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alt.spam FAQ or "Figuring out fake E-Mail & Posts". Rev 20050130 - Alt spam.txt (1/1)

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Archive-name: net-abuse-faq/spam-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 20050130
Greetings and Salutations:

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This FAQ will help in deciphering which machine a fake e-Mail or post 
came from, and who (generally or specifically) you should contact.

The three sections to this twelve portion FAQ (With apologies to 
Douglas Adams :-)) :
   o   Introduction
          o   The Easy Way To Get Rid Of spam
   o   Tracing an e-mail message
          o   What computer did this e-mail originate from?
          o   MAILING LIST messages
   o   Reporting Spam and tracing a posted message
   o   WWW IP Lookup URL's
   o   Converting that IP to a name
          o   What to do with "strange" looking Web links
          o   Getting a World Wide Web page busted
   o   Usenet complaint addresses
          o   Viruses / Trojans / Spyware
          o   Fraud on the Internet and The MMF (Make Money Fast) Posts
          o   Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud
          o   Hoaxes
          o   Open system spammers love
   o   Filtering E-Mail BlackMail, procmail or News with Gnus
          o   Rejecting E-Mail from domains that continue to Spam
   o   Misc. (Because I can't spell miscellaneous :-)) stuff
         I couldn't think to put anywhere else.
          o   Protection for you and your kids on the Internet
          o   I am interested in eliminating spam from my emails, how 
do I do this?
          o   Origins of Spam
          o   How *did* I get this unsolicited e-mail anyway?
          o   Can I find the persons name and phone from an e-mail 
          o   How To Respond to Spam
          o   Firewalls and protecting your computer
   o   Revenge - What to do & not to do (mostly not)
          o   Telephoning someone
          o   Snail Mailing someone
   o   1-900, 1-800, 888, 877 and 1-### may be expensive long distance 
phone calls
   o   Junk Mail - The Law
   o   Additional Resources - Lots Of Links


Jamie, in a kind inimitable way, has informed me that some of the 
scumware sites are showing this page in popups.  If you see this 
alt.spam FAQ in a popup please be assured that spyware / adware sites 
are doing this to try to discredit anti-spam / anti-spyware sites.  

Also please see my expanded section on removing spyware.

Please feel free to repost this, e-mail it, put this FAQ on CD's or 
any other media you can think of.  Just please do not pop it up on the 
screen of anybody who didn't request it.

The latest & greatest version of the Spam FAQ is found at:
Also see: 

Please email follow-ups / additions / changes comments / questions to . . . BUT PLEASE NOTE because I receive (on the 
average) over 200 e-mails EVERY day (of which 195 or so are spam) you 
MUST put the words "Alt.spam" in the subject of the e-mail or there is 
a VERY good chance the e-mail will be deleted without being read.  I 
get 10 or 15 "No Subject" spams a day.

My news source is OK, but I sometimes miss items.

I accept all and any input.  I consider myself to be the manager of 
this FAQ for the good of everyone, not the absolute & controlling 
Owner Of The FAQ.  I do not always write in a completely coherent 
manner.  What makes sense to me may not make sense to others.  If the 
community wants something added or deleted, I will do so.  I removed 
any e-mail and last name references to someone making a suggestion / 
addition.  This is so that someone doesn't get upset at this FAQ and 
do something stupid.  If you don't mind having your e-mail in this FAQ 
(or where it is required), please tell me and I will add it back in.

If you are in the United States and have not yet written to your 
Senator or House of Representatives about how terrible the CAN-SPAM 
act is, I would ask you to do so.  Bottom line is that there are many 
large corporations and over 22.9 million small businesses on the 
United States.  If you received just one e-mail a year from each of 
the small businesses (I am not even including large companies) you 
would receive 63,800 e-mails PER DAY.  According to CAN-SPAM you would 
then be required to opt out of each and every one of these e-mails, 
and the company has 10 days to honor your request.  Of course this 
would not stop spammers from changing company names every 10 days and 
just start spamming all over again.  I have written a letter 
explaining why I think that this act was poorly written, and I would 
ask you to write a letter to your representatives also: 

How did this incredibly bad law get passed?  This law was written 
without any public hearings, with input from only the marketing 
industry and Internet Service Provider lobbies (guess who loses, You 
Do).  From :
"CAUCE is also disappointed that both the House and Senate versions of 
this law were passed without any public hearings, instead being 
written and passed solely through back-room compromises and with the 
input of the marketing industry and Internet Service Provider lobbies, 
but with scant regard for the interests of America's consumers and 
business Internet users."

Apparently one of the lobbying groups talking to our representatives 
(for you) is The Center for Democracy and Technology.  They were kind 
enough to speak for "everybody" in this missive sent to Congress: 

They supported everything the Direct Marketing Association ( (telemarketers)) and spammers wanted in a bill 
and more.

CDT is supported by many different companies: 

Find Your Senators at and 
find your US Representative: (Fill in 
your state and zip, click "Contact My Representative" and you will be 
told who your representative is). Go To: , click on their site and 
your representative should have an address at the bottom of the page 
for where to write them.  I would also suggest that you cc the two 
sponsors of the bill: Conrad Burns 187 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING 

Davjohn suggests going to , plug in your zip code 
and click on GO.  Internet Explorer and Netscape will show you your 
representatives.  Safari browser did not work at this site.

And why CAN-SPAM won't work: - And how the DMA is 
trying to convince the public that CAN-SPAM works

Before trying to determine where the post or e-mail originated from, 
you should realize that (just like The National Enquirer or a logical argument from Canter and 
Siegel) the message will have *some* amount of truth, but all or most 
of the information may be forged.  Be careful before accusing someone.

Commands used in this FAQ are UNIX & VMS commands.  Sorry if they 
don't work for you, you might wish to try looking around at your 
commands to find an equivalent command (or I might be able to help out 
some).  There are programs for the Macintosh and Windows machines that 
do the same thing the UNIX commands do, see the above URL's for where 
to locate this software.

And no, I am not going to tell you how to post a fake message or fake 
e-mail.  It only took me about 2 days (a few hours a day) to figure it 
out.  It ain't difficult.  RTFM (or more appropriately, Read The 
@&%^@# RFC).

Every e-mail or post will have a point at which it was injected into 
the information stream.  E-mail will have a real computer from which 
it was passed along.  Likewise a post will have a news server that 
started passing the post.  You need to get cooperation of the 
postmaster at the sites the message passed thru.  Then you can get 
information from the logs telling you what sites the message actually 
passed thru, and where the message "looked" like it passed thru (but 
actually didn't).  Of course you do have to have the cooperation of 
all the postmasters in a string of sites...

The Easy Way To Get Rid Of spam

Sorry to tell you this but if you received a spam (Unsolicited 
Commercial E-Mail) there is no "easy" way to get the spam stopped.  
Generally if you reply (unsubscribe) this confirms that your e-mail 
address is "live" and just gets your e-mail address sold to other 
spammers.  Spam has to be dealt with one at a time.  Sorry, it isn't 
easy to stop the spam.  The "Internet" (the collective non-profit and 
profit entities of the network) is trying to fix this problem but it 
is taking time.  The "easiest" way to stop getting spam is to change 
your e-mail address and only give your e-mail address to people you 
absolutely trust, and to NEVER allow the e-mail address to be posted 
to a web site or posted ANYWHERE on the internet.  To see how many 
times my e-mail address appears on the Internet go to the following 
link: - E-Mail 
addresses on the web attract the most spam

It your e-mail address shows up on a search engine, then the spammers 
can find your e-mail address also.  Be careful about giving your e-
mail address to companies that purport to be against spam:

There are businesses that make a good living filtering out spam both 
on a personal and corporate level.  I would suggest that if you really 
don't want to deal with spam that you get an e-mail address from one 
of these services (Please note I am not recommending this service, 
just using it as an example).  Do a search:
And you will come up with companies like:

Or if you wish to block it from your personal e-mail account do a 
search on something like:
And you will come up with examples like: - Free

Be aware that no spam blocking software (as of yet) is perfect and you 
may get "false positives".  An e-mail from a friend may be detected as 
spam and may get deleted as spam or moved to the spam box.  The spam 

Davjohn reminds us that if you are required to give a "legal" e-mail 
address to a company you don't know or trust, go to 
and set up a free account. There are a hundred-or-so variations 
available. sounds like a Santa Clause 
e-mail address.  He has 2 addresses there. About once a week he goes 
in and clicks "empty" and ~flush~ it's all gone.

        Tracing an e-mail message

To trace the e-mail you have to look at the header.  Most mail readers 
do not show the header because it contains information that is for 
computer to computer routing.  The information you usually see from 
the header is the subject, date and the "From" / "Return" address.  
About the only thing in an e-mail header that can't be faked is the 
"Received" portion referencing your computer (the last received).

You will need to take a look at the headers on the message as follows 
(Thanks to Bob, Dave, Kathy, Michael, Piers, Russ, Simon, Chalmers and 
others) :
Claris E-Mailer - under Mail select Show Long Headers.
Eudora (before ver. 3) - Select Tools , Options... , then Fonts & 
Display then Show all headers
Eudora (ver. 3.x, 4.x IBM or Macintosh) - Press the BLAH button on the 
incoming mail message
Eudora V5.1:
       1) Double-click on the email subject line in the current 
mailbox. This displays the same message with a fuller version of the 
header, which will be enough for some ISPs but not all, and also shows 
an extra Toolbox which contains the BlahBlahBlah button
       2) Click on the BlahBlahBlah button
For Mac Eudora 4.x, hitting the following will cause Eudora to alter 
its default setting so that BLAH will be automatically selected for 
all new email received after this switch is set:
<x-eudora-setting:123=y> When checked, Eudora will show all the 
headers from messages, not just an abbreviated set.
Hotmail - How to set show the mail headers in hotmail:
1.  After you login, just to the right of the tabs, select Options
2.  Under Additional Options, select Mail Display Settings
3.  In the Message Headers section, click the Advanced button
JUNO - Click on the word "OPTIONS" in the MENU BAR.
On This menu, click on "E-Mail Options (ctrl-E)"
This will get you a Dialog Box:
In the "Show message headers" part, you need to have the "Full" button 
marked in order to show full message headings.
KMAIL (KDE Mail Client) - Bryan tells us To display all headers in 
kmail(KDE mail client), go to 'view' and click 'all headers'.
Lotus Notes R4 and R5:
1) Examine the fields in the document.
   Click on File --> Document Properties
   Click on fields tab (square rule)
   Scroll down to the "received" fields - there should be one for each 
"received" header added.
   Copy and paste these into a file.
2) Export the headers from the document
   *important*  You need to be in the inbox folder in Notes
   Select the document.
   Click on File --> Export
   Enter a temporary file name, ensure File type is "Structured Text"
   Under Export options, click on "selected documents", click OK.
   The generated file contains all the headers on the message along 
with the message body.
Lotus Notes R6: Open the mail, View/ Show /Page Source and the OpenNTF 
mailtemplate has an action to forward the full header (to yourself, or 
to support for instance).  You may want to copy that, or use the 
MS Outlook - Double click on the email in your inbox. This will bring 
the message into a window. Click on View - Options.  You can also open 
a message then choose File....Properties....Details.
Microsoft Outlook 2000 - From the Menu Bar select "View" and then 
"Options" from that menu.
This displays a dialogue box called "Message Options".
The largest and last text box is called "Internet headers:"
Scroll through this to read all the details.
To save a copy, highlight all the content, and copy it to the 
clipboard by pressing <Ctrl C> (thats both those keys at the same 
time), then go into whatever word processor or email program you wish 
and press <Ctrl V> to paste the text onto that page.

