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More stupid smarty-pants email spamming tricks

or are we getting stupider?

     
8:46 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Just a couple more spam tricks in my email this morning... Im noting these down as ive received them quite a few times now. Another reason why unsolicted emails get dumped straight into the rubbish bin around here now...

"Just wanted to let you know that we have changed our page on <Relevant keyword> and the link you have to us at [somewhere.com...] has changed to [somewhere.org...] Do you mind changing the URL's?)"

tagline for their site here

..Problem is we never had a link to their site ever..

"We have added your site to our directory at <URL>! Please check you listing to make sure it is OK"

..Problem is our site wasnt there!

Add those to the other common ones..

Dear Enquiry, blah blah
- addressed to enquiry@domain.com

The other smarty pants ones are ones with subjects like..

Your house
Your mother
Expiry of domain <one of my domain names>

They sure get my attention, but I get to hate the origanizations that are sending these our whenever they trick me into opening up.

Our boss said he was tricked today. A confirmed bachelor the subject read..

"..Dear Dad, at last I found you!.."

Had a small heart attack he said..

[Sorry moderators, this should be in foo]

8:54 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Dear Dad, at last I found you!

hehehe, that's gooood!

Cheeky beggers...

Nick

9:13 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a few using:

did you forget your password?

Followed by the link and a password for entry to their spam site.

I blame split run testing for this 'fine tuning', they have tried hundreds of combinations and found the one that gets the best response.

In fact I am just starting to look at split run testing for some of my web pages - seems too powerful a technique to ignore.

9:21 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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i am getting new spam these days that go soemthing like " you acount will be deleted, last warrning" or somethign liek this which makes me open the email.of course i delete it instanlty (99% of spam i delete without even looking at it, i have 6th sence about spam now) .they say that opening email is the first step to sale. well, i dont thiunk so since "trciking" makes me even more mad for wasting my time and i delte this email "out of priciple".

this oneabout dad and about changing links is good too.also i got "password changes " too.

9:27 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Nice one was "thanks for the link"

the whole email was

we have put your link on wwwx.xxxxx. com

thanks again
webmaster@xxxxx

9:50 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Now, it's not just me - but spam HAS increased over the past year hasn't it? I'm seeing on average around 30-40 spam E-mails a day.
9:54 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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nutsandbolts do you want to swap email addresses I got over 350 this morning ;)

DaveN

Ps just got 4 more while typing is post

9:56 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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nutsandbolts and daven

you need to stop signing up to those dodgy websites! ;)

JOAT

10:00 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Ime convinced almost 90% of our spam email comes from some old mailto: links which we are slowly replacing with less robot friendly methods.

I get around 3 spams for each liegitimate email.

In 6 hours last Sunday the count was 120 emails, and 108 spam. The weekend seems to be spam open house.

10:00 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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it my dnsmaster@*****.co.uk which gets hit all the time.

you need to stop signing up to those dodgy websites

I always use dodgy@****.co.uk for them ;)

DaveN

10:10 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Would it be possible to set up a DB / site /script or something that people could forward spam emails to.

The address of the spammer could then be compiled and a generic email could be sent periodically to all the addresses on the DB (something like "stop ****ing spamming").

OK thats just a random thought and probably isnt practical but there must be way to stop these people!

JOAT :)

10:30 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joat.

The Problem is that the spam comes for yahoo or hotmail or a open relay mail server (that ones anoys me more that anything, then they point you to a single page hosted on some throw away domain.

or it's from a marketing company which just moves you from client to client.

one marketing company got really upset with me when i found out how they indexed thier clients and spamlist remove?id12345-43526.

wrote a asp to usubscribe the whole database

DaveN

10:43 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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i get over 100+ every day. my web hsot has some spam filtering and there are some program out there but i have jsut the feeling that somhow "importnat2 letter will be confused as spam and delted. anyway i need 10 second to delte all thespam:)
10:44 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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daven!

Thats genius! (im non techy and easily impressed!)

I visited a site yesterday that had about a dozen links at the bottom which were all:

to visitors from Australia
to visitors from (insert ISP)
to visitors from .... etc

Out of curiosity i clicked on one of the links and the webmaster had blocked dozens of IP address to stop email harvesters from those locations and the page as an explanation as to why he or she did this for the visitors.

I think a naming and shaming of the companies profiting from this is a good way to stop it. It isnt profitable then they wont do it - simple as that.

The SE's obviously cant stop it. ISP's dont seem to be doing too much. Web Based email has limited junk mail protection but its not very good.

Also raising consumer awareness of how they recieve junk mail (ie dont sign up to everything on the net!) would help to decrease it as well. There would be less addresses on the lists and therefore a smaller conversion of sales and less profit!

I wrote an articles for one of my sites about junk mail (on and off line) in a hope to raise a bit of awareness of how it is generated.

Just my thoughts! :)

JOAT

10:46 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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wrote a asp to usubscribe the whole database
----

i am not sure what is "a asp" but about unsubscribing:
i never unsubscribe. some spamers wait just this so they see your email is ACTIVE and then sell your email as "5 millions ACTIVE emails for $3.95"!

11:35 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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asp (active server page)

yes but if you unsubscribe everybody ;) it kind of upsets the balance of really to spoof email addresses.

you have 10 million email address which 9 million are dead or spoofed.

500,000 email addresses don't responsed at all.
and 500,000 unsubscribe from your list, Bingo theirs your new list 500,000 email address of live people now thats saleable to the guys that sell email address.

DaveN

12:04 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One importaint thing I have noticed lately is that spammers are sending their emails with a request for a receipt. So as soon as it hits your inbox outlook informs you that "the sender has requested a receipt, would you like to send one?"

I guess this is just a clever way of confirming the address is genuine. Similar in a way to th eunsubscribe message.

