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Brightmail Denies "White List" Deal With Spammer 226

Posted by michael
from the as-the-spam-turns dept.
ThePretender writes "From the InfoWorld article: 'A spammer's claim to his clients that he had an agreement with anti-spam technology vendor Brightmail to not block his traffic was contradicted by Brightmail officials today.' From the sounds of it, Scott Richter (apparently a notorious spammer) might just be looking for some media attention, he even goes as far saying he has similar agreements with some major ISPs. Ouch! May the drama unfold..."
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Brightmail Denies "White List" Deal With Spammer

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  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:08AM (#7776984)
    Spammers are always honest, arn't they?
    • Corporate officials are not all the much more trustworthy, unless I see hard evidence either way this becomes a mute point. All goes down too who you trust more, companies out to get your money or individuals out to get your money. Best way to stop them getting it is to not have any money, which is working out just fine for me.
      • by mr i want to go home (610257) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:06AM (#7777655)
        Agreed! Just how trustworthy does anyone think AOL is?

        From the Reuter's article linked to in the story..

        "Scott Richter, a bulk e-mailer who ranks No. 3 on Spamhaus's list, told Reuters he was not worried by the arrest because he said he does not break any laws.

        "I'm happy to see law enforcement cracking down on people who use false headers and I wish they could get all of them," Richter said. He added that he sends large amounts of commercial e-mail but does not disguise routing information and takes pains to comply with Internet providers' policies.

        "I was just at AOL's office a month ago," Richter said.

        AOL officials declined to comment on their relationship with Richter or say whether he had visited their offices. "We are aware that he follows the legal developments (of anti-spam laws) very closely," AOL Assistant General Counsel Charles Curran said."

        What do you do when you know you've screwed up, but can't say so?

        Decline to comment of course!

        • "Scott Richter, a bulk e-mailer who ranks No. 3 on Spamhaus's list, told Reuters he was not worried by the arrest because he said he does not break any laws. ... "I was just at AOL's office a month ago," Richter said.

          Maybe he's lying or delusional? Remember, anyone can go to AOL's offices (jump in plane to Virginia, get in a car, drive, walk up -- tada!); it doesn't mean he has any business dealings with AOL corporation.

  • Touchy, aren't they? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:08AM (#7776987)
    From optinrealbig.com front page:

    OptinRealBig.com, LLC ("Optin") has been informed that the New York
    Attorney General and Microsoft have announced a press conference for
    December 18, 2003. Optin has not been informed by either Microsoft nor
    the New York Attorney General as to what the purpose of the press
    conference is. Through other sources Optin has been informed that the
    purpose of the press conference is to announce that a civil complaint
    has been filed alleging violations of New York law by numerous
    defendants, including Optin and Scott Richter, its President. Optin and
    Scott Richter vigorously deny any violations of New York law and ask
    that their clients and friends make no decision regarding any liability
    on their part until they have the opportunity to respond to any
    allegations made against them. Neither Optin nor Scott Richter will
    have any further comment regarding this matter until they have had the
    opportunity to read and review the Complaint. Any inquiries regarding
    this matter should be addressed to Optin's legal counsel, Linda Goodman
    (619-233-3535). Ms. Goodman is currently out of the office and will not
    be available for comment until December 19, 2003.
    • The Rocky Mountain News [rockymountainnews.com] had this article when when the suits hit. It provides quite a bit more detail and points out that apparently OptInRealBig, Synergy6, and Delta 7 (some of his various DBAs) already use overseas relays to circumvent spam blocks.

      The Rocky Mountain News is the more conservative of Denver's two mainstream, treeware newspapers. The Denver Post probably also has coverage.

    • by netsharc (195805) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:21AM (#7777295)
      OptinRealBig? Why did I read that as "Open Real Big"? And why did that put the disturbing image of the goatse guy in my head?

      But, to be "goatsed" is definitely something this Scott Richter guy (as well as other spammers) deserves.
    • OptinRealBig.com, LLC ("Optin") has been informed that the New York Attorney General and Microsoft have announced a press conference...

