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  1. #1
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    SPAM (Not the meat...)

    G'day,
    I use Popfile in my battles with Spam, after recommendations from this site; it works a treat and sorts the Spam (65% of my email!) straight into the spam-bucket for deletion...
    After reading a few of Woody's recent ezines and one from cryptogram (?) i now realise that most of my spam comes from my email address (one of them anyway; the only one that gets spamed) being posted on several forums/message boards.
    I don't wish to bin this spamed email address and figured if i can remove these forum entries, the spam will reduce (or worst case not increase in volume) it is worth noting I never reply to spam and have ZAP configured to prevent the email programme from going any where other than email servers i.e. my spam can't phone home!
    I have done a few searches like google on the email address and nothing comes back...
    I can't remember all the sites that i have posted said email addy on...
    Is there a programme or something i can get to try and find these entries/sites to remove my entries???
    Ta for the help in anticipation!

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    I realise that I am not answering your question, but you may be interested in this report which attempts to answer the question:
    <hr><big><big><big>How did these people get my e-mail address?</big></big></big><hr>
    Some interesteing, and surprising, conclusions.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Hi David:
    The only thing I can think of is going to Google groups & searching for your usernames. However, that doesn't help because once your email address is out there, you can't take it back. To minimize the chance of bots harvesting your email address when you email to a newsgroup, change both your username & domain name.

    e.g. In Netscape, under Edit/Preferences..., there is a place for identities. You can change username@domain.net to ZusernameZ@Zdomain.net. This would greatly decrease the chance that someone would get your address. ALSO, when opening mail to read, make sure you're offline at the time. SPAM may have a small 1x1 pixel graphic that is downloaded when you open the mail without even seeing it.

    Hope this helps,

  4. #4
    Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Thanks to both of you!
    ZAP (my firewall) stops the 1X1 pixel graphics (cant remember the fancy name for this trick) from phoning home... it will only allow OLE access to mail servers.
    I have already tried the searches with no joy.
    I had also already seen that report...
    I guess the short answer is to bin that email address and create a new one for public use but diguise it to confuse the bots if i have to post it any where.

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    <hr>cant remember the fancy name for this trick<hr>
    It's called a beacon. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Yes, your solution is probably to tank the email address collecting spam, and use a new one. I maintain a Hotmail address since they collect spam anyway, so if I need to post it publicly that's where it goes. I also use a service called Sneakemail which provides me with disposable addresses - if I start getting spam and my request to stop is ignored, I kill the address, and I know who sent the address to a spammer. There are many such similar services; check out this Google link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=...sneakemail.com/
    -Mark

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    <hr>called a beacon<hr>
    Hi Mark:
    I didn't realize that you could prevent a site from tracing the 1x1 pixel or any graphic that's being downloaded & I've always opened my suspicious mail offline. I have ZA (old version, but it works). Does this mean I can start opening my mail online again? <img src=/S/joy.gif border=0 alt=joy width=23 height=23>

  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Hi Phil,

    I know that there were some versions of ZoneAlarm that you could configure to do this for you, the 3.x and later ones if memory serves. It may also have been configurable but I'm thinking it was Outpost that allowed you to specify a "minimum" size (which I always set to 2x2). Check in the ZA configuration to be sure. I know that a 3.x version I used allowed you to stop beacons. For what it's worth, I read all my email online - I rarely get spam because I work hard to keep my personal email address well hidden.

    Frankly, I don't think that beacons are used quite that often, but who knows? The CDT report (which I had read prior to its posting here) recently demonstrated your biggest danger is posting your email address on a website somewhere, which allows it to be harvested. Fortunately the Lounge software floods these bots with useless but valid looking email addresses. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

  8. #8
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    I have remembered and thought it was called a "web bug"? (Perhaps beacons are for email and web bugs for websites?)

    Thanks for the link to sneakemail... i also learnt something from the way you searched for it: related:... i did not know you could do this! TA

    ZoneAlarm Pro definately lets you control web bugs under the privacy tab then under cookies... but i have also configured ZAP under programe control then OLE then options then have checked "allow access ONLY for the ports and protocols checked below" all of which are mail servers... this stops spam from dialing home (with your uniquie identifier) to collect any size pic... sadly it also stops ezines and stuff from doing the same but you can usally get these ezines in text only with links so no great loss!

