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Spam

Spammers Busted 189

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-would-fall-for-that dept.
Scud_the_disposable_ writes "CNN has posted an article about the "shutting down" of several spammers who sell fake international driver's licenses. These licenses are supposed to win back suspended driving priviledges, and make holders immune to speeding tickets and other traffic violations." What makes me even more sad is that people fell for it. So far today is a slow spam day for me. Only 81 spam, but its only 9:30.
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Spammers Busted

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  • Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:29AM (#5107364)
    They weren't actually busted for spamming.
  • by Control-Z (321144) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:34AM (#5107379)
    Ok, it's good the FTC is cracking down on illegal/fradulent product spammers. But that still leaves all the spammers who are selling legitimate products (such as all that refinancing crap, I suppose that could be real), and then what about all the spammers from overseas? And the US ones will find a way to base their operations overseas should the need arise. What about sending them from the middle of the ocean in International waters?

    We still gotta fix the Internet mail system. It would probably take the support of *shudder* Microsoft in an upcoming version of Windows to affect a major change like that. Or a saavy small company with good PR/marketing.

    • by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003@colum[ ].edu ['bia' in gap]> on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:52AM (#5107427) Homepage Journal
      I don't want to make a presumption here, but most of the proposed "improvements" in the e-mail system have been bad for ALL of the following reasons:
      1) Centralised control allowing censorship. *
      2) Ease of central monitering of communications.
      3) Proprietary issues.

      * I don't see how you could stop spam without enabling whoever made the decision about what was "spam" to censor anyone they wanted.

      That said, I'd love to see all those small island nation / crime havens brought to heel. The spam, though, is really a very small issue. Billions of dollars in costs, yes, but compared with all the money launderers and tax cheats doing business out of island nations, it's chump change.
      • I don't see how you could stop spam without enabling whoever made the decision about what was "spam" to censor anyone they wanted.

        The real way to stop spam without having a central spam authority is to put all the cost of the delivery on the sender. What makes spam so profitable is half the cost of each message is born by the recipient. Someone needs to invent digital postage....

      • by timmyf2371 (586051) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:20AM (#5107506)
        I don't think we necessarily need a governing body who controls spam, or any aspect of the Internet for that matter.

        IMO, what might work would be a redesigning of the STMP and possibly the POP3 protocols or an entirely new protocol. What I would suggest would be:

        1. Client-server authentication for all outgoing mail transactions. This would help a great deal with the problem of open relays.

        2. A specification to stop the masking of all headers, especially origination IP address and the senders e-mail address. This way, if spammers do continue their tricks, the recipients would have all their details to report to ISPs or local authorities.

        3. E-mail applications which allow users to specify whether they want to receive mail using solely the new protocol, or whether the also wish to allow "old" POP3/smtp mail.

        Any thoughts?

        Tim

        • by dr_labrat (15478)
          Or you co9uls just use an opensource baysian filter like
          POPFile [sourceforge.net]
          After a bit of training it catches about 99% of the spam I usually get...
          • I second that. It's fairly easy to set up, runs on multiple platforms, and it has a real installer for us point'n'drool Windows folks.

            It works as a proxy between your POP client and any POP-servers you want to use. It analyzes incoming messages and classifies them to different buckets. It can either alter the subject of the message or add a X-Text-Classification: -header to be used by your POP client for filtering. And you can have more than two buckets, so it can differentiate between more kinds of mail than just "spam" and "not spam"

            And it is free software! OOOOOOOH! But the most important thing is that it works.

          • Filtering is ok as a stopgap measure for geeks, but what needs done is stopping the spam from being sent in the first place.

      • I beg to respectfully disagree,
        IMHO
        If they are selling something, or asking for money, then it's probably Spam.

        If it's commerce then there is a bit of a difference from speech that should be protected; in America, at least, the intent of the First Admendment was originally to protect political discourse, not advertising claims. Suprrise suprise, suprise that has gotten just a *wee* bit corrupted in the last few hunded years.

        So, I hate censorship as much as anyone, but sometimes long for the good ol' days of arpanet on those mornings that I have 200 spams and 150 legitimate emails waiting for me in the inbox.

        • by tsg (262138)
          I hate censorship as much as anyone

          There are already limits on commercial speech. Truth in advertising laws, and laws against telemarketers calling cellphones to name a couple.

          Not that I think making spam illegal will help anything. They'll just go offshore. But there's no First Ammendment issue with making it illegal.

      • Whitelist.

        OK, maybe that should be two words, but it works really well. Every email coming into my system gets its From address checked against a list of approved correspondents. If there is a match, the message is delivered normally. If there's no match, a message goes out asking them to confirm that they are not a spammer. Upon receipt of confirmation, the original message is delivered and the address is added to the whitelist.