Because Microsoft Outlook has many security flaws, the below 
instructions may expose your computer to risks.  See: 
MS Outlook Express - Alt-Enter, or Alt-F then R.
MS Outlook Express - More Detailed:
  To look for, copy and send headers In Outlook Express 
  1- Press CTRL F3
  2- Press CTRL A 
  3- Press CTRL C
  4- Press Alt F4. (At this point the message is already copied) 
  5- Open a new message. Right click and paste or select Edit and 

Mike tells us a better way to expose the headers and copy the body for 
MS Outlook Express is as follows: 
The mouse selections are File/ Properties/ Details tab/ Message source 
button.  The keyboard access is alt-Enter ctrl-Tab alt-M.  Once 
accessed the remainder of commands are as discussed elsewhere:  Mouse; 
R click context menu, Select all, Copy or Keyboard;  ctrl-A ctrl-C.  
The Message Source described here is the headers + attached spam body.  
If one only wanted the complete headers without spam body, they would 
stop one step earlier at the Details tab section above.

Netscape 3 - In the mail viewing window: Options > Show Headers > All 
- When all the headers are displayed in the NS3 mail window, they are 
formatted. This is much more readable than the display in a text 
editor such as Notepad.
Netscape 4.xx - Double click on the email in your inbox. Click on View 
- Headers - All.
PINE - You have to turn on the header option in setup, then just hit 
"h" to get headers.
WebTV - :
   1)  While viewing the email, hit "Forward" on the sidebar. Address 
the document to yourself. Completely erase the subject line.
   2)  Put your cursor on the first line of the "body" (text area); 
Hit "Return" (enter) twice. Your cursor should now be on the 3rd line 
of the text area.
   3)  Type any "Alt" character on this line; DO NOT HIT "RETURN"
   4)  Cut and Paste the "Alt" character onto the subject line: 
(CMD+"A"), (CMD+"X"), (CMD +"V") The "Alt" character should "jump" 
down to the message text-area.
   5) Hit "Send"; open the received mail. 
Ximian Evolution (Linux email program) to display full headers, open 
the message, go to the VIEW menu and choose message display>full 
-Click on the "Mail Options" link located near the top right-hand side 
of the page.
-Click the "General Preferences" link.
-Locate the Show Headers heading and select either "Brief" or "All." 
-Click the "Save" button to put your new settings into effect. 
Another way to show you how to display headers, please see (with some 
good screen shots):
tform=osnone - MS Outlook Express for the Mac
header.htm?platform=osnone - Netscape Messenger or Netscape Mail - MS Outlook - MS Outlook Express

Programs that do not comply with any Internet standards (like cc-Mail 
(depending on how it is configured), Beyond Mail, VAX VMS) throw away 
the headers.  You will not be able to get headers from these e-mail 

George tell us that the gateway that Lotus provides, SMTPLink (is one 
of those Microsoft-style utilities that's functional, but just barely) 
has an administrator-configurable setting for handling RFC-822 headers 
on inbound (to cc:Mail) messages.  Headers can be completely 
discarded, or copied to an attachment.

George also tells us in the R6 client, headers (if saved to an 
attachment in the gateway) are viewable as an attachment, as noted 
above.  The R8 client handles things differently, hiding the existence 
of the headers attachment, and making the content available only by 
going to the inbox or a message folder, right-clicking on 
"Properties", then selecting the "history" tab.  From there, it's 
possible to copy/paste into another document.  Header information is 
left in its original chronological order (unlike Notes, which takes 
the liberty of sorting all the headers into alphabetic order).

Aussie tells us that in Pegasus to view the full headers for each 
message, use CTRL-H. This will show the full headers for the 
particular message, but will not add them to any reply or forward. You 
need to cut/paste the message into the reply/forward to send these 

Richard tells us with Nettamer, a MS DOS based email and USENET group 
reader you must save the message as an ASCII file, then the full 
header will be displayed when you open the saved file with your 
favorite ASCII editor.

At this point if you are "pushing the envelope" on your ability to 
figure out how to get that complaint to the correct person, I would 
suggest joining the Usenet group alt.spam or and post the message with a title like "Please help me 
decipher this header".  Unfortunately there is no "single" place to 
complain to about spam (or Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail).  Complaints 
have to be directed to the correct ISP (Internet Service Provider) 
that the spam originated from.  See the below section entitled 
"Reporting spam".

URL's to help you figure out how to look at the headers:

A little different description of headers: - Line by line tracing of a 
spammers e-mail - Line by line tracing of a 
spammers e-mail when the spammer has inserted a "Fake" Received line 
to confuse tracking the e-mail. - In depth header 

There is spamming software that sends the e-mail directly to your 
computer.  This makes only one received line in the e-mail making your 
life many times easier.  The computer that is not your computer is the 
spamming computer.

Also, please look through the body of the message for e-mail addresses 
to reply to.  Complain to the postmasters of those sites also (see 
below for a list of complaint addresses).

Gregory tells us that assuming a reasonably standard and recent 
sendmail setup, a Received line that looks like :

Received: from host1 (host2 [ww.xx.yy.zz]) by host3
        (8.7.5/8.7.3) with SMTP id MAA04298; Thu, 18 Jul 1996 12:18:06 

shows four pieces of useful information (reading from back to front, 
in order of decreasing reliability):
 - The host that added the Received line (host3)
 - The IP address of the incoming SMTP connection (ww.xx.yy.zz)
 - The reverse-DNS lookup of that IP address (host2)
 - The name the sender used in the SMTP HELO command when they
   connected (host1).

Looking at the below we see 6 received lines.  Received lines are like 
links in a chain.  The message is passed from one computer to the next 
with no breaks in the chain.  The received lines indicate that it 
ended up at (my computer) from  It was 
received at from unknown (HELO paul-s.-aiello) 
([]).  The last three lines suggests that it was 
received at in2.| from mh.tomsurl|.com and from 
reb50.rs41|  Since none of these computers are in the first 
two received lines then we can ignore these lines and every received 
entry after this line (this UCE had 4 or 5 more faked Received lines 
in it that were deleted for this example).  We also know that these 
lines are faked because no domain name has a "|" character in the 
name.  Domain names only have alphabetic or numeric characters in the 

Do not get confused by the "Received: from unknown" portion.  The word 
"unknown" can be *anything* and should be ignored, this is whatever 
the spammer put in the SMTP HELO command when they connected to the 
SMTP server.

Received: from ( 
[]) by (8.9.1a/8.9.1) with SMTP id CAA10768 
for <>; Thu, 26 Nov 1998 02:55:11 -0500 (EST)
Received: (qmail 25259 invoked from network); 26 Nov 1998 08:05:49 -
Received: from unknown (HELO paul-s.-aiello) ([])  by with SMTP; 26 Nov 1998 08:05:49 -0000
Received: (from uudp@lcl|lhost) by in2.| (8.6.9/8.6.9) id 
CFF569794 for <suppressed>; Thursday, November 26, 1998
Received: from tomsurl|.com (mh.tomsurl|.com []) by 
m4.tomsurl|.com (8.6.12/8.6.12) with ESMTP id PAA21932 Thursday, 
November 26, 1998
Received: from reb50.rs41| (root@reb50.rs41| 
[]) by tomsurl|.com (8.6.12/8.6.12) with ESMTP id 
PBA023891 for <suppressed>;

So we complain to whomever owns unknown (HELO paul-s.-aiello) 
([]).  Make sure that you do a nslookup (or use , put the address in the section "address 
digger", click on WhoIs IP block and Traceroute and click on "do 
stuff") on the IP address's.  I try to verify is paul-
s.-aiello.  Indeed paul-s.-aiello does not even exist and does not resolve to a name when I do a NSLookup.  Next 
would be a traceroute.  See further below for more in-depth tracking 
on resolving an IP.

IP portion =

Traceroute gives us:
Step  Host                          IP
Find route from: to: (, Max 30 
hops, 40 byte packets
13   ( ):   235ms
14          (  ):   272ms
15                   ( ):   279ms
16     (   ):   362ms
17  (  ):   195ms
18        (   ):   230ms
19             (  ):   231ms
20 *     *     *
21                  (   372ms

See the traceroute section below for how to interpret the "*" (and 
other codes) that are returned from a traceroute.

Note - if you see something like the following realize that the only 
portion you can trust is within the "([" and the "])".  The spammer 
put in the (faked) portion " (" :
Received: from ( ([]) 

Kamiel tells us that you might also want to make sure that the IP is 
not hosted by an intermediary site.  Check it out at:

You should complain to the abuse@ or postmaster@<Last Two or Three 
words at the end of the name>.  I would complain to OR (but NOT both sites) since after looking below at the 
list of complaint addresses in this FAQ there are no alternate 
addresses for or  Unless it is a "major provider" 
(someone in the below complaint list) I usually complain to the 
upstream provider rather than risk the chance of complaining to the 
spammer and being ignored.  If you go too far up the chain, however, 
it may take quite some time for the complaint to filter down to the 
correct person.

Louise tells us that you are entitled to make an 'alleged' accusation 
but to prevent yourself from being libel, prefix your statement with:-
"Without prejudice: I suspect you are the culprit of such and such."