    I am on an ADSL connection so going "off-line" sort of defeats the purpose!

  9. #9
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Web bug is another term that I've heard - I'm sure there are several names for it, and not all of them fit to print/post. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Google searching is multifaceted...the latest issue of PC World has some tips on using it to its fullest. You can also find a lot of interesting things on the Advanced Search page....I rarely go to the plain old Google home.
    -Mark

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Hi Mark:
    Thanks for the information. I'm actually using a really old version...2.1.44. It does allow me to configure for each application to allow, disallow, or prompt. However, for my email program, I have it set for always allow to avoid the hassle every time I send a message. I'm not sure if that lets beacons (web bugs?) phone home.

    I read the article for which you posted the link. Interested reading, but I'm confused about something. Does this mean if I give my email address when using something like Amazon.com or Orbitz, that these bots can get it? I'm not sure what they're referring to by public forums. Would that be sites like Annoyance Board or TheTechGuy?

    Thanks again,

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Phil,

    If you allow the email application unfettered access, that also means that any beacons/bugs can use the same connection. This is true of Outlook even though it uses Internet Explorer components - which, of course, is itself trusted to access the Internet.

    By "public forums" the article is referring to any web page where your email address is publicly visible or is displayed via HTML code. The harvesting bots read through HTML and can suck up anything that is coded as mailto:xxx@xxx.com - the Lounge, conversely, has an anti-spam tool that I recall hearing about from <img src=/S/claude.gif border=0 alt=claude width=21 height=21> which floods these bots with invalid addresses when they enter the site making it impossible to get anything useful. Also, the Lounge web pages are constructed dynamically so a harvesting bot won't be able to read the content anyway. Another "for example" is if you post your email address to your own website or in newsgroups, where the HTML is static and unchanging. Amazon et al use your email address to log you in to their database and as such your address isn't publicly listed.

    If the Annoyances board or TechGuy use static HTML to render their pages, then any address that is visible is susceptible to being recorded.

    Hope that helps....
    -Mark

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Thanks, Mark. Sorry for the delay in answering. I do try to hide my address on "public" boards, but all I do is put ZZ before & aftter the @. Maybe bots are sophisticated enough to decipher that & I need to be more ingenious.

  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    I don't know how sophisticated the spambots are, really. I don't think anyone could really say or not but the spammers themselves, and that would be like a magician giving up his tricks. Have you considered the idea of using a different or disposable address with forwarding?
    -Mark

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Excellent idea. I already have disposable addresses & I do use them. But if you go to, say, the Microsoft newsgroups & post a message, whatever you have under your identity is displayed on the board. If I put in a real disposable address, I'd have to change it with each newsgroup, I think I can just use a phoney one & put a real disposable address at the bottom (with an extra ZZ). <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> Thanks for these tips. It's got me thinking again.

  15. #15
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    Re: SPAM (Not the meat...)

    Phil--

    So much has been written on the subject of spam and bots, Bayesian Filters and the like, I don't know where the bots stand in terms of newsgroups, msn and others, but I do know this. When I first started posting to msn groups, I put up a disposable address and got some very helpful email correspondence, great contacts, and links and as time passed, exponential spam as well. I noticed that many of the veterans and MVP's and Microsofties were inserting <font color=blue>"-no spam" into their addresses</font color=blue> before the ampersand. I never directly asked why, but I started inserting "-nospam" into the exact same address and the voluminous "growing like Topsy" spam came to an abrupt halt. Of course, so did the spontaneous emails from some very helpful people, so what I'll do is set up the "no spam" real address and see what happens to it--if I get the emails from newsgroup posters without the spam.

    I do know that if you set up another division of MSN--MSN Hotmail Account or accounts right now, you will see predominantly x-rated spam--I don't know what happens if you insert "-no spam." I would never into infinity rely on anything Microsoft makes to be totally secure--Palladium, Trustworthy Computing, or whatever the initiative's new name is tomorrow. All Passport's information was recently subject to a crack including credit card numbers in four minutes with fallout still unknown.

    This isn't totally a knock at Redmond and the vast contrast between the many Gates, Balmer, Alchin press releases and Executive Email memos that say "we're really gonna be secure this time"--its just that they write so much code that they can't ever get a handle on security, and they are so ubiquitous and maybe "security" and "spam" are vastly different issues. I think they have some relationships.

    SMBP

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