        So far it appears that the nigerian bank scammers are the only spammers who a) use valid From or Reply-to addresses and b) read their responses. In the few months that I've been using a whitelist, I've seen two or three of those scams, and nothing else.

        There's nothing centralized or proprietary about it.

        It's simple, but it works very well, because spammers (with VERY few exceptions) do not personalize their from addresses, and practically cannot, because of the bandwidth it would require. They also do not read the replies their spam generates; again, there's a bandwidth problem, not to mention that they know very well that 99% of the replies probably consist of little more than expletives.

        With a bit more work, it could be far more secure. For example, the filter could bounce anything not digitally signed by someone in the whitelist, and a key-signing distributed web of trust could be used to keep out spammers. That could be done with an infrastructure change, or it could be done with widespread adoption of PGP, GPG, or Zendit [zendit.com] -style encryption software (which would be a good thing anyhow). (Disclaimer: I work for Authora, makers of Zendit.)

        This doesn't solve the bandwidth problem, but it does solve the waste-my-time problem, which is good enough for me.

        • Whitelist.

          I dislike whitelists for several reasons;

          • Mailing lists. Improperly configured whitelists can (and very often do) wreak havok on even low-traffic lists. (Infinite loops of whitelist responses to whitelist messages in response to ... )
          • Potential employment / other avenues of potential gain. Often times, these people will be annoyed by having to confirm their identity in order to inform you of what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
          • Updates / notes from friends who aren't terribly computer-savvy. Such lists can not only confuse them, but can result in lost e-mails if they send them from, say, a web-based account they don't check regularly.
          • Personal taste. I greatly dislike having to essentially request permission to correspond with someone. I have upwards of a dozen e-mail addresses which I'll use at any given time depending on the hat I'm wearing, and this would require my requesting posting privileges for each of them.

          As has been pointed out already, Bayesian filtering is the way of the future. You put up with SPAM for a limited amount of time and then it learns your routines and filters it for you. You don't inconvenience anybody save for yourself (initially, and the cost of downloading the SPAM, a cost incurred by the use of whitelists anyways), and they're not prone to causing public nuissance.

          Also as you've alluded to, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to forge the From: identity of someone already in your whitelist; something that happens quite frequently. A popular SPAM harvesting technique is to harvest mailing lists and use the names found in this list as the From: and To: address, effectively sending people SPAM 'from' themselves, or 'from' people with whom they correspond on a regular basis.

          As to digitally signed e-mails; that's fine and good for the 2% of Internet users who are remotely capable of even understanding such a concept, but I have to say, for most of the people with whom I correspond (many of them clients) this is simply not an option.

          • by NFW (560362)
            Also as you've alluded to, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to forge the From: identity of someone already in your whitelist; something that happens quite frequently.

            And as I said, they would need more bandwidth to tailor the From address on every message they sent. Way more. Right now they inject a single copy of the message with a long list of addresses in the "RCPT TO" SMTP command, and the relay owner eats the bandwidth. Customizing the From address would require the spammer to send one full copy of the message for each recipient. I'm guessing that's a 10x or 100x increase in bandwidth demands, maybe more.

            More significantly, whitelist-approved From addresses will not scale to the proportions of spammers' mailing lists. It's one thing to scrape a million addresses from usenet, it's another to discover a whitelist-approved From address for every victim's address. This does not worry me one bit.

            Als for mailing lists, they are addressed up front in the procmail script that implements my whitelist system. They get delivered before the whitelist gets examined. I'm on more lists than I can count, and I have yet to send a confirmation request to a list or to someone on a list. The only errors so far have been in the form of mailing list messages erroneously delivered to my daemon folder.

            If someone can't be bothered to confirm a message, I can't be bothered to read their message. That is a feature, not a bug.

            I look at it this way... How much spam am I willing to put up with in order to prevent friends from having to (gasp) send one extra message when they switch email addresses? Answer: none.

            • I look at it this way... How much spam am I willing to put up with in order to prevent friends from having to (gasp) send one extra message when they switch email addresses? Answer: none.

              But it's not one friend, or one e-mail message; if everybody implemented whitelists you'd have to send dozens, possibly hundreds of messages every time you changed your address. This would most likely drive people insane to the point where software would be written to automate this task, and lo and behold, the SPAMmers now have tools with which to defeat whitelists.

              Whitelists may work for some people as a small, niche tool for defeating SPAM, but it's not scalable. Bayesian filters are 100% scalable, and are as-yet all but impossible to defeat, once trained.

              Bayesian filtering comes with all the advantages of a whitelist without any of the inherrant disadvantages.

    • by swb (14022) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:01AM (#5107446)
      How many spams are for legitimate products? In the financial services category I'd wager that most of them are not legitimate. The closest to "legitmate" I can think of are ads for porn sites, and I wonder how many of them aren't also credit card scams or trojan-spreaders.

