Email Spam Information
|As of: Jun-01-2023 3:03:38 PM||Last 24 Hours||Last 7 Days|
Everyone gets spam. Whether it's some wife of a dead minister in Africa trying to move millions of dollars sitting in an account or some way of enhancing your love life, we've all seen it.
At the very minimum, spam is annoying. It makes the tedious job of sorting through your mailbox take a little longer. Some spam is offensive: The get-rich-quick schemes offend your common sense, and the porn-site ads may offend your sense of decency. Spam wastes money and network bandwidth. What not to do about Spam
At it's worse, these unwanted messages contain malicious software or links to web sites that will try to infect your computer (all the more reason to use a Mac!)
The graph and chart on the top-right of this page show that the vast majority of email being sent on the Internet today is some form of the scourge.
As an Internet Service Provider we have gone to great lengths to protect our customers. We even built our own email server with adaptive and intelligent defensive layers that does an excellent job of stopping spam and malware in it's tracks.
But as the Spam War rages on, no defense is perfect and there will be messages that get through (false negatives) or messages that aren't spam and get bounced (false positives).
So we do our best to maintain a balance in this fight. Our mail administration control panel will show you what emails have have been blocked or allowed through. The most important thing is feedback from our customers so that we can continually improve our system.
- Spam Don'ts
- How did someone get my email address?
- I'm getting all these bounces of email I didn't send!
- The True Costs of Spam
- How can people send out so much Spam?
What Shouldn't I Do when I Receive Spam?
- Don't Reply to Spam.
99.99% of the time your reply won't even go to the person who sent the message; the return addresses are usually forgeries. The mail either bounces back (again wasting bandwidth), or worse, winds up in the in-box of the innocent person whose return address the spammers forged.
Even if the message did reach the person who sent the message, they will simply take your reply as a confirmation that your email address works and will simply send you more spam.
- Don't click on that link within the Spam
- Don't reply back to an address within the Spam
What Can I Do to Fight Spam?Spammers are fully aware that they annoy people, and know that their business would be jeopardized if their targets could fire back. If enough irate users were to complain to a spammer's ISP, the spammer's account might be cut off. In fact, many ISPs now have user agreements that explicitly forbid spamming. Even if the ISP takes no notice, the flood of return mail to the spammer could quickly make the account useless. For these reasons, among others, many spammers take pains to conceal their identities.
What are all these Bounces?Forging who a message is from is trivial. There are some methods of authenticating that a message is actually who it says it is from, but unfortunately these are not widely in use.
With that being the case, Spammers will send out emails with some poor innocent person as the From address, as the real message and action the Spammer hopes a recipient will take is for them to click on a link or reply back to an email address that is in the body of the message, the Spammer will not care that a bounce or direct reply will go to the wrong person.
Spam Costs Everyone SomethingSpam costs the sender very little to send -- most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.
How is Spam Sent?
The next time you get a piece of spam, take a look at its headers and try to figure out where it came from. If you think you know, chances are you're wrong. The From: and Reply to: fields may be missing, or they may be something obviously bogus such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Or it may look like a perfectly valid ordinary address. Don't be fooled. Most of the return addresses are forged.
Some spammers even take advantage of the free trial accounts offered by certain ISPs to fire off a few thousand emails and run before the ISP realizes what's going on.
It's easy to spam because the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) makes it that way. Many, if not most, mail-transport programs are set up to run in promiscuous relay mode, meaning that they will accept and forward mail even if it's addressed to someone outside the domain for which the relay is responsible. A very simple script, or even a human armed with the telnet program, can connect directly to a machine that receives incoming mail for an organization and fire off a barrage of hard-to-trace letters addressed to recipients in some other locale.
Where did they get my Address from?It's worth knowing how the perpetrators of junk e-mail come up with the e-mail addresses to send their messages to. There are several sources of mailing lists, but most of them originate as the return e-mail addresses attached to usenet postings in newsgroups.
If you post to usenet, chances are you'll receive junk e-mail sooner or later. Avoiding usenet entirely is one solution, albeit a fairly radical one. You might try not providing an e-mail address for your newsreader this has the catch of not allowing people who wish to respond to your posts to get back to you personally. At least, this might be a catch. It might be a feature, too.
There are mailing lists about generated by software that automatically roams the web looking for e-mail addresses embedded in web page. This won't be a concern unless you have your own web page.
Spammers use Web-crawling robots and scripts that scan newsgroups to generate lists of email addresses. They then augment these lists with the names of legitimate subscription mailing lists in order to widen their reach. Once they have their lists assembled, any standard mailer software can be used to broadcast their message across the Net.
The following list are some of the methods we use to block spam:
IP-based Dynamic Blacklists
- SpamHaus - Maintains list of spam received by servers worldwide
- spamcop.net - Member submitted analysis listings
Message Structure and Content Filtering
- Some sections of ChinaNet network.
We have in place certain sets of filters that look for certain phrases and formatting to block spam.