The constitutional and legal boundary of 'Without prejudice' exempts 
Politician's opinions being spoken publicly and this prefix is often 
adopted by Solicitors (English) or Lawyers/Attorneys (USA).

I use :
abuse@XXXXX - Without prejudice I submit to you this Unsolicited 
Commercial E-Mail is from your user XXXX.  UCE is unappreciated 
because it costs my provider (and ultimately myself) money to process 
just like an unsolicited FAX.  Please look into this.  Thank you.

BE SURE to verify the IP address.  Windows '95 machines place the name 
of the machine as the "name" and place the real IP address after the 
name, meaning a spammer can give a legitimate "name" of someone else 
to get someone innocent in trouble.  A spammer at cyberpromo changed 
their SMTP HELO so that it claimed to be from Compuserve.  The 
Received line looked like the below, but a quick verification of the 
IP address showed it was indeed from cyberpromo :

Received: from ( []) 

The below e-mail was passed to me thru a "mule" ( 
[]).  The Spammer hijacked an open SMTP port to reroute e-
mail to me:
Received: from ( []) by (8.9.1a/8.9.1) with ESMTP id GAA06372; Fri, 27 Nov 1998 
06:53:20 -0500 (EST)
Received: from ([]) by (Netscape 
Messaging Server 3.54)  with SMTP id AAT2FEA; Fri, 27 Nov 1998 
08:46:07 -0200

A NSLookup on resolves to, so after I complain to I also send the postmaster of the open SMTP port the 
following :
postmaster@XXXXX - Your SMTP mail server XXXXX was used as a mule to 
pass (and waste your system resources) this e-mail on to me.  You can 
stop your SMTP port from allowing rerouting of e-mail back outside of 
your domain if you wish to.  FYI only.  Info on how to block your 
server, see: - See if a server is 
on a BlackHole list, i.e. an open relay -  Test for server vulnerability

Now that Cable Modems are so popular, companies are starting to put 
their "personal" e-mail servers on cable / DSL modems and are (of 
course) not configuring them correctly.  I received UCE from an open 
SMTP server:
Received: from SDMAIN ( 
[])                  by (8.9.3/05.21.76) with 
SMTP id SAA04761;            Fri, 30 Mar 2001 18:35:24 -0500 (EST)
Received: from Received: (qmail 554 invoked from network); 25 Mar 2001 
23:56:02                  ( 
[])        by SDMAIN; Fri, 30 Mar 2001 10:19:58 -0800

Complain to Cox ( in this case) about their open SMTP 

There are some systems that "claim" to "cloak" e-mail.  It is not 
true.  If you receive one that looks like the following :

Received: from (root@[]) by 
(8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id KAA28969 for <>; Thu, 
26 Jun 1997 10:41:46 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from --- CLOAKED! ---
Received: from ([]) by 
(8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id HAA06250 for <>; Mon, 
25 Jan 1999 07:11:18 -0500 (EST)
Received: from

It is still broken down as follows :
 - The route the e-mail took originated from one of the systems above 
the line marked "cloaked" or the line "untraceable" (in fact this 
makes it even easier to trace).  There is no magic to it.  Complain to 
that provider.  If you get no response from the site that spammed, you 
should ask your provider to no longer allow the above site 
[] to connect to your system.

It has been kindly pointed out to me that there is a "feature" (read 
"bug") in the UNIX mail spool wherein the person e-mailing you a 
message can append a "message" (with the headers) to the end of their 
message.  It makes the mail reader think you have 2 messages when the 
joker that sent the original message only sent one message (with a 
fake message appended).  If the headers look *really* screwy, you 
might look at the message before the screwy message and consider if it 
may not be a "joke" message.

There are also IBM mainframes and misconfigured Sun Sendmail machines 
(SMI-8.6/SMI-SVR4) that do not include the machine that they received 
the SMTP traffic from.  You have to route the message (with headers) 
back to the postmaster at that system and ask them to tell you what 
the IP of the machine is that hooked into their system for that 

An example of a Microsoft Exchange server that the "HELO" transaction 
is taken as the "From" portion (and is completely false) :
Received: from ( [])      
by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id KAA06614        for 
<>; Thu, 26 Aug 1999 10:51:31 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from FIREWALL ([]) by with 
SMTP (Microsoft Exchange Internet Mail Service Version 5.5.2448.0)     
id QW11TJV1; Thu, 26 Aug 1999 16:44:38 +0200

It has also been pointed out that someone on your server can telnet 
back to the mail port and send you mail.  This also makes the forgery 
virtually untraceable by you, but as always your admin should be able 
to catch the telnet back to the server.  If they telnet to a foreign 
SMTP server and then use the "name" of a user on that system, it may 
appear to you that the message came from that user.  Be very careful 
when making assumptions about where the e-mail came from.

Note for AOL users when looking at headers:
If you get double headers at the end of a message (like the below) the 
spammer has tacked on a extra set of headers to confuse the issue.  
Ignore everything except the last set of headers.  These are the 
*real* headers.

------------------ Headers --------------------------------
Return-Path: <>
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Subject: Life insurance, do you have it?
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  What computer did this e-mail originate from?

You cannot generally tell by a e-mail header which specific computer 
the e-mail came from.  Just about every time you dial into your ISP 
(Internet Service Provider) you are assigned a different IP address.  
If someone sends you an e-mail and they log out, the next time they 
log in their IP address will most likely be different.  If the 
computer has a permanently assigned IP address *and* you have the 
cooperation of whomever owns that block of IP addresses you *might* be 
able to get information on who might have sent the e-mail.

About the only way to tell *exactly* which e-mail account the e-mail 
was sent from is to get the ISP (Internet Service Provider) to tell 
you.  Usually the ISP will require you to get the local police 
involved (a warrant of some type) to force the ISP to give you that 
information.  Even given that you know the account the e-mail 
originated from, a forger can find out that person's account / 
password and log in as them, they can gain access to that computer 
while the person who owns that computer is away from the computer or 
they could install a back door program that allows them to control 
that person's computer remotely.  If this were to happen then the 
forger could send the e-mail and nobody would know who *specifically* 
sent the e-mail.

        MAILING LIST messages

Stephanie kindly defines MAILING LIST versus LISTSERVER :

A MAILING LIST is a type of email distribution in which email is sent 
to a fixed site which holds a list of email recipients and mail is 
distributed to those recipients automatically (or through a 

A LISTSERVER is a software program designed to manage one or more 
mailing lists.  One of the more popular packages is named "LISTSERV".  
Besides Listserv, other popular packages include Listproc which is a 
Unix Listserv clone (Listservs originated on BITNET), Majordomo and 
Mailserve.  Most importantly -- not all mailing lists run on 
listservers, there are many mailing lists that are manually managed.

You may hear of mailing lists being referred to as many things, some 
strange, some which on the surface make sense, like "email discussion 
groups".  But this isn't accurate either, since not all mailing lists 
are set up for discussion.

Istvan suggests "Majordomo software is remarkably funny about headers.  
It does not like headers which contain anything odd. All messages the 
software receives which do not conform to its rigorous standards are 
simply forwarded to the list moderator.  It turns out this feature is 
effective at stopping between 80 and 90% of spam actually getting to 
the list."

Kirk tells us that you can set majordomo up so that new subscribers 
have to reply to a subscribe request, thus verifying the address is 
legit.  Additionally the lists can be configured so that only 
subscribers can post.  And finally you can put filters on content.  
I've got the list I manage configured to reject multipart email and 
email which contains html.

Jeff adds that this would be the closed+confirm option in the 
configuration file so that only subscribers can post. Also, to prevent 
multipart or HTML this would be the taboo_headers configuration.

Richard mentions "Listserv can be configured to restrict non-members 
from sending to a list and can restrict spam based on the headers 
similar to Majordomo.  I've used both of these features successfully.  
You can read more about Listserv capabilities, if you are interested, 
at: - FILTER (info on its spam 
I suspect that Listserv's spam filter may be better than Majordomo's 
(but I've not managed any Majordomo lists)."

Jeff adds that having ran a majordomo list for almost 4 years, I find 
majordomo to be every bit as good.  I should, however, qualify that; 
the listowner needs to have his/her clueons in good working order.  
Simply put, no listowner in their right mind should leave their 
majordomo lists set to anything other than closed+confirm.  Alas, 
there are listowners who will leave their lists wide open.  I've also 
seen others knock themselves dead creating their own filters just so a 
listmember can post to the list from a web-based e-mail account while 
on vacation.  I usually tell anyone in such a situation to subscribe 
to the list from whatever free e-mail account they plan to use.  IMO, 
I cannot justify compromising list security for such reasons.  Lists 
should be closed+confirm...plain and simple.

Example Header appears below:
Received: from ( []) by (8.7.5/8.6.9) with SMTP id GAA27292 for <>; 
Sun, 5 May 1996 06:31:15 +0900 (JST)
Received: from by with SMTP (PP) using DNS  
id <>; Sat, 4 May 1996 20:56:49 +0100
Received: from (actually by  with SMTP (PP); Sat, 4 May 1996 21:13:03 +0100
Received: by (8.6.12/8.6.12) id PAA29156; Sat, 4 
May 1996 15:35:53 -0400
Date: Sat, 4 May 1996 15:35:53 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: CRaZy Complimentary Offer........

This is a post from Kevin Lipsitz for his "===>> FREE 1 yr. USA 
Magazine Subscriptions". The latest information indicates that the 
state of New York has told him he should stop abusing the Internet for 
a while ... lets hope it is forever.  In relation to the Internet he 
makes a slimy used car salesman look like a saint.

But as David reminds us, There are a million Kevin J. Lipsitz's out 
there.  All selling magazines, Amway, vitamins, phone service, etc.  
All the losers who want to get rich quick, but can't start their own 
That having been said, e-mail from a Listserve can usually be broken 
down the same way as "normal" e-mail headers.  There are just more 
waypoints along the way.  As you can see from the above, the e-mail 
originated from :

Jeff also mentions that is a good 
newsgroup to monitor about how to keep spam off the listserve.  I have 
seen mailing list issues arise occasionally.