      Going after the fraud that makes up a majority of spam would have a huge impact I think, and its the one way you can go after spammers without crippling email with restrictions, laws, etc.

      The only potential downside I can see to this is that by removing the criminals from spam, it might 'clean up' spam's image to the point that businesses that have stayed out of email marketing due to the association with fraudulent entities might want to get into it if it was seen as more legitimate.
      • And discovered that most of the ads for porn sites are genuine.

        I've also discovered that I could increase the size of my... you know what... for only $49. Who says spam's not useful?
      • Spam for lagit products is rare.
        Take the printer toner spam. Lagit right? He's clamming to be an atherised retailer of new cartrages.
        Unlikely. Atherised retaillers carry a full line of products.
        He's more likely selling referbished cartrages. Recycled cartrages when done badly can damage your equipment.
        The loans all look to good to be true.
        Need I say more?
        Scams everywhere.

        Lagit products and services need a steady stream of custummers. Spam only provides custummers for the short term and kills off long term prospects.
        Scams don't have long term commitments. They need only produce a one time income.
        That's how spam works. Sacraficing long term success for short term proffit.
    • They did not crack down on spammers for spamming, but for selling a bogus product, as someone else correctly pointed out.

      Technical measures alone will not cut it, we'll need legislation as well to outlaw spam, and get those laws adopted in as many countries as we can. You'll want a good lock on your door and laws to make burglary a crime...
    • by RT Alec (608475)
      Simple solution: have ISP's block egress traffic on port 25. Use your ISP's SMTP server, or get the admin of the server you wish to use to use a different port (e.g. SMTP + SSL on port 465). Imagine the spam that would be stopped if just AOL implemented this!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why should we be happy when the spammers get spammed? Ponder this.

    Lex Talionis, the principle of an eye for an eye, is a morally bankrupt code of law we've been moving away from for the past few thousand years, thankfully. It can't deal with the complexities of the modern legal order, and it ignores all proper justifications for systems of punishment: rehabilitation, prophylaxis, etc. It makes an assertion of rigid judgment in an attempt to avoid judgment itself. We can't live in a world without judgment.

    Ask yourself this: should we rape the rapist? If not, why not? (Ignore for a moment that we essentially do rape rapists by committing them to so-called "maximum security" prisons where they get systematically brutalized and raped by guards and other inmates.) It's not a morally tenable position to lower ourselves to the level of brutes just so we can vindicate some idea of retribution.

    Therefore, ask yourself why we should be happy when the spammer gets spammed? No one should have to endure the pain and annoyance of spam: it's the scurge of the online world. Not even the spammer, who may be in his business because of factors outside his control like debt or bills for an illness in the family, etc. We should be outraged when anyone is spammed, and we should put the full force of the state and the law against the perpetrator no matter who the victim! Picking and choosing among which victims to protect is something the legal order of former barbaric times did. I'd be disgusted if our government returned to those days.

    Spam == bad. Victimization == bad. Why do people conflate the two? What kind of giddy moral superiority to you get from seeing anyone hurt?
    • by stevejsmith (614145) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:40AM (#5107390) Homepage

      If you are referring to that one case where a spammers address was published on Slashdot, it was perfectly acceptable. Why? Simple: the man was not caught. What people were trying to do was call attention to the fact that there need to be laws to stop spam. When we sent massive amounts of letters to the guy's house, it was perfectly legal. That is what needs to be changed. The point was that this man was not doing something illegal, when he should have been.

      Another thing: he continues to do it! If a rapist is in jail, they are not raping anybody. This man, however, is probably as we speak signing deals with XXX PENIS XXX ENLARGERS XXX SEVENTEEN INCHES XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!.

    • by nightherper (635698) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:45AM (#5107403) Homepage
      I don't get any feeling of "moral superiority" from seeing anyone hurt. I just want all spammers shot on sight or in a nice big line-up with a chaingun.

      Anyone asinine enough to send spam does not need to be contributing to the gene pool.

      Burning Karma makes me feel all prickly inside though...

      • I don't get any feeling of "moral superiority" from seeing anyone hurt. I just want all spammers shot on sight or in a nice big line-up with a chaingun.

        The funny thing is, I feel inferior to these guys... I don't have a million dollar house, do you?

        Something which I find very ironic is that the spam-wars seem, to me at least, to parallel the US's drug war in many ways. I hate spam, and I do think that it should be illegal to have fake unsubscribe info and spoofed headers.

        However, as long as people keep buying penis enlargement pills, people will keep sending spam, the same as the burning down a coca field in columbia won't stop Robert Downey Jr from blowing lines off a stripper's ass.

