English, German, Italian - It's All SPAM To Me
Has anyone else noticed the sudden blast of unsolicited
e-mail (spam) loaded with url's for the unsuspecting and
curious Internet surfer to click on?
What's even better, the bulk of this SPAM is in a foreign
language. I was at a neighborhood party this weekend and
you can't imagine the number of people who asked me for
assistance with this. They have no idea what to do.
The sad fact is there are a lot of Stupid People who have
nothing better to do and can't seem to find a better way
of making a buck than Annoying Me and everyone else
subject to their stupidity with spam. I guess that's a
little harsh. Not really.
How Does The Average Person Deal With This
I wrote in a previous article how bad a feel for the average
person having to deal with such things. It is increasingly
becoming a nightmare for all to deal with. For the technical
among us, it's not as bad given that we deal with such
things on a technical level almost everyday.
Given this current flood of SPAM I thought I would post an
article I wrote quite some time ago. It's a short article,
and may be old news for some, but I can tell you that many
people still don't follow the basic's when dealing with SPAM.
How You May Be Helping Spammers
I can't imagine that anyone with an e-mail address has not
received unsolicited e-mail or spam in one form or another.
What do you do when you receive these types of e-mails.
Do you delete them right away, respond to them informing
the sender you do not wish to receive them, or forward
them to a friend whom you think might be interested in the
When the Internet as we know it was very young and most
unsolicited e-mails where either by accident or the result
of opt-in subscriptions, you could respond with the word
"unsubscribe" in the reply subject and your name was taken
off the list. That quickly changed once people found
out how powerful a marketing tool e-mail was. Now, most
of the time you respond to unsolicited e-mails you are
letting the sender know that your e-mail address is active
or alive. Instead of being taken off the list you are
targeted more aggressively. The sender of the e-mail may
also sell your e-mail address to other e-marketers,
substantially increasing the number of unsolicited e-mails
WHow Do Spammers Get My E-mail Address
Well, there are quite a few ways, but one of the ways
spammers get hold of your e-mail address is literally by
guessing. For instance, say your e-mail address is part
of the domain "-notrealdomain-.com", and your e-mail address
is "me@-notrealdomain-.com", the spammers have programs that
will generate thousands of combinations of names / domains
i.e. "me@-notrealdomain-.com", "you@-notrealdomain-.com",
"them@-notrealdomain-.com" hoping that somewhere along the
line the target e-mail address exists. It's really not
difficult to do, since a computer can do this over and
over again. If you receive one of these e-mails and
reply to it, you have just informed the sender that they
did indeed find a live address. It's all downhill from
Spoofing E-mail Addresses
Another interesting tactic is to send someone an e-mail and
make it appear as if it came from your address. Have you
ever received an e-mail from someone you don't know and don't
have in you contact list asking you to stop sending them
unsolicited e-mails? Many people experience this problem.
Basically, the spammer made the recipient of the spam think
you sent it to them. This is called e-mail spoofing and is
relatively easy to do. The spammers use mail servers that
allow something called "mail relay." This allows them to send
e-mails from any source address (even yours) to any target
A few things to keep in mind when dealing with unsolicited
e-mails and spam:
If you are starting to receive SPAM in alternate languages,
check your e-mail client for the ability to filter / block
SPAM by specifying language types.
If you only speak English, and don't expect to receive
e-mail in German, then block it;
If your SPAM filter downloads data from your vendor for
known SPAM sites make sure to perform and schedule the
download to happen frequently;
If you receive e-mail or spam from someone you don't know,
do not respond to it, just delete it;
If someone informs you that they are receiving spam from
your e-mail address, inform them that it was not sent by
you and most likely came from a spammer who spoofed your
address. Tell them to just delete it;
Never give out your e-mail address unless you are sure the
site or organization will be responsible for it's privacy;
If you are going to sign up for something like a news
article or other information, read their privacy statement,
agreement, and disclaimer before doing so; And
Review the entire privacy statement to make sure there are
no check boxes or radio buttons on by default. You never
know what you are agreeing to.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help
prevent SPAM from becoming a huge burden. You will most
likely not be able to prevent all SPAM from getting to
your inbox, but you sure can decrease the number.
You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as
long as the bylines are included.
Original URL (The Web version of the article)
What SPAM Means: "Stupid People Annoying Me"
About The Author
Darren Miller is an Information Security Consultant with
over sixteen years experience. He has written many
technology & security articles, some of which have been
published in nationally circulated magazines & periodicals.
Darren is a staff writer for http://www.defendingthenet.com and
several other e-zines. If you would like to contact Darren
you can e-mail him at Darren.Miller@ParaLogic.Net