      Weasel words.
  • blah (Score:4, Funny)

    by schematix (533634) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:09AM (#7776989) Homepage
    The name of the spammer in question is Scott Ritcher by the way...not Richert. I've been lucky enough to meet this guy and even stay at his half million dollar house in Westminster Colorado for a week. He's doing pretty well for himself if you count the house, the 3 car garage with a black Lexus SC430 and a matching LX470. But overall i'd have to say him and his company are a bunch of idiots. His so-called "partner" Dustin Parker (it says this in the spamhaus link) is a total idiot . When i worked for him, Dustin was a 16-year old middle school drop out. We smoked a couple blunts together. Complete idiot. Just goes to show it doesn't take intelligence to become successful. Of course Scott is only dragging Dustin along because Scott himself is clueless from a technical standpoint. I dunno what the point of this post was except that Dustin is an idiot and Scott isn't far behind him but Scott's making millions off of other idiots so i guess that says something.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:10AM (#7776992)

    I've got a deal with Microsoft and the big AV companies to not do anything about the email virus I'm about to let loose.

    Enjoy suckers!!! :)
  • by plinius (714075) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:16AM (#7777024)
    The problem is that anyone can create bogus emails, thereby masking their own identity. Well surely there is a technical solution to this, such as abandoning the current mail protocols to prevent people from submitting emails with fake identifying info, or from submitting emails from bogus IPs. But where is there any progress along these lines?
    • Sure it's possible (Score:2, Informative)

      by mindstrm (20013)
      But you need to realize is that the reason email works, on the global scale it does, is precisely because of that lack of authentication, and it's decentralized, open nature.

      I'm not saying "it's impossible"... it's certainly not.. but the more layers of authentication, and the beurocracies needed to manage them, the less workably any system becomes.
    • by operagost (62405) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:48AM (#7777162) Homepage Journal
      Every modern SMTP server I know of logs the client's IP and places it in the message. Look at the headers in your email some time.
      Received: from imo-r04.mx.aol.com (152.163.225.100)
      by orff.operagost.local (V5.1-15Q, OpenVMS V7.3 VAX);
      Wed, 17 Dec 2003 21:21:41 -0500
      Received: from someluser@aol.com
      by imo-r04.mx.aol.com (mail_out_v36_r4.8.) id 2.105.3c03c144 (25508)
      for <somebody@operagost.com>; Wed, 17 Dec 2003 21:20:34 -0500 (EST)
      The first "received:" is the server who delivered the mail to yours. Normally this is the actual sending server, except in two instances:

      You have a forwarding service like Mail.com,

      The sender is using an open relay.

      In either case, you can still find out the spammer's location by scanning down the "received:" list until you find the first exchange that took place. This guy is apparently a real AOLer as there is no other server in between. It doesn't matter how crafty he is- he can even modify the header of his outgoing emails with some special SMTP client software, but I'll still know what IP delivered the mail to me. It gets more confusing with ass-clowns running open relays, but the info's still there.

      • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:15AM (#7777263) Journal
        In either case, you can still find out the spammer's location by scanning down the "received:" list until you find the first exchange that took place

        While that used to be true, nowadays a lot of spam is sent via open proxies. In this case, the proxy will not show any other "received" lines, except for the fake "received" lines that the spammer has deliberately inserted in order to divert tracking attempts.

      • Speaking of mail.com, does anyone know of a recent supposed "hacking incident" there, which allegedly exposed their userbase to spammers?

        I know a guy who claims this happened. Personally, I think it's more likely he got "partnered" by this free email provider. I do remember when EVERY email from email.com (and several other domains that mail.com owns) were 100% spam.

        Comments, anyone?

    • by Tarqwak (599548) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @08:58AM (#7778496)
      If you can't kill them then filter them...

      One thing that seems consistent lately is that domains what are linked in the spam have been created in less than a month, more likely in the past week.

      Do a whois on linked <a href="..." <img src="..." <script src="..." domains, and if (registration date < 1 month) add-to-spamminess(+1);

      Yes I know, whois servers aren't meant for this :/
    • The problem is that anyone can create bogus emails, thereby masking their own identity.

      First of all, define "bogus" - is that "anyone can write anything they want" or "anyone can forge headers"?

      No, the problem is that there are people who want something for nothing, and don't care who they annoy or steal from to get it.

      There is no technical solution to this problem.