        I think more resources should be spent redefining some sort of authenticated SMTP and educating dumb people that not everything they read is true. Less time wasted with filters and blocking (and god help us, the random social policies of the 10 dorks of SPEWS who inadvertantly block half of the internet from time to time).
  • by Tyreth (523822) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:43AM (#5107396)
    Sheesh, 81 spam e-mails so far today? I guess I really don't appreciate how much of a problem this is for American's, especially the ones who have been around for a while with the same address.

    My e-mail address tends to change every 2-3 years. So far I've had this new one about 5 months perhaps, and only get one spam e-mail every week or so. Of course, I don't know how much of this is because my ISP is doing its part to stop spam.

    Nevertheless, this sounds like a small victory. Unless I misunderstand...
    • Re:So much spam! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by krisguy (120047)
      My e-mail address tends to change every 2-3 years. So far I've had this new one about 5 months perhaps, and only get one spam e-mail every week or so. Of course, I don't know how much of this is because my ISP is doing its part to stop spam.

      I don't know how much my ISP is doing to stop spam either. That's why I decided to build my own mail server. At least this way if I get spam, I can block the address and/or host with a little change to my access file.
      I know that there are better ways to do it, but for the little amount of mail I get, it makes me feel good I can do something to stop the spam.
      • Some ISP's participate in blocking spam from known open relay hosts. I don't think they'd actually filter much beyond that but they might. I'd be worried about them using apps to try and guess which is spam, but I'm not worried about them blocking known open relay hosts.
    • I don't know how much of this is because my ISP is doing its part to stop spam.

      You mean you suspect your ISP of filtering your mail without you knowing it? I cannot imagine you want someone to filter your mail without your explicit permission.
    • Well I am an american and I dont get that much spam on all
      16 e-mail addresses. (14 of them are e-mail address that are aliased to me). The trick to keep spam down is simple.
      Never Post your e-mail address in newsgroups, message boards, or Irc.
      When making your web page avoid using mailto links. and use graphic (jpg, png, etc) to display your e-mail address.
      Use a somewhat complicated email address so gussing algorithems wont get it.

      Basicly most of the spam I get (about 5 a day) is from the webmaster.
      With those 5 a day I forward each one (with all the Received: headers) to uce@ftc.gov. Then after the forward I use my e-mail clients feature and mimmic a bouceback. All this takes a couple of seconds more then just hitting delete but when you can reduce your spam to 4 or 5 a day. then it saves time.
      • I use a Yahoo mail address and I find that they do a very good job of keeping the tide down below my chin. The downside to this is that they're only willing to do so much for you for free and I'm left having to consider kicking in a few bucks to get a larger, heftier version of my current mailbox with more extensive blocking and filtering routines.

        I think that Jellomizer's advice about not posting in newsgroups and using a name that is hard for an algorithm to make out are good ideas, but considering the pace of innovation and the constant warfare between the cleverest programmer working for a spammer and the cleverest programmer working against one, the only way to keep down spam seems to involve filtration routines and intelligent use of your email accounts.

        After seeing this thread, I wonder about luck: it's been a long time since anyone's offered to inflate my breasts and stretch my penis on the same day...
    • > My e-mail address tends to change every 2-3 years.

      Actually, in the Good Old(tm) Days, most folk with email addresses used to have *one* email address, and stick to it for ages. Then came Hotmail, Yahoo and the like, and suddenly email addresses became free and disposable. I think this is a *big* reason why spam doesn't bother the average Joe and Jane -- too much spam? sign up for a new Yahoo account, and mail entire circle of friends about the change.

      Spam only bothers folks who like having a well-known email address: and this is mostly geeks and sundry folk in the IT biz.

      • Trust me. I have relatives who use "free" services. They're pissed off by spam. Doubly so if they have to change their e-mails because of it. Not probably to the same extent I am, because I remember the days before spam, and I have several e-mail addresses I've used for years.

        However, it's probably more frustrating for them, because they can't do much other than change e-mails. I at least have the option of filtering at my mailserver in conjunction with stuff like SpamAssassin (and that filter list is getting longer, and longer...)
        • > I have relatives who use "free" services. They're pissed off by spam.