  Reporting Spam and tracing a posted message
If someone posts a message with your e-mail in the From: or Reply-To: 
field, it can (and will if you request) be canceled.  Please repost 
the message to WITH THE HEADERS (or it will 
probably be ignored) so that the message cam be canceled (the message-
id is the most important) with a suggested subject of the following:

Subject: FORGERY <Subject from the Spam message>

Or you can look at the Cancel FAQ at :

Try to make sure that the message has not already been posted to, or and that it is less than 4 or 5 days old.  
Chris reminds us that yes, there are a lot of annoying, off-topic and 
stupid postings out there.  But that doesn't make it spam.  _Really_.  
All we're concerned with is _volume_.   Don't report any potential 
spams unless you see at least two copies in at least 4 groups.  The 
content is irrelevant.  Spam canceling cannot be by content.

For off topic posts, see

The first thing to do is to post the ENTIRE message (PLEASE put the 
header in or it will probably be ignored) to the newsgroup  Do not reply or post it back to the 
original group.  A suggested subject is one of the following:

Subject: EMP <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: ECP <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: UCE <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: SEX <Subject from the Spam message>

Please include the original Subject: from the original Spam so that it 
can easily be spotted.  Thank you.

Take a careful look at the header, if there are "curious characters" 
(characters that look like garbage) in the X-Mailer: line, or any 
other line in the header, then delete those characters otherwise the 
message may end up truncated.  The offending line consists of the 
EIGHT characters D0 CF 11 E0 A1 B1 1A E1 (in hex).

If the post is particularly amusing (Spammer threat or a postmaster 
threat), put C&C in the subject.  Seymour tells us it means Coffee and 
cats. This originated from a post claiming that a particular 
outrageous article had caused spewing of coffee into the keyboard and 
jumping while holding a cat, resulting in scratched thighs.

An Excessive Multiple Post (EMP) may exceed the spam threshold and may 
be canceled.  An Excessive Cross Post (ECP) may not be canceled 
because it hasn't reached the threshold. A UCE is for Unsolicited 
Commercial Email, SEX is for off-topic sex-ad postings.

Make Money Fast message is immediately cancelable and are usually 
canceled already by others, so please do not report MMF posts.  See 
MMF section below.

Tracing a fake post is probably easier than a fake e-mail because of 
some posting peculiarities.  You just have to save and look at a few 
"normal" posts to try to spot peculiarities.  Most people are not 
energetic to go to the lengths of the below, but you never know.

Dan reminds us that first you should gather the same post from 
*several* different sites (get your friends to mail the posts to you) 
and look at the "Path" line.  Somewhere it should "branch".  If there 
is a portion that is common to all posts, then the "actual" posting 
computer is (most likely) in that portion of the path.  That should be 
the starting postmaster to contact.  Be sure to do this expeditiously 
because the log files that help to trace these posts may be deleted 

If you *really* want to see some fake posts, look in alt.test or in 
the alt.binaries.warez.* groups.

A fake post:

From: User)
Subject: Femdom In Search of Naughty Boys
Message-ID: <>
Sender: User)
Organization: Internet Direct, Inc.
X-Newsreader: Trumpet for Windows[Version 1.0 Rev B final beta #1]
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 01:59:38 GMT
Lines: 13

This poor lady (Name deleted by suggestion) was abused by someone for 
a couple of days in an epic spam.  Many messages were gathered.  The 
message ID was different for several messages.  But several anomalies 
showed an inept poster.

The headers were screwed up, and when looking at a selection of 
messages from several sites, the central site was, 
where gets / injects news at.  This lead to the conclusion 
that either or should be contacted to see 
who the original spammer was. I never heard the results of this, but 
the spamming eventually stopped.

You can try looking at sites & see if they have that message by :
telnet 119
Connected to
200 InterNetNews server INN 1.4 22-Dec-93 
head <>

Message was not found at that site, so it did not go thru that 
computer, or the article has already expired or been deleted off of 
that news reader.

If you wish to track a particular phrase, user-id (whatever) take a 
look at the URL for getting all the posts pertaining to "X" : 

WWW IP Lookup URL's
============================= - My personal favorite.  All the tools you need 
on one page. Does lookups at all of the servers (Arin, 
RIPE, APNIC, etc.) Look up IP address / complaint 
address for Denial of Service attacks. Check and see if the 
address is in one of the real time abuse databases. Traceroute Lists by States and 
Backbone Maps List Traceroute and ping
Index to Traceroute pages:
  Or - European countries WhoIs Asian Pacific WhoIs Korean WhoIs North / South America WhoIs (Upper Right Corner)
IP to Lat - Lon (For those times when only a Tactical Nuke will do ;-
)) :
Yet Another IP to name:
What do those domain names mean : Country 
Codes for the last characters in a domain name

Converting that IP to a name
When all you have is a number the looks like "", and no 
computer name, then you have to figure out what the name of that 
computer is.  Most likely if you complain to " 
postmaster@[] " it will go directly to the spammer 
themselves (if it goes anywhere at all).

WhoIs or a traceroute will give you the upstream provider, complain to 
that organization.

Marty reminds us that there are some "special" IP's that are allocated 
as private networks.  These fall within the confines of to but should be ignored.  If the number is greater than 
255 then it is faked.  The addresses are :

Class  Start Address  End Address
  A - Loopback addresses
  D - Multicast
  E - Multicast

For a full list of bogus IP addresses see:

And a couple of other "mysterious" private IP addresses (that are not 
mentioned in any of *my* network books): - - IPV4 Auto Configuration address range 
(Draft RFC) -

See :

First off try using NSLookup (there is software for PC's, I use , put the address in the section "address 
digger", click on WhoIs IP block and Traceroute and click on "do 
stuff" or look at the URL's at the bottom of this FAQ).  If the 
NSLookup does not give you a name then try a Traceroute.  Somewhere 
you will get a "name" and at that point I would complain to the 
postmaster@<that name>.  See below for complaint addresses.

What to do with "strange" looking Web links

http://1%30%38%35%338%31%32%39%32/ has some %-encoded characters, but 
decoding those gives http://1085381292/ 
1085381292 is just another way of writing the IP address

To convert a decimal number to a "dotted quad octet" :

You can put this "strange" number in at any of the following : 

URL Decode: 

An example of a complex URL decode: 

If you look at the source HTML and you see the following then the spam 
has been encoded using Base64:
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

To decode, just copy / paste everything below the above line and click 
"Decode" into:

You will now have the HTML code.

This decode decodes scripts encoded with the Microsoft Script Encoder: - This CGI handles ALL the recent 
types of spammer tricks, including decimal, octal, hex addresses, 
username/password tricks, hex encoded characters, and redirectors. - All the tools.

And you get an answer like:

You can try the "strange" number at :

Kirk tells us wsftp and the traceroute that comes with wsftp will take 
those number and automatically translate them into the IP addresses.

Or under Widows 95 :
 start --> Programs --> Accessories --> Calculator
Choose view --> Scientific
Put in the "strange" number (3438189385) and click on HEX.  You get:

Then type in each of the two characters in HEX and click DEC after 
each number:
CC = 204
EE = 238
9B = 155
49 =  73

Viola ... Your IP is

For more general funny URLs, like 
, try 

Or if that doesn't work, Andreas suggests:
Something like following does NOT work the obfuscated URL form at 
samspade but I figured out that these can be typed into a html-file 
with a texteditor or in Netscape composer 6.x in the source-mode, than 
loading or switching to the html mode will immediately show the 
decoded characters, should be an URL with a form mailer or something 
like "mailto:user@domain.nic"

If you get a strange URL like:^T^B^T^E^|^B^E^T^B^T^E^T^T.ooooooooo 
Where the ^B = Control "B", ^T = Control "T", etc. you can look at the 
very end right before the first "/" to figure out what the site is, on 
this case it is, using port 80.  The rest of it 
is "decoded" by to give the "real" site name.
For MS Windows the program at will decode 
these with ease.

If you are looking thru the HTML source and you get something like:
method="post" action="&#109;&#97;&#105;&#108;&#116;&#111 
;&#61;&#68;&#101;&#98;&#116;&#49;" enctype="text/plain"
Then take the "funny" looking part and paste it into the "Obfuscated 
URLs" section of like so:
And you get:

So then you send a complaint to asking them to delete their 

If the site is a IP address like "", you can do a DNS lookup 
to backtrack the site.  A DNS lookup or a host command (see example 
below) uses the info in a Domain Name Server database.  This is the 
same info that is used for packet routing.  The UNIX command is :

nslookup hostname dns_server
dig @dns_server hostname

And you get :

If you are having problems with this, Josh suggests you try :

$ nslookup
Default Server:

> set type=ptr

Non-authoritative answer:    name =

Authoritative answers can be found from:
126.183.204.IN-ADDR.ARPA        nameserver =
126.183.204.IN-ADDR.ARPA        nameserver =      Internet address =       Internet address =

Looking up IP address ownership

InterNIC is your friend. The InterNIC Registration Services Host 
contains ONLY Internet Information (Networks, ASN's, Domains, and 
POC's).  Please use the WhoIs server at for MILNET 
Information.  Try :

Bruce tells us that there are three places where you can lookup an IP 
address, being the current trinity of Regional Internet Registries.  
These RIRs are: 

Jeef says Geektools will work out which one, as well as display the 

Asia and Pacific Rim: APNIC - Asia Pacific Network Information Centre 

 Americas and parts of Africa: ARIN - American Registry for Internet 

 Europe and Surrounding Areas: RIPE NCC - Rseaux IP Europens, Network 
Coordination Centre

Under Unix, you can use: 
    whois -h 
    whois -h 
    whois -h 

Each of the above three RIRs may refer to one of the other RIRs.  
Please do not send complaints to any of the RIRs as they merely 
provide contact information, and are not related in any way to the 
possible spammers. 

Dan has said that the NIC technical contact is the address to contact 
if there is a technical problem with the name service records for that 
domain.  Sending spam notifications to the zone tech contact is an 
abuse of the NIC WhoIs records.  Sending to the admin contact is 
marginally more justifiable, but should only be used after postmaster 
and abuse address has been tried.  Sending a complaint to all of the 
intermediate sites in a traceroute should *not* be done, these sites 
in all likelihood cannot do anything about the problem (with the 
exception of possibly the next to last site).