1:56 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I rec'd two yesterday with the subject line reading, "Your company was recommended by a friend". Naturally, I opened it, Internet Explorer was launched and I was immediately transported to a particularly disgusting site.

I am so fed up with these #$#@%^& guys. I hate the lot of them. It takes me at least 15 minutes every day to pour through all the spam to find my real mail. I'd love to find a way to spam the heck out of them and see how they like it.

(End of rant)

2:08 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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spamming them back doesn't help

the real evil of spam isn't the difficulty of dealing with it once it has arrived...the problem is the load it places on the costs of ISPs, especially when it is bouncing around invalid addresses...the spammer is making us pay for them to spam...spamming them back just makes it more expensive for us

2:26 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think that email as a serious form of communication is dying quick.

The biggest problem is that is it free!

If it wasnt we would immediately lose 90% of spam as most of it is untargeted bulk email where one postive response in 10,000 after expenses makes a profit.

Ive tried to think how a system could possibly be set up involving making all pay an insignifcant amount for each email, making it unnoticeable for consmers or legitimate businesses, but uneconomical to send out emails to thousands with absolutely no intelligent targeting, which is the only way bulk spammers make money.

No way I can think of a way to do it in practice though...

2:52 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I must admit to getting revenge once or twice. I set up a web based mail client. Every time I got junk mail I clicked a button and it sent all my spam from the past 5 years to their address and signed them up to LOADS and I mean LOADS of dodgy mailling lists.

Of course, A DOS attack would be the next action but it is illegal and I wouldn't want to affect anyone innocently using their server.

Damn you conscience ;)

Chris

2:58 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>where one postive response in 10,000 after expenses makes a profit.

Not quite. All they'd do is increase the price of the spam list from $5 to $100 and so on. Then you'd change the type of spam as it'd only be the big money items that swamped the inbox.

I've noticed a disturbing trend of marketing firms (amateurs) spamming. They are trying to convince prospective clients that this is the way forward. How wrong they can be.

I'm constantly being told that I need to increase the size of certain parts of my anatomy and parts that I don't own, too. Many of these addresses used for these are from e-mail addys that were around five years ago, or more.

Whatever you do, do not bother unsubscribing from unsolicited e-mail. If you had subscribed, then that is entirely different.

Bouncing the mail only provides personal satifaction, assuming the spammer gave a valid e-mail address.

So, what else can we do?
I've made use of Wpoison and it works. In fact, it works so well that you don't even have to have the scipt on your servers. Simply, it generates a trap for the harvesters. Now, the harvesters simply go away from sites that "appear" to contain Wpoison.

4:40 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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i now make use of "the perfect .htaccess ban list" as found here:
[webmasterworld.com...]

simply add this .htaccess file to redirect bad bots and email harvesters to a web page listing spammers real email addresses. don't use the yahoo or hotmail addresses they send from, go to their site and get their real sales or enquiries email addresses. result is that spammers end up sending spam to other spammers.

if enough of us do this, spamers might just catch on to the idea that sending spam will get them on more spam lists than they could imagine.

4:57 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have found an effective way to slow down / stop some spammers. I go to whois and find out who the administrator of the domain is. I then set up a rule that any email coming from that domain be forwaded to the administrator of the domain and then I have the email deleted.
5:18 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Spam has be be stopped at the server level, so it can be denied at arrival.

Most mail server software (mail transfer agents, MTAs), at least in the unix world, allows the use of DNS based blacklists of known spammers and open relays. I also block everything from korea and china, because it is all spam. Various keywords and text patterns can also be filtered, so the mail bounces immediately without ever arriving in the users mailbox. This makes the mailbox appear inexistant.

Besides the blocks in the MTA I filter my personal mail through spamassassin (http://www.spamassassin.org/), which makes further checks on the content of the mail.

All this probably requires a unix based mail server, but similar things must exist in the MS world, though I will be unable to help there.

Before filtering I get 100+ spam emails per week, after filtering on the server it is down to a handful.

Talk to your mail server admins about spam filtering on the server.

René.

5:24 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've got 3 words for you guys....

mailwasher, mailwasher, mailwasher [webmasterworld.com]

7:01 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Mailwasher rules.
9:12 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, shoot, now *I* have to try mailwasher.

I was out sick yesterday, and had some office girl print out all the emails to that were coming in. I was horrified to she was printing out the farmsex and **** enlargement spam.

2:47 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yes spam is on the up and up and no end of tricks abound but you can usually SMELL them at a thousand paces now.
They usually use incorrect grammar for one thing - that's if you can't see repetition in the senders box or indeed the headers themselves.
About 1800 rules I have added over time in my delete mail option take care of 99 % of it. It's unfortunate I still have to download it though.
BTW I NEVER subscribe to anything dodgy and I certainly never confirm my address by requesting removal but I have noticed a massive increase in spam in recent months.
Usually I *now* get about 1,000 each day to my various webmaster addresses and no trick surprises me any more.
Amusingly (as a female WebMistress) I currently receive about 400 emails a day telling me how I can enlarge my (non-existant) member or indeed *perform longer*. About another 200 tell me where I can find lost and lonely housewives and/or Russian brides etc ...
If only they knew :)
In fact I wish they *would* find out and leave me alone.
3:26 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Alison.

>It's unfortunate I still have to download it though.

Not with Mailwasher and a few of the other email filters out there. They process it on the server and build a review page. Those that fail the filters are marked for deletion are nuked on the server, leaving only the ones that passed for downloading.

I have about 175 in the queue each morning, I'm now running a heavy-duty filter for the the primary spam terms first, which then marks them for deletion and hides that line in the review page so I don't even have to look at them while I review the remaining ones for possible false-positives. Works great!

 

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