          They get pissed off because they get spam on a free account? If they had to actually had to pay for the account, they'd probably be writing to their congresscritters to outlaw spam :-)

  • by Krapangor (533950) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:44AM (#5107398) Homepage
    for shutting them down.
    It's the fact that the advanced driving licences these guys sell enable free citizens to drive around freely, throwing down the chains of the goverment. All these driving restrictions are just irrational restrictions installed by the goverment to ban people form exercizing their human right the drive anywhere they want and how faster ever they want.
    It's no coincidence that after 9/11 the number of driving restrictions raised by 236.7 percent, even after the increase of 37.89 percent when Bush became president.
    Such laws are just there to get people used to a climate of restriction and oppression where the goverment can do anything they want. In Soviet Russia for example only 50 mph of the streets where allowed and for driving more then 80 miles any from your hometown you needed a special passport.
    Does this ring a bell ? Ashcuft anyone ?
    Sorry, but this "spam" argument in this case is just another goverment scam to fool people like the moon landing and the SDI system.
    • by Brandon30X (34344) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:52AM (#5107429)
      In Soviet Russia for example only 50 mph of the streets where allowed and for driving more then 80 miles any from your hometown you needed a special passport.

      That is the worst "IN SOVIET RUSSIA" joke I have ever heard.
      -Brandon
    • An international drivers license is usually only issued on the basis of having a _valid_ national license. Here in the UK you must take a valid UK license to the Post Office (or the AA) to get an International License.

      It is also not valid for the country of issue, and I'm betting most insurance companies won't accept one when insuring your vehicle. So basically, I'd need some form of valid foreign license to get an international license that I could use in the USA, and even then I'd be driving without insurance, which I know is illegal in most if not all states.

      So I don't see why anyone should fall for this scam...
  • by The Creator (4611) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:44AM (#5107399) Homepage Journal
    I whould sell the following service:

    Choose the sex of you future child, money back guarentie.

    • " I whould sell the following service:

      Choose the sex of you future child, money back guarentie."

      And it would appear you have the spelling skills to pull it off!!!
    • Right, well, I'm setting up in competition. MY system of fixing a child's sex is more reliable, you see. In fact, it's so reliable that I'll guarantee your money back if it fails plus 50% extra in compensation!
  • by KDan (90353) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:45AM (#5107400) Homepage
    There's really less realistic spam around than "stealth" driving licences... I mean, the people I'm really worried about are those who fall for someone selling them pills that will (all at one time):
    1) Stop aging
    2) Increase their IQ
    3) Increase the size of their penis
    4) Make them earn more money NOW

    Now the people who fall for that are really in need of psychiatric assistance, and there must be some or the spammers wouldn't bother.

    Daniel
    • by Angry White Guy (521337) <CaptainBurly[AT]goodbadmovies.com> on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:45AM (#5107594)
      I don't know about the other ones, but #2 is a perfectly valid e-mail.

      Picture this: Jimmbob replies to an email to have his IQ raised. Jimmbob purchases said product, fully expecting to get smarter. Jimmbob, after buying sugar pills for $75, doesn't feel any smarter, cannot grasp how the little man in the fridge knows exactly when he's going to open the door, and realizes that he has been ripped off. It is at that exact moment where Jimmbob has become smarter. As I.Q. points are the agreed-upon measure of intelligence, and intelligence is a fancy word for smartness, ol' Jimmbob has, through grasping the fact that he had been taken advantage of, has dun made himself smarter.

      Now lets say ol' Jimmbob has life insurance, and that those weren't sugar pills, but slow acting poison. There goes #1 and #4 right there. I'm not sure what rigormortis does to penis size, but hell, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.
  • Your penis size is directly proportional to the amount of spam you receive.

    sh

  • by nuggz (69912) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:50AM (#5107417) Homepage
    Many people throw away money like these irrevocable drivers license, Nigerian bank scams, the stock market bubble.

    The people doing this are trying to cheat, and beat the system, playing games they don't quite understand.

    They deserve to lose their money.

    If you try to steal millions from the people of Nigeria, I hope you DO lose your money.
    If you want to get an irrevocable license so you can keep drinking and driving and killing people I hope you lose your money (among other penalties).
    If you go and throw every penny you have at some complex financial system you can't possibly understand hoping to make a quick buck, you get what you deserve.

    People need to take responsiblity for their own actions.

    That being said, fraud isn't acceptable and should be punished. But a reasonable person should be able to tell these are scams.
    • by tsg (262138) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:41AM (#5107583)
      There's an old con-artist saying:

      "You can't cheat an honest man."

    • I hope you'll keep that perspective in mind if an aged parent of yours is fooled by a get rich quick scheme like this and blows half your inheritance.

      Your view only works if you presume that everyone is smart or competent enough to see through such things. Many aren't. That's life. This is why fraud is illegal.

      Another point, there's a very slippery slope between blatant fraud like this and more subtle scams that might fool someone as competent as you.

      • I hope you'll keep that perspective in mind if an aged parent of yours is fooled by a get rich quick scheme like this and blows half your inheritance.

        I don't buy the old age as an excuse for naivette line of thining.