      Take your perception to it's conclusion: there is a way to prevent spammers from forging headers - then what? How exactly will it stop sp
  • spammer fraud? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:17AM (#7777032) Homepage

    If it's true that Brightmail made no special deal with him, it looks like he could be prosecuted for consumer fraud as well as spamming. Indeed, his clients could presumably sue him too. If Brightmail did make a special deal with him, assuming that they advertise that they block spam, then they comitted consumer fraud. Somebody's in trouble here one way or the other.

  • Address (Score:5, Informative)

    by I_am_Rambi (536614) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:35AM (#7777093) Homepage
    Seems like his address can be found here [spamhaus.org]

    Scott Richter
    1333 w 120th Ave suite 101
    Westminster CO 80234
    Srich10195@AOL.COM
    303-5509828

    OR

    Richter, Scott srich10195@al.com
    SaveRealBig
    p.o.box 21316
    denver, co 80221
    usa
    303-428-3600
    • Re:Address (Score:2, Funny)

      by MuckSavage (658302)
      For some reason, I get a bad feeling with someone like that living so close to me. Makes my hometown look bad.

      However, we could organize a "field trip".
  • by alphonso_bedoya (585317) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:37AM (#7777107)
    Francois Lavaste, Brightmail VP of Marketing, said in a statement provided the GripeLog, "I have personally verified, with the assistance of male members of my department, the ineffectiveness of products advertised by Mr. Richter." Other Brightmail executives were spending the holidays in Nigeria and were unavailable for comment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:42AM (#7777130)
    I have written several times of a major spamming operation that is using major ISPs. This is the guy who has been paying MSN > 1Million / month (apparently, also, Yahoo and AOL, but I do not know what the amount or deal is there). MSN then was getting greedy and raised it to > 5Million. From what I understand several of the other spammers kept the deal, but this guy approached another major DSL company and offered 2Million / month. The interesting thing is that he wants IPs and bandwidth. The major companies do not try to shut down insecure servers becuase they locate them and then simply use those IPs. Later they can blame the client.
    Most of the spam that everybody thinks is coming from overseas is not. It is here, but the large ISPs are willing to hide it for a large price.
    • by Technician (215283) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:56AM (#7777431)
      I check the headers. Somewhere the link of IP address breaks down. The last one or two servers are false most of the time. However the last valid server indicates the IP where it really received the packets from. I do find most of my false header mail is from overseas. However some of it is from the US with a false entry indicating .nl or .ru. I don't speak Russan and I have no relatives in the Netherlands, so any mail claiming to come from there is auto-deleted by my filter. I found most of the from the US really, but claiming .nl or .ru is simply a virus running from one of the client machines of one of the major DSL or Cable providers. Norton usualy filters any of these before the header filter gets them since virus scanning is first.

      It's amazing how many people run unpatched boxes on broadband with neither a router or AV software.

      With what I know now, I wouldn't consider running a Windows box on a broadband modem without a router AND AV software. Change the gateway address to someting other than 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Lots of machines configured the same make easy targets for exploitation. Make changes to reduce the number of easly infected machines.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I do find most of my false header mail is from overseas.

        Actually, it is not. The validity of this counts on the backbone being honest. It is not. From what I learned, MSN will allow the spammers to use the IPs of their customers. But obviosly, if used to heavily, it would be bad. So thay play with Local servers/routers to make it appear to be from overseas.

        When you think about it, it is brilliant. The overseas links would be horrible expensive. So instead use modified local servers.
            1. I do find most of my false header mail is from overseas.

            Actually, it is not. The validity of this counts on the backbone being honest. It is not. From what I learned, MSN will allow the spammers to use the IPs of their customers. But obviosly, if used to heavily, it would be bad. So thay play with Local servers/routers to make it appear to be from overseas.

            When you think about it, it is brilliant. The overseas links would be horrible expensive. So instead use modified local servers.

          If you've got

    • by robogun (466062) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:27AM (#7777543)
      I use att.net which screens incoming mail thru Brightmail. [att.net]

      For quite some time their filtering has been effective. Brightmail won't say how they do it, but human screening, and subsequent filtering of emails containing links to spamvertised domains seemed to be a part of it.

      Lately I have just been spammed silly. Looking at the spams (what choice do I have) the same spamvertised domains are represented over and over. This had not happened in the past.

      This spam continues after desperately hitting the "Report Spam" button (available on their webmail interface only).

