Thread: Spam the spammers
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12-10-2002, 12:58 PM #1
Spam the spammers
For those who don't know, you can get programs to return spam to the sender with a bounce message as if the address is not valid.
As with all solutions for problems like this none are perfect but they can help reduce the amount of spam you get.
The one I use is Mail Washer which is configured like any e-mail client but checks mail while it is still on the server. You can read the mail, delete, bounce or delete and bounce it.
You can also set up filters and blacklist addresses or entire domains.
An added bonus is the fact you can read the e-mail header, a feature which has allowed me to identify e-mail infected with klez-type programs on several occasions.
12-10-2002, 05:42 PM #2
It's best not to let the spammer know that your email address is actually valid - a bounce back will do that -- thereby placing your email address on the "valid" listing for even more spam.
Deleting spam is like going to the toilet - a necessary aspect of daily life.
12-10-2002, 05:51 PM #3
The bounce is a mailer daemon error message:-
The original message was received at Tue, 10 Dec 2002 17:43:57 -0500
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(expanded from: <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
mail.local: unknown name: user
550 <email@example.com>... User unknown
The "From" line in the bounce is Mail Delivery Subsystem just like a real bounce.
I can only go off results and spam to my e-mails has reduced by about half.
Last edited by Mikailus; 12-10-2002 at 05:54 PM.
12-10-2002, 07:12 PM #4
Thart sounds like the email server is doing the bouncing. Or, maybe it works because the spammer knows that those email addresses have an automatic bouncer at the other end and only sells them to others (for them to discover that on their own.)
From what I've heard, 90% of all spam comes from one guy - who is known by name and reported upon by Newsweek among others.
12-11-2002, 03:59 AM #5
The e-mail server would do the bouncing from any live domain.
If you don't want the spammer to receive a response of any kind you can select the option to just mark blacklisted e-mail for deletion only.
The advantage for me is time saved configuring filters. Click an address for bouncing/blacklisting once and they're automatically selected every time if that option is selected.
It's doubly useful if you use catch-all e-mail servers which forward mail to an address if the domain is live but the user name in the address is invalid.
The program also automatically selects known spammers, again if the option is selected, and allows you to set up additional filters.
There is no way the recipient of the bounce can tell for sure if the bounce is a fake.
Spam won't go away but if you receive several hundred spam e-mails a week, it helps.
The only time it failed to reduce the number of spam e-mails on an account was when a client's host was sending the spam and could verify the address as being live and therefore ignored the bounces.
On the flip side of that scenario, I never received anything but spam from Yahoo! accounts and, because of their failure to address the issue, I blacklisted the Yahoo! domain. Result - 25% reduction in spam.
It's one of those suck-it-and-see programs like ad blockers (ack) which people may or may not find useful.
You do have some work sifting through the trash and blacklisting it at first but eventually it gets easier as the blacklist grows.
If you have or manage a lot e-mail addresses I'd recommend trying it or a similar program at least.
Last edited by Mikailus; 12-11-2002 at 04:46 AM.