        My paternal grandparents are 80 years old. My maternal grandmother (widowed) is 76 years old. None of the three of them have been hustled out of their money, so my 'inheritance' remains intact. Why is this, you ask? Because they don't fall for get-rich-quick schemes, they don't respond to telemarketters ("If I desire your services, I'll contact you."), they don't open, letalone respond to mailed investment "opportunities", and before making a financial investment they weigh it against their financial situation, they weigh the risks they're aware of and contrast it to the possible rewards, and for that which they aren't sure of they contact their financial advisor.

        The fact of the matter is, anybody has the potential to be hustled/swindled out of their money; young or old. It takes logic and reason (often referred to as 'common sense', though I know it to be quite uncommon indeed) to avoid becomming a victim in this case. As usual, the addage "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." comes into play.

        If you need me, I'll be firmly entrenched in the "Stupid people deserve to get screwed." camp, toasting marshmallows and hugging my wallet. :)

        • Someday you'll probably have to come to grips with the realities of senile dementia, whether in yourself or in someone close to you. Blood vessels stop working well at that age and parts of your brain just... die. Lucky for you that you haven't had to deal with it yet.

          You will someday though.
      • The greedy wanting money for nothing.

        So its karma
  • Great idea (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:55AM (#5107433) Homepage Journal
    What we need is a Fox TV show about this!

    'Spam-Busters', naturally with a theme copying Ghostbusters.

    I for one know I'd spend at least 3 hours a day watching people sift through IP addresses and make phone calls!
  • Slacker (Score:5, Funny)

    by jmb-d (322230) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @10:55AM (#5107437) Homepage Journal
    So far today is a slow spam day for me. Only 81 spam, but its only 9:30.

    You need to work smarter, not harder, Taco. I'm sure that if you apply yourself, you can come up with, say, a Perl script to send hundreds, or even thousands of spam by 0900 each and every day...
  • Nuisance Suits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omkar (618823) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:02AM (#5107448) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know of efforts to stop spammers by pestering them with nuisance suits that they have to defend? Could work, at least until they move abroad.

    Or we could just burn them for fuel.
  • Burn the spammers! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:07AM (#5107460)
    As an avid user of SpamCop [spamcop.net], I've become accustomed to seeing certain repeat spammers who enjoy plugging up my E-mail account. Then I saw this E-mail -- spam, of course -- offering to sell me E-mail address list. The E-mail address to contact for information... from btamail.net.cn: the worst offender of all!

    ---
    We have just released 2 Million freshly extracted Canadian email addresses.

    Just for this week, you can download these for only US$29!

    Now you can send emails to only people who reside in Canada.

    To order yours, please fill in the form below and email it back to ***********@btamail.net.cn
    Make sure you put "ORDER" in the SUBJECT line.

    ---
    (addressed blanked out, I don't want to send them more business!)

    I know I've sent tonnes of complaints to the ISPs involved with btamail (though SpamCop), but I wonder if there's a more direct or effective approach... especially since I'm certain they're pimping out *MY* E-mail address in their "freshly extracted" batch.

    Yeah. I'm bitter.

    • I've come close to blacklisting the entire .cn domain before now... I settled for high scoring rules in SA (basically if it's been via china or korea if there's even a *sniff* of spamminess about it it gets binned).
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:19AM (#5107504) Homepage
    Provided they use only their own resources (i.e. they do not tax other people's hardware and bandwidth) and are regulated the same way that all other marketters are regulated. This means they can't "hide" themselves behind forged headers or other information designed to deceive the reader/recipient.

    After that, they become a legitimate marketting force. Of course I don't expect SPAM to survive in such an environment, but I think it should be legal under those conditions.
    • In that case spam would be on the same level as junk snail mail. It doesn't cost me anything and, unless it's interfering with my real mail, I ignore it and throw it out. That I could live with. Hell, email advertisers could even subsidize the internet making it cheaper for me to get service. That I could certainly live with.
    • Provided they use only their own resources (i.e. they do not tax other people's hardware and bandwidth) and are regulated the same way that all other marketters are regulated. This means they can't "hide" themselves behind forged headers or other information designed to deceive the reader/recipient.

      Unfortunately, those rules are simply in contradiction to SMTP. SMTP requires that the receiver provide the server to hold the message, and there is no way to authenticate the from and reply addresses.
    • Provided they use only their own resources (i.e. they do not tax other people's hardware and bandwidth)

      ...and most important of those people, my hardware and my bandwidth. And no, it's not for sale/lease so you can spam me. So there's no such thing as "legal" SPAM.

      Kjella
    • Provided they use only their own resources (i.e. they do not tax other people's hardware and bandwidth)

      In other news, it was proposed that murder be made legal if nobody got killed.