      This supports the theory that either ATT or their contract spam filtering with Brightmail are passing or inserting certain mails.

      With this development, I am not inclined to extend this service contract with ATT. I will be certain to pass on this information when the contract is terminated.

      • From what I've heard about Brightmail (my ISP, Demon, is going to be introducing their filtering in the New Year), they have a large number of "trigger email boxes" around the internet. If an email is sent to one of those email addresses it HAS to be spam (because the address hasn't been used anywhere for anything) and then Brightmail filters on email being similar to the "trigger" mail (no, I don't know what criteria they use). Therefore if a spammer doesn't send email to any of the Brightmail trigger boxe
      • This spam continues after desperately hitting the "Report Spam" button (available on their webmail interface only).

        I use a service through my ISP that is quite effective...yet, one specific spam I report sometimes daily is in Italian and it never gets blocked. Why, I don't know, though I doubt that it has anything to do with the ISP or the filter service allowing the spam through.

        That reminds me...it's time to dump the couple hundread spam messages I've recieved in the last day or two.

  • RICHTER (Score:3, Informative)

    by oobar (600154) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:45AM (#7777146)
    His name is Richter, not Richert, which is clearly indicated in the links provided.

    Michael, by definition you cannot call yourself an editor unless you actually edit the stories.
  • the irony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Heartz (562803) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:45AM (#7777147) Homepage
    Am I the only one that sees the irony of this whole submission to slashdot because it was a post about a spammer pretending to have white list access and submitted by a pretender?
  • by cluge (114877) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:48AM (#7777163) Homepage
    With variation from time to time, the rules that ALWAYS applies to spammers are[From news.admin.net-abuse.email]:

    Rule #1: Spammers lie.
    [(Proposed) Sharp's Corollary: Spammers attempt to re-define "spamming" as that which they do not do.]

    Rule #2: If a spammer seems to be telling the truth, see Rule #1.
    Chrissman's Corollary: A spammer, when caught, blames his victims.

    Rule #3: Spammers are stupid.
    Krueger's Corollary: Spammer lies are really stupid. Pickett's Commentary: Spammer lies are boring. Russell's Corollary: Never underestimate the stupidity of spammers.

    I say see rule #1 when listening to a spammer.

    AngryPeopleRule [angrypeoplerule.com]
    • Rule #3: Spammers are stupid.

      That right there is part of the problem. The truth is, spammers aren't stupid. Sure, a lot of them certainly are, but not all of them.

      See the Sobig virus, for example: Write a virus that will install a proxy server on infected machines and spam through them with impunity, knowing that the proxy server will appear to be the point of origination. If no one can trace it back to the spammer's actual network connection, he doesn't have to worry about his ISP ever finding out. See
  • by Chatmag (646500) <editor@chatmag.com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:12AM (#7777248) Homepage Journal
    *'A spammer's claim to his clients...*

    I think that's the key phrase here. Apparently Scott is losing customers, and in order to retain them, or gain new ones, he has to tell clients he is "whitelisted". What reputable business would want to pay an email broadcast company, when that company is blocklisted. He couldn't possibly think to use this as a defence, saying that if Brightmail whitelists him, he must not be a spammer. But then again, from what I've seen regarding him, I wouldn't be surprised.

    As far as I'm concerned, any business that uses Optin is just as sleazy as Scott.
  • by LostCluster (625375) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:12AM (#7777253)
    The biggest problem with the "I didn't opt in!" complaints is that spammers have gotten better and better at submerging the opt-in indication to a yes-defaulted checkbox within all sorts of websites and software. Once you have slipped up and comprimised your e-mail address this way, you've basically given that publisher permission to spam you and share your address with any other spammers they want to "partner" with.

    Therefore, anti-spam laws will always have a hole that a truck can be driven through. Since proving that you've never accidently tripped over a "universal opt-in" is nearly impossible to do, successful prosecutions will be tough.

    The only way we're ever going to fully kill spam is to abandon SMTP and get a better way to verify that e-mail really came from the claimed sender and leaves a valid return address...
    • Agreed and good points all. I think you underestimate the size of the hole in anti-spam laws though. It's closer to the size an aircraft carrier can be U-turned through.

      Aside from that one small point, perfect.