For domains that have invalid contact information you should contact 
the appropriate RIR (see above)

To see who the upstream provider is, try :


You might get :
traceroute to IP30.ABQ-DIALIN.HOLLYBERRY.COM (, 30 hops 
max, 38 byte packets
 1 (  190 ms  210 ms  120 ms
 2 (  100 ms  100 
ms  60 ms
 3 (  180 ms  130 ms  70 ms
 4 (  150 ms  140 ms  
150 ms
 5 (  180 ms  200 ms  
180 ms
 6 (  170 ms  290 ms  
240 ms
 7 (  300 ms  210 ms  
270 ms
 8 (  180 ms  240 ms  180 ms
 9 (  290 ms  220 ms  230 ms
10  * * *

The first column is the "hop" that traceroute is working on.  The next 
is the "computer" (and IP) of the computer at that hop.  The last 
three numbers are the milliseconds it took to get an answer from that 

You can get "codes" instead of the milliseconds.  An example of a 
"code" is the "* * *" for hop 10.

Here is a list of the codes:
? Unknown packet type.
H Host unreachable.
N Network unreachable.
P Protocol unreachable.
Q Source quench.
U Port unreachable.
* The Traceroute Packet timed out (did not return to you).

Chris clarifies that a '*' in actuality could be caused by a timeout 
OR something listening on the UDP ports traceroute uses to get it's 
port unreachables back from, to work, OR the router simply does not 
support ICMP/UDP unreachable ports and traceroute cannot determine 
it's status so it displays asterisks.

Humm..... Seems that after we get no 
response, so *that* is who I would complain to... or you can just send 
a message to ... If that doesn't work then 
complain to

JamBreaker sez : Be sure to let the traceroute go until the traceroute 
stops after 30 hops or so.  A reply of "* * *" doesn't mean that 
you've got the right destination; it just means that either the 
gateways don't send ICMP "time exceeded" messages or that they send 
them with a TTL (time-to-live) too small to reach you.

Try  DIG (Domain Information Groper) (or one of its derivatives), it 
is used to search DNS records :

What DIG tells you:

yourhost> dig -x

; <<>> dig 2.0 <<>> -x
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY , status: NOERROR, id: 6
;; flags: qr aa rd ra ; Ques: 1, Ans: 1, Auth: 3, Addit: 3
;;, type = ANY, class = IN

;; ANSWERS:      86400   PTR

;; AUTHORITY RECORDS:     86400   NS     86400   NS     86400   NS

;; ADDITIONAL RECORDS:     86400   A    86400   A    86400   A

;; Sent 1 pkts, answer found in time: 64 msec
;; FROM: (yourhostname) to SERVER: default -- (yourDNSip)
;; WHEN: Thu Nov 16 23:30:42 1995
;; MSG SIZE  sent: 43  rcvd: 216

Getting a World Wide Web page busted

Many spammers use throw away accounts, accounts that they know will be 
deleted as soon as the service gets a complaint.  Of course the 
spammers mentality is "if it is free it is for me to abuse".  If the 
spammer really annoyed you then you might wish to dig and get every 
account possible deleted.  What you need to do is actually go to the 
WWW page that they advertise, look at the page and usually the page 
will redirect you to another site (or possibly redirect 2 or 3 times).  
Send a complaint to these sites (with the original spam).  It is 
important to explain to the site you are complaining to how you got to 
their site so that they don't ignore you.

In Netscape and Explorer there is an option to "view source".  This 
will pop up a page with all of the http source from the page.  This 
page will have all of the "links" to the next site.

If you look at the http source and it is unreadable (and sez 
"Haywyre"), take a look at :

There are spammers out there that actually have a clue.  They use open 
Web Proxies to reroute their web page to another location.  When you 
do a ping of a web site, the ping is of the open web proxy.  The open 
web proxy then redirects you when it gets the request for the web 
page.  A complete technical explanation can be found at:

Another thing spammers do is to abuse free WWW services to set up a 
web page that is encoded with Java script so that you cannot see what 
the html looks like.  The spammer then redirects the information to 
their "real" site. tells us that to decode the Java 
script and complain to the people that are actually hosting the 
spammers, set up a bookmark called "Decode Javascript" and set the URL 
(thanks to Code by Kicken) as the below, the code is all on one very 
long line:
on disp(h){h=h.replace(/</g, 

Your computer may take a while to decode all the Java, just be 

Usenet complaint addresses
O.K... So you have a common site that you can complain to.  Good.  If 
you cannot figure out where the message came from, you can post the 
FULL HEADERS (this is *very* important for tracing) to alt.spam,, or (see the section entitled Reporting Spam 
and tracing a posted message).  Usually you can get someone to help 
with the message.

If you complain (or asked to be removed) to the spammer directly, you 
may just be confirming a "real" live e-mail address, which may lead to 
even more junk e-mail.  I would suggest complaining to the owner of 
the site only.  You can send e-mail to  (where is the provider you are complaining to) and it will get 
forwarded to the "best" e-mail address.. See

I used to post a long list of abuse addresses in the alt.spam FAQ, but 
the lookup is much better, in fact it is the way that I look 
up abuse addresses.  Look up the abuse address of the ISP that you 
think the spammer is a customer:

There is a list of admins to contact:

Greg reminds us that if you are complaining to a postmaster about a 
week-old post, don't bother.  It's not on their server, they can't 
verify it.  Make sure you use terms correctly.  A recent trend is to 
call any off-topic post "spam".  It's not.  I deal with spammers and 
off-topic or advertising posters differently.  Other providers do 
also.  Also, try to keep the clutter in your complaints down.  I don't 
need a copy of the referenced RFC or statute.  It doesn't help either 
of us if I can't find your complaint in between all the mumbo jumbo.

From : David Jackson ( (and this applies to *any* 
abuse) :
To report an instance of USENET abuse send mail to - 
please remember to include a complete copy of the USENET article, 
including all headers, to help us quickly quash the abuse.

Scott reminds us :
It might also be a good idea to remind people that sometimes the 
postmaster _is_ the spammer. Joe Spam might have his own domain (since 
they _used_ to be free) inside of which they are the postmaster. This 
is terrifyingly common with net.twits (kooks, etc.) but seems rare for 
spam. A quick note that if the spammer is the admin contact in WhoIs, 
notifying the postmaster will surely generate laughs on their end.

In the letter to the postmaster, you might wish to mention Joel's very 
good FAQ about advertising on the Internet :

One company that was suckered in by a bulk e-mail company received 35 
responses to the addresses in the body of the message, and 100% of 
them were negative. Additionally the ISP that hosted them received 15 
complaints asking for them to terminate their service. UUNet received 
50+ complaints about this UCE.

And where they *should* advertise : - Economic FAQ 
about the Internet

If you don't get a proper response from the postmaster, remember, 
WhoIs - is your friend. See the section labeled 
"Converting that IP to a name" for more information on InterNIC.

This *should* get you a person to talk to & their personal e-mail 
address. If you don't get any response from that postmaster, then you 
should try the provider to that site. This gets a little trickier, but 
a traceroute should show you the upstream provider, and from there you 
can try contacting the postmasters of *that* site.

To contact the upstream providers first go to Merit Network Advanced 
WhoIs query and get their AS:
It should look something like:
origin: AS15084

Then go to the CIDR report and get their upstreams (change the 
"AS15084" to something appropriate):
Or go to the following, scroll to the bottom and type in the AS: 

Any non-profit organization (like a University) should be very happy 
to help get rid of a spammer.  If the non-profit organizations 
resources are being used to spam a for-profit business the IRS can 
take their non-profit status away. Talk to the legal council at the 
non-profit organization if you don't get a positive response from the 

Worst case, a site can be UDP (Usenet Death Penalty) out so that other 
sites stop accepting news or even e-mail from that site. They are cut 
off from the net. Decisions like this are discussed in the news group .

If the spammer site has problems trying to figure out where the spam 
came from, they can *always* get help from the denizens of, but have them take a look at their logs 
first and see if they see something like (Thanks to help from 

My news logs (for INND) are:
$ cd /usr/log/news
$ ls
OLD                expire.log         news.err           unwanted.log
errlog             news               news.notice
expire.list        news.crit          nntpsend.log

and here is my syslog.conf:
## news stuff
news.crit               /usr/log/news/news.crit
news.err                /usr/log/news/news.err
news.notice             /usr/log/news/news.notice               /usr/log/news/news
news.debug              /usr/log/news/news.debug

but, what they need to remember, is they HAVE TO LOOK QUICK!.  INND 
expire puts all these logs in OLD, and recycles them, and expires them 
at the 7th day (and gzips them), i.e., OLD/:
ls -l news.?.*
-r--r-----  1 news      news         181098 May 23 06:26 news.1.gz
-r--r-----  1 news      news         319343 May 17 06:29 news.7.gz

so... to grep an old log looking for
(the {nn} is how many days ago, 1 is yesterday, 2 is 2 days ago, etc)
cd {log/OLD}
gunzip -c news.1.gz | grep | more

Viruses / Trojans / Spyware
If you do not have anti-virus software loaded on your computer *or* 
you do not have the latest and greatest virus definitions then run - 
do not walk - to the closest software store and buy the latest anti-
virus software or download the latest definitions if you have the 
software and haven't updated the definitions lately.

There are several free antivirus programs available: 
Like: - AVG

The grief you will have if you are infected with a virus is many times 
the grief of loading and maintaining anti-virus software.

More and more viruses propagate thru e-mail.  If your friends machine 
is infected you can receive a virus from them because the virus sends 
a copy of itself to you (the virus send itself to everybody in your 
friends address book).  DO NOT open attachments even if they are from 
someone you know unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the attachment is 
virus free. - Online scanning of your 
hard drive and reporting viruses

If you think that you have received a virus in an e-mail, there are 
some online scanning tools that will scan for the latest and greatest 

You can submit the virus to your choice in anti-virus vendors, please 
take a look at their site to see if they have any particular 
submission instructions:
"Command AntiVirus"
"Computer Associates"
"Kaspersky AntiVirus"
"Network Associates"
"Trend Micro"

A Trojan is a program that you are tricked into executing that has a 
devious purpose. You run a small game that (in reality) loads itself 
onto your computer to allow someone else to get into your computer. 
Most anti-virus programs *should* protect against this. See:
PestPatrol Glossary
PestPatrol White Paper: About RATs (Remote Admin Trojans)
Also see "A Comparison of Pest Detecting Tools" at:

Spyware is software that tracks what you do at your computer and 
reports that information via the Internet back to the company that 
wrote the software.  Depending on how paranoid you are and how much 
you want companies to know what you are doing, you might wish to 
remove this software from your computer:

Adware is software that loads itself on your computer usually without 
your specific permission and pops up advertisements while you are on 
your computer.  Both spyware and adware are usually not well 
programmed and should be removed.  This will make your computer run 

Scanning for Spyware:

Spyware removal tools: 

To remove spyware / adware, see the below free tools.  Try one at a 
time and see if it stops your problem:
1) Back up any important data (this *especially* applies before taking 
your computer into someone to "fix")
2) Run adaware: 
3) Run Spybot Search And Destroy:
4) Run Hijack This
5) Microsoft Spyware Removal (I haven't used this yet, so I don't know 
how well it works): 

There are companies spamming (and ostensibly making money) off of 
Trojan programs.  They tell customers they can spy on children, 
spouses, employees, etc (which is, by the way, illegal in the USA and 
many countries):
"Spy on Anyone by sending them an Email-Greeting Card! 
Spy Software records their emails, Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook, ACTUAL 
Computer Passwords, Chats, Keystrokes, PLUS MORE."

