Anti-spam to the rescue: putting an end to unsolicited e-mail. (Tech Work).
Not unlike paper junk mail, spam mail is the receipt of unsolicited e-mail -- the result of companies attempting to get the most online advertising for the least amount of money. Or is it the least effective form of online advertising on a shoestring budget? Either way, e-junk mail has all come about as spam mailers (spammers) have invaded a separate part of the Internet using their own methods, politics, and host computers to harass and annoy Internet users. While identifying them may be the easy part, getting rid of them can be a time-consuming and tedious undertaking.
Here is where I began my quest for information. Very effortlessly, I repeatedly came across the name of one P. Lutus of Port Hadlock, WA, (see bio) who appears to be the expert on the treacheries of spamming, as well as offering a variety of solutions to the problems they create.
Identifying a Spammer
P. Lutus advises frustrated users to look at the e-mail header and find the source host name and address. This may take some practice as spammers can be very good at hiding the actual host name. Lutus offers a "Whosit" utility on his website (www arachnoid.com/lutusp/antispam.html) to assist users in identifying spam host sites. He also advises users not to rely on the e-mail's return address as this is seldom the actual origin of the spam. Other information found in the e-mail header may be much more useful and more likely to lead to the actual identity of the sender. Lutus admits that users may have to play around with it for a while.
Lutus offers the following guidelines for handling and eliminating spam mail:
* Never respond to a spam email. For a spammer, one "hit" among thousands of mailings is enough to justify the practice.
* Never respond to the spam e-mail's instructions to reply with the word "remove." This is just a trick to get you to react to the e-mail -- it alerts the sender that a human is at your address, which greatly increases its value. If you reply, your address is placed on more lists and you receive more spam.
* Never sign up with sites that promise to remove your name from spam lists. These sites are of two kinds: sincere and spam address collectors. In both cases your address is recorded and valued more highly because you have just identified it as read by a human.
* Never mail-bomb spam sites to engage in hacking to stop spammers. This only increases the amount of wasted Internet traffic, creates sympathy for spammers, and makes the Internet even less reliable.
* Take meaningful action to stop spammers. Filter their messages or their sites. Write their host sites without revealing your real e-mail address. Write your congressional representatives about any sites that are used as relays.
Taking out the trash on my computer maybe an easier task than sorting through the stacks of papers in my office. Either way, from my perspective, it's garbage in, garbage out.
For More Information
For more information on how to control spamming in your business, check-out Lutus' website (www.arachnoid.com) or visit a few of his other suggested sites:
* Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (www.ftc.gov)
* FTC Spam Report (email@example.com)
* The National Fraud Information Center (www.fraud.org)
* Your State's Attorney General + Agency List (www.oag.state.your state's abbreviation.us)
RELATED ARTICLE: More About P. Lutus
After contributing to the NASA Space Shuttle design, Paul began writing computer software. He is responsible for the classic "Apple Writer" word processor, as well as many other programs including the current "Arachnophilia" web development tool. All of Paul's current programs are delivered under his unique "CareWare" program. In Lutus' own unique style, he explains, "In the CareWare program, the software recipient 'pays' by not whining about his life for a few days."
Clara M.W. Vangen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is technologies editor at Buildings magazine. Portions of this article were used with the express written permission of P Lutus, [C] 2001.
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|Author:||Vangen, Clara M.W.|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||May 1, 2002|
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