      SMTP has got to go. It was great while it lasted but obviously the human race, or some small percentage of it is incapable of not screwing something sweet like this up. We need something that can literally put an end to this before it begins.
      • SMTP has got to go.

        Feel free to stop using it at anytime. Go use your better solution. I'll be glad to join you when I see it works. But just saying that "SMTP has got to go" isn't helping anyone.

        Honestly, there's already a 100% full proof solution to spam that no one wants to use -- sign ALL your email with your PGP (or gpp) key. Once everyone starts doing that, then you can start rejecting email (or assigning it a higher spam rating) that isn't signed. At the very least, it makes spammers spend CP
        • Mayne you make it back to this post and maybe you don't but I just got back to take a look at it and of course just saying "SMTP has got to go" doesn't solve anything.

          I'm not a programmer and I don't have a "better solution" waiting in the wings to spring on the world. I can see that the present way of doing this has been compromised and that it won't be much longer before something better will be needed.

          You can spot a bad actor without being an actor (good or otherwise). It doesn't take someone who
    • Or we could make opt-in harder.

      We could have an authority that you pick a username and password for, and a list of e-mail addresses, and then allow you to make records with three data items:
      1) Key itself
      2) Company
      3) The e-mail address used

      If there is only one such authority, and each e-mail address can only be registered once, then spammers would be forced to illegal action. Companies wouldn't be allowed to sell e-mail addresses, because only they would have the right to use them, NOT whoever they wou
    • That's one of the reasons why the EU recently (last few months) introduced legislation requiring all such things to be opt-out, and to default to that. If an EU company pulls that sort of shit on me, they're in trouble.

      Of course, the problems are

      a) I only get spam to an address that was harvested off the web, and occasionally "webmaster" or "sales" at my domain; and

      b) none of the spam I get comes from the EU or EU-based companies. It's all sent by or on behalf of US companies.

      Thankfully, I don't get spa
  • by pw700z (679598) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:16AM (#7777268)
    Part of the reason to toss the name 'brightmail' around is because their product is awesome at stopping spam. The spammer is probably just trying to undermine brightmail's credibility.
    • by balamw (552275) *

      Brightmail? Awesome? Not for me it ain't, at least not right now. My ISP (AT&T Worldnet) uses it and it is letting through sooo much obvious spam recently that I'm beginning to think the spammers must have figured out a way around Brightmail's rules.

      FWIW, both Yahoo! and the new Hotmail filters are performing much better than brightmail for me now

      Regardless, I download all my mail through a SpamAssassin [spamassassin.org] POP3 proxy, which just plain knocks em dead.

      Balam

      • FWIW, Spam Assassin seems to have been less effective for the last month or so. Redirecting mails with a score of 5 to the Trash used to catch most spam, but lately it is all coming through with a score of 2 or 3 (as does the occassional genuine mail).
        • Install the popcorn, backhair and evil rules. Effectiveness back up to 99.9% again :)
        • You need to tweak some rules manually from time to time to get the most from it, and make sure it is properly tuned for your system of course. For example, if you don't get any non-English emails then the default score is *way* to low, so you might want to add this:

          score CHARSET_FARAWAY 10.0

          score CHARSET_FARAWAY_BODY 10.0
          score CHARSET_FARAWAY_HEADERS 10.0
          score UNDESIRED_LANGUAGE_BODY 10.0

          to SpamAssassin's "local.cf" file. Some other good ones are:

          score HTML_IMAGE


    • Brightmail sucks. My employer uses Brightmail to keep company email inboxes clean from spam. It does not work. Everyday I still receive about 10 "Microsoft admin network patches" virus emails, Japanese spam, and pr0n spam with OBVIOUS keywords like "15 inch horse cock", "teen girls", and "3 inch anus". Most of this spam has obviously forged To: and From: headers, too.
  • by Rascally (89279) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:17AM (#7777274)
    You generally can't believe a thing the guy says. I know for a fact he doesn't have agreements with at least one of the carrier/ISP's he says he does, and that carrier has had problems with him off and on for years through a couple of their larger hosting customers.

    Of course, just for saying this, he'll threaten to get his dad (who's a lawyer!) to come after me, except of course that he's a tax lawyer.