Fraud on the Internet and The MMF (Make Money Fast) Posts
There are many hoaxes and frauds on the Internet. No different than RL 
(Real Life). 

You must be very careful of any e-mail that you receive.  If the e-
mail is asking for any account and password there is a very good 
chance that this is a fraud.  The current vernacular for this on the 
Internet is "Phishing".  The fraud artist is trying to get you to 
divulge information to them that they should not know.  Never click on 
a link that says anything about updating your account.  There are ways 
that the links you click on "look" like they are pointing to a 
legitimate site but in reality are pointing to the fraud site that 
looks JUST LIKE the real site.  If you are worried that your account 
may need updating, go to your browser and type in the site name by 
hand and then look at your account.  See :,4902,88583,00.html?nlid=SEC2 
Also see:,4814,89096,00.html 
And Suing spammers for fraud: 
The Washington Post wrote three articles on victims of Phishing 
Australian Financial Advisor give 419ers 1 Million: 

Anti-Phishing Working Group ( ) is a 
coalition of financial institutions, ISPs and online retailers.  Visit 
their website for the latest Phishing scams that are trying to steal 
accounts, etc.

Many of the different organizations are creating pages to report 
fraud.  For example CitiBank has a page: 
And USbank:

Donna tells us If you would like to see a safe sample of this mischief 

Examples of the e-mails that I have received that are fraud or viruses 
purport that they are from E-Bay, PayPal, Amazon, Earthlink, a 
multitude of banks and from Microsoft.  An example of the URL (that 
looked like it was from Earthlink) and how it was decoded can be found 

In addition some of these fraud artists are targeting technically 
unsophisticated office workers claiming they have control over the 
workers computer (when they really don't), or that they will get them 
in trouble by putting pornography on their computer unless they pay 
them :,4902,88623,00.html?nlid=PM 

A partnership of the National Association of Attorneys General, the 
Federal Trade Commission and The National Consumers League :
Call 1-800-876-7060 or fill out an on-line scam sheet: - Internet Fraud Complaint Center - How to file a 
complaint - "It is important that you keep any evidence you may have 
related to your complaint" - File a complaint - FTC ScamSpam - - An article on what 
the FTC is doing to stop scams FTC Scam Page - The 
FTC goes against spammers
0,10801,78551,00.html?SKC=cybercrime-78551 - Internet fraud is 
expanding.  Spam has been sent out with fake sites that "look" like 
real sites to steal credit card information, etc. - How all the MMF, envelope stuffing, paid to 
surf, read e-mail, etc scams work.  That is work for the con artists.  
You (of course) lose money.

The Better Business Bureau has a web site at:

Hoaxes and scams :,1283,39298,00.html - A scam if 
you download a program you may pay $250 in telephone charges. - Article 
on Chain e-mail, pyramid schemes, fraud

National Criminal Justice Reference Service has a site on White Collar 
Crimes and what to do if you are a victim.  Under More Issues:
Click on White Collar Crime: 

Virus updates, scams and hoaxes:
From Security Wire Digest ( )
A scam artist has been making money off gullible users by sending a 
virus alert about testing for the MTX Worm. The e-mail advises users 
to call a 900 number, which costs $2.69 per minute, for a recorded 
message that instructs users to visit three antivirus Web sites--sites 
that provide AV definitions free of charge. Always check virus alerts 
and possible hoaxes against hoax web sites or legitimate antivirus 
authorities, such as Sophos, Trend Micro and TruSecure.

In the United States :
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission web page (stock 
solicitations, stock manipulation by sending out spam after buying a 
stock to get others to buy the stock and increase the price) or Email: - Pump and Dump tips - SEC prosecutions
Net Securities scam: Report to

The Food and Drug Administration :
Medical Items:
US Food and Drug Administration - MedWatch - Medwatch@OC.FDA.GOV
I sent Medwatch a spam about a "miracle fat removing creme" and I 
received the following, so for non-prescribed drugs I guess you report 
to the following:
Thank you for your comments. The office of MedWatch does not look into 
this type of complaint. This information may be given directly to FDA 
via the web. Please go to
Buying Medical Products Online -
Notifying FDA about problem Web Sites -

Make Money Fast is a pyramid (or Ponzi) scheme where you are in a 
chain of people wherein you send money to a few people and try to 
recruit others to send money to you. Basically if it even remotely 
smells like a MMF scheme it is illegal (even tho' many of the MMF 
schemes "claim" to have been looked at by a lawyer or checked by the 
United States Postal Authorities).

For a list of countries where Make Money Fast is illegal see :

Please, only report MMFs in if they're spam 
and you've seen it in lots of groups and / or the postmaster/user are 
defiantly stupid.

MMFs should be reported to the user and their postmaster and the 
following :
Where to send complaints to in Australia:
Ministry of Fair Trading
P O Box 6355

The applicable Canadian description can be found at :
And from the Canadian Department of Justice server ( ):
COMPETITION - Definition of "scheme of pyramid selling" - Section 55.1
206. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to 
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years who . . .
Pyramid Schemes
55.1 (1) For the purposes of this section, "scheme of pyramid selling" 
means a multi-level marketing plan whereby ...

Norway - Sylfest tells us Norwegians should report these via email to 
the national taskforce on economical crime, the KOKRIM by forwarding 
the mail with full headers to: < >

United Kingdoms:
Consumer Affairs and Competition Policy Directorate 2
Department of Trade and Industry, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET
Tel: 0171 215 0344
Have a booklet called 'The Trading Schemes Guide' which is very useful
indeed and explains the UK legal details on these things,

In the United States, you should write the Federal Trade Commission 
Ms. Broder
( ). For more info on pyramid schemes use - Federal 
Trade Commission is cracking down on illegal spam
To find your nearest postal inspector in the USA, see URL
California MMF law :

Another type of fraud is one where the spammer sends out a HTML 
message with a message / URL link that says "try a new game". When you 
click on the URL there is nothing related to the original message. 
What the spammer has (at the very least) done is gotten some money for 
himself by you clicking on his "click to pay" URL. Worst case the 
spammer may have taken advantage of a security hole in your browser 
and done something nefarious. Bottom line, do not click on the 
spammers URL, look at the e-mail and complain to the upstream 

And just when you thought that the spammers had reached new lows you 
get a spam from Word-of-Mouth.Org or or (as the scam gets reported I am sure they will continue to 
change their name).  They purport:
"An acquaintance of your's recently shared their experience with you 
in our online community, Word-of-Mouth.Org. It could be a friend, a 
family member, co-worker, business associate, or someone else you have 
run into at some time.
Why are we sending you this email? 
When people find out others are talking about them -- whether it is 
good or bad -- they want to know. At Word-of-Mouth.Org, we feel 
responsible to alert people so they have an opportunity to find out 
what is being said."

When you go to the site to find out what is being said, all you can 
find out for "free" is that your e-mail address is in their database.  
To find out exactly what is going on you have to "join" (and, of 
course, pay a fee).  After you pay mysteriously your report cannot be 
found.  See:
(Look at the posts)
Also See:

Yet another fraud arrives via e-mail with a subject of "Pre Action 
Warning." addressed to "Dear Sir" (didn't even know my name).  It 
specifically stated:
"I am writing to you in connection with you debt that you have with 
our company, Due to inflation and other factors outside of my control, 
your debts have exceeded       $1100.94 (one thousand one hundred and 
ninety four cents) I regret to inform you that we are pushing for 
legal action against your person.
We will offer you the opportunity to pay your debt. within the next 7 
business days, if you fail to comply, our partners, hold the right to 
litigate on behalf of our organization."

The E-Mail went on to state that I could send Banking details, Banking 
Authorization, etc.  Even better it stated:
"CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: E-mail may contain confidential information 
that is legally privileged. Do not read this e-mail if you are not the 
intended recipient. This e-mail transmission, and any documents, files 
or previous e-mail messages attached to it may contain confidential 
and proprietary information that is legally privileged.  If you are 
not the intended recipient, or a person responsible for delivering it 
to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any 
disclosure, copying, distribution or use of any of the information 
contained in or attached to this transmission is STRICTLY PROHIBITED."

These are all scare tactics trying to get you to give them money and 
not report this to someone else.  I (of course) immediately complained 
to and the two providers linked to this fraud (with the 
entire e-mail message and headers).  You don't owe money; they just 
want to make you think so.  When you get any e-mail that tells you to 
give someone money because they say you owe it, don't do it.  Trust 
me, if they want the money bad enough they won't be using e-mail to 

Another fraud (Bad English and all ) to try and get you to send the 
spammer your credit card purports:
"We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in 
amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornography webmaster 
or deal with dirty money, which require us to laundry them and then 
send to your checking account).
If you feel this transaction was made by our   mistake, please press 
If you confirm this transaction, please press  "Yes"  and fill in the 
form below.
Enter your credit card number here: 
Enter  your credit card expiration date: "

As always be a cynic when receiving unsolicited e-mails.  The frauds 
are getting more and more complex.

Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud

Robert Heinlein has a saying "TANSTAAFL" (There Ain't No Such Thing As 
A Free Lunch).  If it looks too good, it probably is.