  • Tsk Tsk CmdrTaco (Score:2, Informative)

    I thought for sure, with as much spam as you get, you'd be the first one to try out the bayesian mail filters that Paul Graham [paulgraham.com] wrote about. One of the ones he suggested was CRM114 [sf.net] With a reputed catch rate of 99.8%, do you really not want to try it that much?
  • And this is why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by foxtrot (14140) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:35AM (#5107565)
    We will probably always be stuck with spam.

    I keep looking at it and saying, "Who buys this stuff? Who's so stupid to buy stuff from a spammer?" I look at it and wonder how spamming could possibly be profitable. ...and then we find people who believe they can buy a drivers' license that'll reinstate their revoked one and make them immume to speeding tickets.

    As P.T. Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute, and I get the feeling if he were around today, he'd find lots of money in spam...
    • Barnum didn't say that. Basically some guy (can't remember his name, check google) was showing the skeleton of a giant (or something along those lines). Barnum made his own "giant" and started showing it around saying his was the orginal. Eventually people believed him and the other guy was screwed. So it was that guy that said "Theres a sucker born..." in regards to P.T. Barnum. I know my post is rather lacking on details (although the plot of the story is true) but you can do a search on google and have all the details you want.
  • 81 Spam Messages? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SpaceRook (630389)
    OK, I have to ask: what the heck are you guys doing with your email addresses that make you get 81 spam messages before noon? Publishing it on a billboard in Times Square? I've had my current email for 3 months. I don't get ANY spam. And I'm a guy whose used that address at Amazon, Drugstore.com, Yahoo, eBay, and a million other places. The only place I haven't used it is on Usenet.

    The only email account I have that gets spam is my Hotmail account. I call this my "slutty" email because it's the one I use when I KNOW providing an email address will give me spam.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I call this my "slutty" email because it's the one I use when I KNOW providing an email address will give me spam.

      I call that "My Boss's E-Mail Address".

      Always a fun thing.
    • The only email account I have that gets spam is my Hotmail account. I call this my "slutty" email because it's the one I use when I KNOW providing an email address will give me spam.

      Occasionally, I run across email-address-requiring services too (IBM's free Linux compiler, Yahoo mail account, etc). If you only need to get one email, which contains a password or activation key or something, you have a pretty good alternative.

      I run a mail server on my workstation. I have it set up with a couple of aliases that point to my username. So I feed Intel alias1@myworkstation.myisp.net. Sure, no MX entry for my "domain" myworkstation.myisp.net, but Intel tries directly delivering the email to my machine. I snag the email when it comes in in a few minutes. If I want to, I can either leave the alias around to see whether Intel is selling their mailing list (if I start getting spam on that alias), or delete it, so that any future mail simply gets bounced.

      Furthermore, spam list sellers verify email addresses by looking for valid MX entries. I don't have one, so my used email address tends to simply get dropped.
    • Re:81 Spam Messages? (Score:4, Informative)

      by rograndom (112079) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @12:23PM (#5107739) Homepage

      OK, I have to ask: what the heck are you guys doing with your email addresses that make you get 81 spam messages before noon? Publishing it on a billboard in Times Square?

      It may not be exactly like putting his email address on a billboard in Times Square, but he does, you know, run slashdot. His address shows up a lot on these pages that are a good target for havesters and he does reach a large audiance, of whom a small percentange might be vindictive towards him, for whatever reason, and sign him up for all sorts of nasty stuff.

    • OK, I have to ask: what the heck are you guys doing with your email addresses that make you get 81 spam messages before noon? Publishing it on a billboard in Times Square? I've had my current email for 3 months. I don't get ANY spam.

      Only three months? That's why. If you're reasonably careful, it takes awhile. Try keeping an e-mail address for five years.

      Spammers are now sending out spam with one of my e-mail addresses as the return address (I know because I've been getting "user unknown" bounces). Not really anything I can do about it.
  • by MickLinux (579158) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @11:54AM (#5107622) Journal
    okay, this is slightly off-topic, but I just got this email spam, and it conforms to the Nigerian spam formula -- but look at the reason!

    At least they are making it mildly interesting. I, for one, though, am still convinced that the Nigerian spam's popularity is because it is used to fund Al Qaida's "exterminate non-muslims" campaign, but I wouldn't ever be able to prove it.

    But that would also explain the jump in Nigerian spam that I seem to get at different times.

    ---CONCENTRATED EXTRACT OF SPAM BELOW---

    I am Andrew Purkis, chief executive of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
    Diana, Princess of Wales, devoted herself to a host of domestic and international issues, such as disadvantaged children, the homeless, HIV/Aids, and landmines... ...Shortly before her death on 31 August 1997, Princess Diana became an ardent and effective crusader against landmines. She gave numerous... ...In 1997, we opened an account with a security company in the United State of America and we make a deposit of twenty million pounds that was realized from a landmine campaign in Angola and Bosnia. ....
  • by andres32a (448314) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @12:02PM (#5107651) Homepage
    Dam! I just lost my 375 bucks!
    Well, going to take my herbal viagra know...
  • Ever Try 'Postini'? (Score:3, Informative)

    by core plexus (599119) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @12:22PM (#5107738) Homepage
    " So far today is a slow spam day for me. Only 81 spam, but its only 9:30."