    Out of spammers, this guy is the lowest of the low.
  • sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danidude (672839) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:18AM (#7777280) Homepage
    Use the "which is more probable?" principle: which is more probable? A anti-spam technology ruin itself by promising blocking spam and letting thousands of junk mail pass by becouse ti made a deal that will ruin it's bussiness or The goo'dam spammer is lying?
  • by morelife (213920) <f00fbug@nospaM.postREMOVETHISman.at> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:35AM (#7777337)
    You're just feeding his notoriety by talking about him, obviously it's a stunt on his part.

    Brightmail has so few false positives and allows so little spam through that any noticable continuous stream of spam caused by such an alleged "arrangement" between Ritcher and Brightmail would be bound to get noticed by savvy end users/administrators, if not Brightmail post-installation tech support.

    Same with alleged "whitelists" at ISPs - enough people have eyes on MTA configs that there would be questions.

    This is bullshit and I'm sorry Brightmail had to stoop to a public answer.

  • by ozzee (612196) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:38AM (#7777357)

    I was told by a friend of mine (mortgage broker) that his company stopped using ileads.com because they were getting too many "bad quality" leads.

    It seems that some people are starting to fill out these forms and having the brokers contact them and then after taking all the contact information from the broker, they inform them that if they don't a) divulge the information of where they got the lead and b) agree to stop using companies that use SPAM to generate leads that they will hand their contact details to the foaming at the mouth public.

    Is this legal ? Souds like sweet justice to me.

    • by CaptBubba (696284) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:17AM (#7777506)
      It is sweet justice. Either Newsweek or Time had an article a year or so ago about spam and anitspammers. One guy was so annoyed by a spammer that kept sending the same spam to him (the guy must not have had a filter) so he bought something from the spammer.

      The buisness that was spamming was then listed on his credit card statement. He sued them and won something like $1,000 from them for ignoring his opt-out requests. He had a statement about his technique for finding the spammer that went something like "They could hide from me, but nobody can hide from American Express"

      I wish credit card companies had fake numbers to give to these spammers and paypal fraud artists that would automatically trigger alarms when they ran through for verification. This would be a great way for people to track down who is actually profiting from the spam. A good-guy version of the trojan horse, if you will.

      • by Feztaa (633745) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:43AM (#7777777) Homepage
        I wish credit card companies had fake numbers to give to these spammers and paypal fraud artists that would automatically trigger alarms when they ran through for verification.

        Hey, that's a great idea! It's like that honeypot thing I read about a while ago (can't find a link, sorry).

        Anyway, I don't know anything about credit cards (not having one, and all), but I heard that for security reasons, you can have the credit card company put limits on your account, like if you work 9 to 5, have the card raise red flags if it's used between 9 and 5, since you're not likely to be using the card while you're at work and any use at that time is likely fraudulent. So just sign up for a credit card and say something like "I only use it sundays, flag everything else", and then buy into a bunch of spam stuff on monday.

        And then, just never use the card for anything but spam. I guess that's a little extreme, but if you really wanted to hunt down these spammers...
  • Me too, I concluded an agreement with this guy, about my Iron Bar(TM). Whenever I meet him, he lets me beat the hell out of him with my Iron Bar(TM).

    Rumours are that I have agreements with other spammers too, they just love my Iron Bar(TM).

    Iron Bar(TM), the ultimate solution to construtive talks with spammers.
  • by fdiskne1 (219834) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:47AM (#7777395)

    Not only do some anti-spam software companies make deals with spammers (according to the article), but some also are among the worst spammers.

    I talked to a few different anti-spam software companies over the last few months. With each of them, I told them that once we made the decision on which (if any) software to go with, I wanted absolutely no further phone calls or emails trying to sell me their product. We made our decision just over 3 weeks ago and informed the software venders.

    Two weeks ago, I received a spam from one of the venders we didn't purchase from. (Yes, the software we decided on caught it, but still, it's the priniciple of the thing.) I followed their procedures to opt-out and also sent an email to the salesperson whose name and email address appeared in the email. I informed her that I told them that I wanted no emails from them trying to sell me their software. I explained how disappointed I was in them and asked to receive no further emails.