There is a fraud promising you millions of dollars from a "government 
official" (or Widow, or son of a widow, etc.) in Nigeria (or some 
other small country) with a "secret" bank account, but all they need 
to transfer the money to you is:
(a)Your Company's Name and Address
(b)Your full Name(s), Telephone, and Fax numbers (Private and Company)
(c)Your Bank Name, Address, Account number, Telex and swift code (if 

This is the start of the Nigerian AFF (Advance Fee Fraud).  A summary 
is that they ask for you to "help" pay some fees that are required to 
get the money out of the country, then they try to get you to go to 
Nigeria (or a bordering country) to meet.

At this point they try to get you into the country without a visa, 
promising that they will get you a visa.  At that point they have you 
under their control since you are in Nigeria without a visa (no, they 
never got you a visa) and they start intimidation (physical or 
otherwise) trying to get money from you.
According to the Department Of State in publication 10465 (release 
April 1997) "15 foreign businessmen (one American) have been murdered 
in Nigeria AFF scams".

The Advanced Fee Frauds can also take the form of:
Disbursement of money from wills 
Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services) 
Purchase of real estate 
Conversion of hard currency 
Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts 
Sale of crude oil at below market prices

To see the details of this fraud:,1284,53818,00.html - Short Version 
- Meet the Nigerian E-Mail Grifters - The longer 
detailed version, Department Of State Publication 10465 
Send scams to (Put No Monetary Loss in the 
header if you haven't lost any money)
Also see:,10801,695
62,00.html - How to contact the US Gov't 
about this scheme - How the fraud works - The Nigerian Scammers - Can you scam a 
0,10801,80200,00.html?nas=AM-80200 - The Nigerian Fraud continues to 
claim victims - Two more 
scams, one like Nigeria scam, one demanding money you don't owe - M. E. 
Kabay talks about scams that allege you have won a lottery in Europe.  
M. E. Kabay mentions "its illegal for a U.S. resident to participate 
in a foreign lottery".  Again, if it looks too good it probably is

Lat but certainly not least there are many hoaxes circulating around 
the internet.  For example there is a letter circulating about "dying 
boy wants postcards" (Craig Shergold) which is no longer true. Same as 
with the Blue Star LSD addicting children hoax. See Urban Folklore FAQ 
at :

A complete Urban Legends listings (It is big) :

Snopes offers a way to see if a photo is a hoax: 

Some other hoax pages: - Why hoaxes are damaging - Symantec Hoax Page - Scams and hoaxes page - Hoaxes / Chain Letters - All about the 
Bill Gates Hoax chain letter that was followed by a hoax letter from 
The Gap, Bath & Body Works, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch and probably 
just about any company you can imagine. - Virus Myths - Look on the site and see if an e-mail is a 
hoax and if you can't find it forward your e-mails to and they will look at it for you. If it is a 
hoax send it to and they will notify everyone in 
the e-mail that the message is a hoax - Hoaxes and Scams

My usual response goes something like:
(Quote part of the hoax)
Hi! My name is Janelle McCan, Founder of the Gap. I am offering
thirty five dollar gift certificates to every seven people you send
this to.

If you ever get an e-mail that tells you to forward it to other 
people, it is *almost certainly* a hoax. Specifically if it tells you 
about a "new virus" or free money. Before you send it along *please* 
look it up by going to and typing words from the 
e-mail into the search line, like (in this example) and the word hoax:
Gap gift certificates e-mail hoax

Sorry. This is a hoax. See:

Plus, if the Gap could trace your e-mails, don't you think the 
Government could do the same and wouldn't that make you worry *just* a 
bit? Not that they aren't trying, see:,10738,2606926,00.html

But anyway, there are no free Gap certificates, no free $1,000 bills 
from Microsoft or any free trips to Disney. Sorry.

PLEASE read about the Gullibility Virus. This is a very funny 
editorial to be passed along to your friends who send you all these 
kinds of hoaxes :
end of hoax message

There has been some discussion that such things should be canceled 
because they exceed the BI 20 index. They are untrue and they waste 

  Open system spammers love

FormMail is a free program used by many legitimate sites to glean data 
submitted via online forms. Last year, a vulnerability was discovered 
in the gateway that allows external users to run the 
program. As a result, unsecured FormMail installations have become 
favored targets with junk emailers.

Many of the viruses circulating now leave "back doors" into the 
computers that they infect.  Armed with the knowledge of the back 
door, spammers hijack the computer and use the hijacked computer to 
send out their spam.

Of course open SMTP servers are ALWAYS the computer of choice to blast 
a few million e-mails out with.

Bottom line, the owner of the computer is responsible for keeping 
their computer secure.  Complain to the upstream provider about their 
customer and get the computer disconnected from the network until the 
problems can be corrected.

Filtering E-Mail BlackMail, procmail or News with Gnus

Filtering with BlackMail. This is free software that works with 
Mailers Smail, Sendmail, Qmail or Fetchmail under the OSes: Aix, 
various BSD, Irix, Linux, NeXTStep 3.x, Solaris, SunOs, SVR4: - Written by 
Ken Hollis (Not me ...) and maintained by James Murray
Get the procmail FAQ :
Procmail ruleset :

Or read about it when it is posted to :
Newsgroups: comp.mail.misc , comp.mail.elm , comp.mail.pine , 
comp.answers , news.answers
Subject: Filtering Mail FAQ

Bob tells me that Eudora Pro has a good filtering capability. You can 
filer based on who you send e-mail to, known spammers, etc. Enough 
filters and you may see hardly any Spam. Claris E-Mailer, likewise, 
has a filter option.

Brian has a Gnus scorefile from the Internet blacklist :
Or his example global scorefile :

Many news readers have a "kill" file that will filter out the posts 
from either a certain user-id, or posts with certain titles. Each news 
reader is unique. You might wish to read the help file on the subject 
of kill files.

Columnist Al Fasoldt suggests a method for filtering your own e-mail:

Rejecting E-Mail from domains that continue to Spam
Spamfilter can be found at:

See Sendmail site:
Ask your admin to add the following to their  This will 
reject all mail that continues to come in from domains that only send 
out spam.  This is a group effort from many admins :
Modify your in the following way.
1. Setup a hash table with the domains you wish to block:
# Bad domains (spam kings)

2. Add the following rules to S98 (be sure that there are three lines 
(i.e. the lines are not split up) and be sure to put a TAB character 
between the $* and the $#error, not a space) :
### Spam blockage
R$* < @$*$=K . > $*       $#error $@ 5.1.3 $: "Your domain has been 
blocked due to spam problems.  Contact your administrator."
R$* < @$*$=K > $*          $#error $@ 5.1.3 $: "Your domain has been 
blocked due to spam problems.  Contact your administrator."

3. Make your hash table.  Here is a very small example :

Mail that comes in from any of these domains will be returned to 
sender with the error.  If the sender is bogus, it will bother the 
postmaster at the bad domain in an appropriate manner.

Keep in mind that *ALL* email from these domains will be blocked.  
This is really only a good solution for domains that are setup by 
spammers for spamming.  Blocking something like, although it 
may seem initially attractive, would cause problems for legitimate 
users of email in that domain.  Compile your list after careful 
verification that these domains fit the above description.


Protection for you and your kids on the Internet
The kids have learned the Internet first, and there is a good point 
made that the Internet may be the first "system" created where kids 
are teaching parents about ethical use of the Internet.

Learn about it yourself to help your kids use the Internet 
responsibly.  When educating yourself, be *very* sure to read all 
privacy notices (or anti-privacy policies in this instance).  Many of 
the online contests have "privacy" policies that (basically) say that 
they can sell any and all information that you submit to anybody that 
they feel like.  That could include selling your e-mail address to 
spammers.  Even when you make an online purchase, scrutinize the 
privacy policy.  An example of a company who's privacy policy allows 
them to redistribute your information is Ticketmaster.  See:
Ticketmaster's Privacy Policy: Opting Out is Not an Option - Protecting 
yourself and your kids on the Internet, teaching your kids about 
ethical Internet Use - FTC generic 
information about keeping secure on the Internet.  In addition there 
is a Childs quiz about being a safe cybersurfer.

A company "Alyon Technologies" installed a dialer on home computers 
and connected / charged the consumers for pornography calls even when 
they were away on vacation: - Computer security for 
non geeks
And her book:

I am interested in eliminating spam from my emails, how do I do this?
First off NEVER reply to the "Remove Me" e-mail addresses or sites.  
This only confirms that you have a live e-mail address and makes 
*your* e-mail address more valuable to sell to other spammers.

Start off by reading this spam FAQ.

It may take a while to digest all of the new information, but just 
read it and see what you can get out of it.

Start complaining to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) of where the 
spam came from.  Understanding the "Received:" headers is key to this.  
Trace back in the Received: header to where it looks like the spam 
came from and complain to that provider about the spam.

Look in the body of the e-mail.  If someone tells you to reply to back 
to a e-mail address or if they point you to a web site then complain 
to the ISP owner of that web site or e-mail address (NEVER complain to 
the spammer, they already know it is wrong and will ignore you).

These steps will help get the spammers accounts eliminated.

Will it stop you from getting spam?   Probably not.  If spammers have 
your e-mail address it is already too late.  They are selling your 
address to each other, passing it around.  About the only way to do 
that is to change your e-mail address and give it out to as few people 
as possible.

   Origins of Spam
The history of calling inappropriate postings in great numbers "Spam" 
is from a Monty Python skit (yes, it is very silly... see ) where a couple go 
into a restaurant, and the wife tries to get something other than 
Spam. In the background are a bunch of Vikings that sing the praises 
of Spam. Pretty soon the only thing you can hear in the skit is the 
word "Spam". That same idea would happen to the Internet if large 
scale inappropriate postings were allowed. You couldn't pick the real 
postings out from the Spam. 

The very first spam was on 2 May 1978 from Digital Equipment 
Corporation (DEC):

The different kinds of "spam":
spam - Unsolicited (Commercial Or Bulk) E-Mail
SPIM or spIM - IM Spam, Cell Phone SMS spam
SPIT - Spam over Internet Telephony

Geek cartoons, some anti-spam cartoons mixed in: - Type "spam" and click 
"Submit Query" - :-)

The Spammers Rules (and their lies): 

To join a discussion list for Spams, send a message to
In the body of the message type :
subscribe spamad your_name your_affiliation
Or a real mailing list for the discussion on spamming and about what 
is and/or isn't possible in dealing with this problem. If you would 
like to join the mailing list send mail to with the 
following message in the body :
subscribe spam-list [preferred address]

Oldmilk tells us the alt.spam Commandments :
1) Thou shalt not post binaries to a non binary group.
2) Thou shalt not post "sPaM this l00zer" to alt.spam
3) Thou shalt not post to inform us for the thousandth time that this 
group was started to discuss the fine spiced ham product from Hormel.
4) Thou shalt not spam this newsgroup.
5) Thou shalt not post on a topic that has nothing to do with spam 
6) Thou shalt not harass any regular poster here, lest your ass be 
spanked to rosy hue.
7) Thou shalt not attempt to make any straw man arguments that spam is 
8) Thou shalt read the newsgroup before posting.

