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Sick of SPAM?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by ManlyBacker, May 30, 2006.

  1. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    SPAM and all the variants that infiltrate our in-boxes come under the control of the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). I must admit it is one of my pet hates with spam now hitting around 30 a day for me and I would love to be able to do something against these scum.

    Well now you can. An instant reporting tool is available from ACMA.

    Details in an article from Computerworld here:
    http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=1467577632&eid=-180

    Info from ACMA here:
    http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.65640:STANDARD:1313546489:pc=PC_100598

    The tool is available from:
    http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.65640:STANDARD:1098637232:pc=PC_100097

    Do me and yourself a favour and sign up and let your friends know about it.
     
  2. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Reminds me of the old Mony Python: Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spaaaammmmm! Wonderful Spam, etc
     
  3. Narcissus

    Narcissus Member

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    The biggest problem with all of these systems is that they can't really do much about it. There's laws pertaining to what kinds of UCE (unsolicited commercial email) can be sent from within Australia and it's possible to take Australian spammers to court but the problem is two-fold:
    1) Most spam comes from overseas (believe it or not, North America, because of...)
    2) Most spam comes from botnets and so are untraceable to a particular 'sender'

    A botnet is a collection of thousands of computers that have been compromised in some way and are now running email servers to send spam from. Not only that, but they're also used for blackmailing sites with the option of paying tens of thousands of dollars or having the site brought down (look around for articles on online gambling DDoS).

    Anyway, despite their best intentions, these sorts of programs will only see a small decrease in the number of spam emails you get.

    In reality, you have to just work out the best way to keep yourself 'functional'. Install a program called spambayes. It intercepts any email that comes to your computer and learns what you consider spam. What it will do is either start to just delete the spam, or attach an email header that lets your email program know that it is considered spam. Then, you can let your program do what you like with it. spambayes is free and you can get it at http://spambayes.sourceforge.net . When a spam email gets through, you can forward the email to a special address and then spambayes will know that you consider it spam, or you can use the Outlook extension to tell it so. Note that although I don't use spambayes I am in the process of converting over to it: with over a dozen active email addresses that all get parsed in to various folders depending on sender, subject and other headers, it takes a little time to add another thing to my email 'setup' :) I know of several people that talk about false positives and false negatives in the range of 1 in 1,000. Remarkable.

    The other thing you can do is go 'proactive': there was a group just recently that 'shut up shop' called BlueFrog. Their idea was simple. You get a piece of spam and you forward it to them. They then let every other BlueFrog user know about it (via a program running in the background) so that when they get the spam, their program automatically knows that it is spam. Now, here's the ingenious part of it: we've all been told, "don't click the link to be taken off the email list and don't follow any of the links in the spam... don't encourage them!". Instead, the BlueFrog program did just that: 'clicking' the links in the spam without you having to know it was even happening. But why?? Hundreds of thousands of 'users', wildly clicking links and all of a sudden the site is brought down and not only does the spam become ineffective but the company that used the spammer in the first place will question going down that path again...

    How effective was BlueFrog? In the end, one major spammer was getting so annoyed with the BlueFrog concept that he started DDoSing (that's a distributed denial-of-service attack, effectively bringing down a server) not only BlueFrog, but other sites, too, just to try and stop BlueFrog. He basically started hitting other sites and a DNS server directly (which indirectly brought down thousands of other sites) in an effort to stop BlueFrog. It was a typical "I will keep shooting innocent victims until you stop... be it on your head" approach.

    So anyway BlueFrog, being a company, stopped. However, there's a new group about to start up that is less susceptible to the last 'retaliations' and it is not being run by any one company: it's just a group of programmers. Look for the Okopipi Collective to start up soon and then we'll see some real fireworks :)

    Last, but not least, back to the botnet issue. If you don't run antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall, you are part of the problem. This is not even a 'maybe'. I keep my computer extremely lean and I know everything that's going on with it but I still run antivirus and anti-spyware (something like AdAware Personal). My computer is behind a separate firewall and yet I still run firewalls (eg. Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall... i think that's its name, it just changed recently!).

    It is a fact that an unprotected computer on the internet is, on average, infected before it has time to download these programs in the first place. On average, you're looking at around 5 minutes before your computer can become part of a botnet. That's not a typo: 300 seconds and an unprotected computer is infected.

    Anyway, that's that.
     
  4. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Funny you should say that CW that is exactly where the term was taken from!
     
  5. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I didn't know that Spiced Ham had made a general contribution to wider society.

    You are kidding. :lol:
     
  6. earl

    earl Active Member

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    Look, if your all sick of Spam, then i suggest you try Hamper Ham . It is a type of spam but much tastier. Its made at the factory i work at.
     
  7. Narcissus

    Narcissus Member

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    @CW: Actually, Dan's correct that it was named after the Monty Python skit. Something to do with 'everything is spam, whether you want it or not and what you really want is drowned out by spam.' That kind of theory, anyway!

    Apparently Hormel Foods (the company that makes SPAM) doesn't have a problem with people calling UCE 'spam', so long as it is not in all-capitals as their trademark is...
     
  8. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    Your summation is right Narcissus. However I have received spam from Australian companies and through the ACMA had action taken against them.

    The big thing in favour of this is that it could/will be used to guide ISPs in controlling where some spam comes from. (There is always their pay-for-use spam service that may be compromised, but that is another story).

    I will have a look at your suggestions. I was also disappointed at the downfall of BlueFrog.
     
  9. Narcissus

    Narcissus Member

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    MB: that's great to hear that you actually got something done via ACMA!

    I also agree that it's good for ISPs to know where everything is coming from, but since the use of spambots has risen, I would guess that it's getting harder to pinpoint spammers... gone are the days where you could just blacklist a couple of IP addresses.

    Anyway, if you do get a chance to use spambayes, let us know how it goes. As I say, I've heard really good things about it, but would love to hear what your thoughts are on it!
     

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