    A few days later, I received another spam from them. This one was "signed" by a VP of the company. Again, I opted out and sent an email to the VP explaining the entire situation. I explained that I was beyond disappointed and was now getting angry. I demanded that I not receive another sales email from them and explained that if I did, I would be passing the word about their tactics to friends that might be in the market for such software.

    Guess what? I got another one. This time, I called the salesperson I was dealing with and explained that I was going to tell everyone I know about how Intellireach [intellireach.com] is an anti-spam software company that spammed me, did not honor my request to not get spammed in the first place and also did not honor several opt-out requests when the requests followed the instructions in the spam.

    • You spent money on anti-spam software? Why? SpamAssassin doesn't cost a dime.
    • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:35AM (#7777969) Homepage
      and post the entire spam with headers to NANAS. Thats a usenet group where people report their spam to, it helps establish a pattern of who is spamming, and keeps companies from later saying they never spammed. Also some of the blacklists check NANAS and will make updates based on who is spamming.

      1. Guess what? I got another one.

      Hell, Staples -- yes, that Staples: the office supply store on every corner in the US -- has spammed me through Doubleclick's email service for over a year. Multiple emails, phone calls, and use of the (now defunct?) web chat function did little good.

      The last time I talked with them about 6 months ago, I told them that each and every spam they sent would be reported to multiple locations. So, the FTC (uce@ftc.gov), Spamcop, and a service my ISP provides each get a CC whe

  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:25AM (#7777531) Homepage
    I'd love to see a lawsuit from Brightmail and expose who is really whitelisting snotty-boy.

    Then if any spam filtering companies are whitelisting spammers, then go after the companies for fraud.

  • by gujo-odori (473191) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:45AM (#7777600)
    I work for a Brightmail competitor, and I find Richter's claim of cutting a whitelist deal with Brightmail to be completely implausible. They wouldn't do anything like that for the same reasons we wouldn't do anything like that:

    1) If they were ever caught (and they probably would be, because their software integrates with your MTA, which means someone could reverse-engineer it or snoop traffic between the MTA and Brightmail), their competitors' sales departments would have a field day stealing their customers. The anti-spam business is growing rapidly, but it's very competitive. If any of the companies in this field cut a whitelist deal with a spammer and got caught, the others would eat their lunch;

    2) Even if they didn't get caught, lowering their spam prevention effectiveness would cause complaints from their customers and make it harder to beat the competition in comparisons and they'd lose out in the marketplace. Competition is huge, and Brightmail is somewhat limited in that their system only works with some MTAs, whereas some other systems (such as ours) are completely MTA-agnostic, which means we can sell to anyone. They wouldn't dare take such a chance, nor would they trust the spammer to keep his mouth shut if he got in a tight spot. Spammers, after all, are fundamentally unethical people, and an anti-spam company would never trust one.

    I don't believe his claim at all.
  • by dazed-n-confused (140724) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:00AM (#7777855)
    The original poster seems to have missed the story. OptInRealBig spammer Scott Richter isn't "looking for attention" -- he's being prosecuted for fraud [state.ny.us]. His (implausible) claims about a deal with Brightmail have been disclosed in emails gathered as evidence [state.ny.us] by the New York Attorney General's office (that's a 2.5 MB PDF, Richter's Brightmail allegations are on p.90-91).
  • by AngryShroom (716464) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:37PM (#7779446)
    My company is far too small to contract directly with Brightmail so we setup an account with a Brightmail service reseller recommended by Brightmail. The very day we switched our MX record over to them the amount of spam we received actually skyrocketed. I even tested this theory by sending a piece of mail to a brand new mailbox with a GUID as the address through a telnet session directly to the service mailserver. Within an hour that mailbox started to receive spam!

    They deny the possibility and called me a liar. We no longer use that service.

    There is always the possibility that one of their employees is not so honest and the company has no knowledge of this activity but something is amiss.

  • Most of the major ISPs do this. It cuts down on the amount of filtering they need to do, and avoids false positive problems. However that doesn't mean it lasts. You can call AOL, give them some info and a contact address that they can verify, and they'll let your bulk mail through... but if they start getting complaints they'll block your IPs. So it's possible that when he started he actually did make such agreements, but I seriously doubt they lasted long.
  • might just be looking for some media attention,

    and getting it... If his name was misspelled, good! -- spammers should be ignored, really, though. Otherwise, we'll just create more of them.

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