.
      And yes it is an industry. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent yearly. Sometimes the people get what they order, more often, they get something not quite up to snuff, and other times, they get ziltch.
      A lot of SPAM is simply SCAM SPAM. You send in your money, or credit card number, or whatever, and you get, taken.

      No, not all SPAM is a SCAM. True. Some are real offers.
      Not many. But some.
      And then, somebody just said, don't regular brick and mortar stores do business through email. Like say… DocDrugs/Pinnacle Meds?
      Oh, Yeah…. From

DocDrugs/Pinnacle Meds

This apparently Florida-based “spam gang,” which has so far managed to remain anonymous, controls an array of domains on which it hosts numerous mirrored online drugstores specializing in sexual-performance, weight-loss and other health-related products. The “mother ship” of the drugstore suite is, which has been hosted for long stretches by the Internet access company Ifxcorp, which does most of its business in South America.
How about Eddy Marin Number One SPAMMER in the world. (2003)
This Boca Raton, Fla.-based e-mailer recently earned the title of “World’s No. 1 spammer” from Spamhaus, which says he is capable of cranking out 50 million e-mails a day by himself and 250 million a day if he farms work out to other members of his “spam gang” in south Florida. A Colombia born former Pompano Beach nightclub owner and online porn entrepreneur with cocaine dealing and money laundering convictions on his record.
Alan RalskyWorld's Number Three SPAMMER
Ralsky, who is in his late 50s, has been among the nation’s biggest spammers since entering the business in 1997 while recovering from bankruptcy – one of nine filings dating back to 1993 -- and the loss of his insurance license. Previously, while living in Illinois, he was convicted of felony fraud and “failing to deliver a contract” involving unregistered securities.

      Real true Ma and Pa operations those. Classy people.

      Oh, yeah. Eddy specializes in 'Opt-In' mailing lists. Alan's SPAM flavor of choice is mortgages, vacations and casinos.

      This is all well known. It has been all over the TV news. There have been endless newspaper articles and write-ups in magazines. There have even been email warnings about doing business with SPAMMERS.
      Yet people still click on the links to see the 'Government Seizure Cars from One Dollar' and 'Click here to be removed' even though they know it isn't worth inconveniencing several billion electrons to do it.


      The Can Spam law has had one effect. SPAMMERS don’t have to work as hard to hide from lawsuits now. No sir. Now they can point to anything, including your opening an email which then sends a message back to their server that you opened the message to point to the fact that you have a 'business relationship' with them. Even if you were just opening the message to report them to your ISP's SPAM Control Officer.
      In fact, according to some reports, the high level SPAMMERS with high dollar and millions of sent messages a day were all in favor of the act. It was the little guys that stood to be hurt by it. Those listed above pump out enough mail in a day to shut down entire networks. In fact, one of them did.
      In 2001 Rasky was sued by Verizon for sending out so much bulk mail it paralyzed their network. He settled the following year paying unspecified damages and telling Verizon a comforting lie.
      And still it goes on, law or no law.

      The CAN SPAM law has been on the books for several months now, and by most accounts, the amount of SPAM has actually increased.

      Face it, when the SPAMMER's own newsletter, Opt-In News, says "Pay attention to CAN-SPAM, but stop worrying. You're going to be just fine." You can bet they mean it.

      So Congress in its own way wrote a lot of flowery language which looks good and sounds great, which, as usual, does little if anything to actually solve the problem.


      SPAM is not going to go away anytime soon. It is a fact of life and is here to stay. As long as you have email, IM, text messaging, and so on, you are going to have unwanted commercial solicitation.
      As you are annoying flashing banner ads, pop ups and unders, chains of consoles, and Flash animations that detract from the information you want.
      It is the Information Superhighway, and Commercial Messages are the Toll.


All links worked at time of posting. The SPAMHAUS project

The SPAMMERS own news outlet

The CAN-SPAM law itself

The Media Desk's Urban Legend and SPAM Info Page


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