    Since my ISP started using Postini [postini.com] I only get one or two, and as soon as they catch one the rest of the same type are blocked. I can still log into the message center where the suspicious messages are held, and review them just in case. I'd never heard of it before then, and have no interest in the company other than paying .50/month for extra spam filtering.

    DIY hack for Orange smartphone revealed [xnewswire.com]

  • by anonymous loser (58627) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @01:17PM (#5107974)
    If you have a US driver's license, you can get an international driver's license just by going to your nearest AAA office, filling out a form, and paying a small fee. You then get a little booklet you have to carry around with your regular license, which basically amounts to a bunch of pages that say "this is a driver's license" in several languages.

  • by cluge (114877) on Saturday January 18, 2003 @01:25PM (#5108020) Homepage
    Spam I have recieved that HASN'T been pursued, and I would gather is probably making false claims, and may be fraud. A small sample of the SPAM I have recieved today (just subject lines)


    Increase your penis size by 2" to 3"!

    (If my penis grew 1 mm for every add I had recieved I could have sex with people in other states, and not leave home


    A business proposistion

    Involves me paying them 10k and me getting nothing. Although the letter says I'll get either gold, or millions in cash. Somehow I don't believe them


    I saw you bio on-line

    I don't HAVE a bio on line, and no I don't want to look at your russian web cams


    Re: Your computer has a virus

    No, my computer is a linux machine, it doesn't have a virus and your bullshit copy of norton wouldn't help if it did


    news,Married women await you!

    Somehow I don't think my signifigant other cares. In fact if your married, and your trying to get me to cross state lines to have sex with you for money, isn't that illegal?



    Add about 10 more messages to the list that got through(after spam assasin tagged and discared the usual slew). I still believe that the law should be changed so that myself, and a few close "friends" can introduce spammers to baseball bats. Only when you take the consequences out of the cyber world and bring it into the real world will SPAM start to slow down. Baseball bats are an excellent choice of a good "real world" consequence. Think I'm too harsh? then you have never had to administer a large mail server and deal with the "results" of spamming day in or day out.

  • As the article stated, international driver's licenses are just translations of your existing driver's license. You can get them at most travel agencies.

    And look, here's some further [aaa-calif.com] reading [snopes.com]!

  • SPAM will lose it's ability to sell and be such a profitable enterprise once the majority of people currently using email move on to old age.

    Think about it. The reason a SPAM'er can survive is because of people who just don't know any better. As soon as the younger generations take over, SPAM'ers will have a much harder fight to survive, to keep ahead of the legal system, and to just make any money.

    The younger generations grew up knowing that an unsolicited email is not going to help you enlarge your male piece 10 fold, or your female pieces more perky or whatever. They know that the Nigerians begging for your help with their inheritances are a scam, just like everything else in their inbox. They won't buy into it.

    Of course some people will buy into it, always. But this number of people will greatly diminish over the years until SPAM'ers have nothing left to do but find day jobs or report to the Unemployment Department with words such as 'I pissed people off for a living. Remember that evil SPAM thing that used to be so big? That was me'.
    • Remember that evil SPAM thing that used to be so big? That was me'.
      Oh, perfect... there's a fresh job opening at the salt mines in the Sahara, accmodation included! Be sure to pack lots of SP-10000 sunblock, a canteen, and some cool clothes. Bruno and Vito will now escort you home and then to the airport.

      Have a nice day
  • I was going on a trip to Japan so I got an International Driver's License at AAA. IIRC it cost $15. My trip fell through so I never used it. A license sure wouldn't be worth any more than $10 or $20 to anyone, let alone through a spammer. And it doesn't get you out of tickets or anything, it's just money down the drain unless you really need a foreign license.
  • DHS (The Distributed Home Spamming DHS Club)

    Ok, I did not know what this was, but as my servers are under a storm of port scans from Send-Safe send-safe [send-safe.com] and I was trying to find out some information I found this DHS DHS Web site [theclubbuiltonspam.com] Scary , who will be the first that Put them out?

    Also it clear that they are using slow and bad admin's to run their "bizz." UUNET/Worldcom is the DHS Club's current Internet connectivity provider. They have a reputation [google.com] of failing to aggressively enforce their posted Terms of Service.

    Oh, why not drop the DHS members an E-mail E-mail address list [theclubbuiltonspam.com]

    Are we losing the fight Spam software [geocities.com] ??

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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