First off, the only CORRECT way to "SPAM" the net : - SPAM Fan Club - Spam, SPAM and the Internet ... Use 
"Spam" when referring to Internet Unsolicited E-Mail, ONLY use "SPAM" 
(all CAPS) when referring to the Hormel Product.
Show SPAM Gifts
Or for the free SPAM recipe Book ($1.00 postage and handling) :
SPAM recipe Book, P.O. Box 5000, Austin, MN 55912
Or for SPAM merchandise and apparel call 1-800-LUV-SPAM
SPAM Sites (the food) / The Church of Spam : - SPAM Haiku

A conversation with a spammer. I was amused. First time I had ever 
spoken with one. I also forgot to mention (in our very short 
conversation) that his World Wide Web service would be deleted (which 
it was) :
Me (7:04 PM): I got your spam. By Monday morning all your accounts 
should be canceled. That would be your AT&T account, your Hotmail 
account and this AOL account. You are welcome. Bye.
GS711 (7:05 PM): snip - Expletive Deleted
Me (7:05 PM): Thank you very much. You should learn how to advertise 
correctly on the Internet.
Me (7:06 PM): If you do it correctly than you won't have to run and 
GS711 (7:06 PM): thanks for letting me know who you are
Me (7:06 PM): Who am I? :-) ...
Me (7:06 PM): BTW, all your Spams will be reported by many other 
people other than myself ...
(He signed off)
And another exchange with a spammer:
Just keep the spammer in a conversation -

A Spammers Soliloquy. I had to keep this one because it was actually 
very creative (unexpected from a spammer) :

And if you cannot get enough Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail, you can 
listen to it coming from your speakers:

And a final note to spammers (I try not to make too many "personal" 
statements in this FAQ ...). It is best not to be such a pain that the 
Geeks find an intense interest in you. They are almost certainly 
smarter than you, at the very least they are smarter in the ways that 
the Internet works. The worst thing for you, however, is that they 
usually have no life and can easily make you "their life".

How *did* I get this unsolicited e-mail anyway?
Unfortunately just posting a message to a news group can get 
unsolicited e-mail. Some spammers "harvest" e-mail addresses by 
stripping e-mail return addresses out of messages people post. Try 
posting to alt.test a few times. You will get not only a few 
autoresponder messages (that is how it is *supposed* to work) but also 
a few unsolicited pieces of e-mail. The solution to this is to "mung" 
your address when you post by adding in extra characters (like "Spam") 
in your return address. You then put in your signature something like 
"Remove the word Spam from my e-mail to contact me". See: - How spammers harvest 
addresses - Riskiest e-
mail behaviors on the Net - Address Munging - Examples 
of disguising your e-mail. - 
converting email addresses to "digital entities" - A Java script to 
encode your e-mail address on a web page
Larry suggests making your e-mail address into a JPEG (picture).  You 
can't click on it and send a e-mail, but the spammers can't harvest 
your e-mail address either.

*Do Not* ever reply to the "unsubscribe" option in a spam. That only 
confirms your e-mail as "real" and gets your e-mail address sold to 
others. More spam for you.

Another way to get e-mail is to have a World Wide Web page. Some 
spammers just start a web spider (a piece of software that just 
traverses World Wide Web pages and collects information) going and 
collect e-mail that way. To prevent your e-mail from being harvested, 
you can "mung" your web e-mail. 

Yet another way for spammers to verify your address is real is to have 
multiple unique pages to their site so that when you click on the URL 
they provide, they know that you (and only you) got that URL. See: 

Greg tells us of yet another clever trick. The spammer imbeds a unique 
image (Web Bug) in a spam e-mail so that just the act of opening the 
e-mail tells the spammer that your address is "live":
img src="
bin/loadbalance/load.cgi?servers=clusters_1-9 & 

I have seen yet another trick that spammers use, they make the URL a 
web bug.  When you have a link like the "name" of the web site 
NAIOKWDVDISY can uniquely identify what e-mail address that spam was 
sent to.  Just doing a NSLookup of the name will point out the e-mail 
address of the person that the spam was sent to thus identifying a 
"live" person.

Pierre suggests that when putting a mailto URL in a web page, precede 
and follow it with "%20". When someone clicks on it, it will merely 
put spaces, which will be ignored, around the address, but when a 
spammer harvests the address, it will have a %20 in it, which will 
render it undeliverable.

A suggestion of some nasty little HTML items to have in your WWW page 
(invisible, of course) are :
<A HREF="mailto:root@[]"></a>
or if your server allows "server-side includes" (and .shtml) :
a<A HREF="mailto:abuse@!--#echo var="REMOTE_ADDR"-- "anti spambot></a>

Also you might include a mail to news gateway like the following so 
that the Spam is posted to Usenet :
See for mail to news 
A HREF=""/a
A HREF=""/a
A HREF=""/a
Note : You should note on your World Wide Web page that these links 
should *not* be followed by Lynx users, as they will see them no 
matter how you choose not to display them on a graphical interface. 
The last few in the below list are particularly not nice as they 
execute commands on a UNIX host. Substitute root@[] with any 
of the following :
postmaster abuse root admin postmaster@localhost abuse@localhost 
root@localhost admin@localhost postmaster@loopback abuse@loopback 
root@loopback admin@loopback
`cat /dev/zero /tmp/...`@localhost
;cat /dev/zero /tmp/...;@localhost
`umount /tmp`@localhost
;umount /tmp;@localhost

   Can I find the persons name and phone from an e-mail address
The short answer is no, not unless the person isn't very smart.  The 
only person that can definitively tell you who owns that e-mail 
address is the ISP (i.e.,, etc).  They will most 
likely not tell you this information unless you have a warrant from 
the police forcing them to do so.  You *might* find something if you 
search for any e-mail addresses that they used and see if it pops up 
any information: - Search the Internet - Search Usenet

   How To Respond to Spam

Howard reminds us :
Note to all:  NEVER follow-up to a spam.  NEVER.  Express your 
indignation in mail to the poster and/or the, but NEVER in the newsgroups!

Karen asks:
But what about the newbies who look at a group, see lots of spam and 
ads, see NO posts decrying them, and conclude that ads are therefore 

Ran replies :
When it gets bad,  you'll usually see some "What can we do about 
this?" threads.  That's a good place to attach a reply that tells 
people why it's bad, and what they can, in fact, do.

Austin Suggests:
At the risk of attracting flames, let me suggest an exception to 
Howard's law.  A follow-up is allowed if the following 3 conditions 
   1) The offending article is clearly a SCAM (for instance, the 
*Canada* calls with the Seychelles Islands phone # scam)
   2) No one else has followed-up with a posting identifying it as a 
scam (in other words, no 'Me too' warnings)
   3) It is unlikely to be canceled soon, either because it seems to 
be below the thresholds, or it is in a local hierarchy that doesn't 
get cancels, or Chris Lewis is on vacation in the Seychelles Islands.  
If all three conditions are met, a follow-up that X's out the contact 
information , severely trims the contents and identifies the post as a 
scam is exempt from Howard's law.
Bill's and Wolfgang's addition :
   4) Follow-ups should be cross posted to 
_and_ the groups of the spam, but Followup-To: *MUST* be set to *ONLY*
post a follow-up and *SET* Followup-To:
In the first case change
 Subject: Important FREE $$$
 Subject: Spam (was Re: Important FREE $$$)
and include the original Newsgroups and Message-ID line, so the 
professional despammers will immediately find what you're talking 
about.  Do not post unless you're absolutely sure that you can do all 
that properly. Also 1) - 3) do apply.

If you see the same article with different Message-IDs in several 
groups, collect the _complete_ headers of each article and check if it's already been reported. If not, start 
a thread with Subject: Spam (was Re: <original Subject>) in or . Include all 
of the headers and as much of the body of one article as you see fit.

Shalon adds:
One note here: in the soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm group, we have 3 or
4 netcops who *do* follow up each spam message with header, WhoIs,
traceroute, and contact address info so that those in the group who do
not have the technical skills to determine this can complain. It's an
unmoderated sex-related newsgroup which has almost no spam -- so it
would appear that the technique works extremely well.

  Firewalls and protecting your computer

If your computer is constantly connected to the Internet (DSL, cable 
modem, thru a corporate connection) you should have *some* kind of 
software or hardware that monitors to keep hackers out.

You have no excuse for not installing virus and firewall software on 
your computer.  There is always someone out there offering free or low 
priced antivirus or firewall software. See 
For example: 

CERT has released a white paper designed to help technical folks 
spread the word to home users about Internet security:

A description of what a firewall looks for / can tell you is at:

Review and explanation of firewalls:

An example of personal firewall software is: - Click on the FAQ link and there is a 
link to a page with a very extensive  list of firewalls. - Google search for 
personal firewalls

The problem with some of these types of software is that they are 
"technical" when they report an "attack" and the "attack" may or may 
not be worth noting. ZoneAlarm by Zonelabs and Network Ice (Black Ice) 
seems to work fairly well IMHO, but again you will need to examine 
each "attack" and see what it really is before complaining to a 

Bottom line, if you are constantly connected to the Internet (or even 
if you dial up for long periods of time) you should either have a 
firewall in your network, or run software like the above.

  Revenge - What to do & not to do
No matter how much we hate Spam and how much we dislike what the 
spammers to our quiet little corner of the Universe known as the 
Internet, Spam is not illegal worldwide (yet). If you try anything 
against the spammers, please * do not * put yourself in risk of 
breaking the law. It only makes them happy if you get in trouble 
because you were trying to get back at them.

The reason why spammers use "throwaway" accounts is because they know 
the e-mail account will be deleted. They usually provide either 
another e-mail address or a name / phone number or postal address so 
that prospective "customers" can be contacted. Be sure to complain to 
the postmaster of all e-mail names provided to make sure that this 
route is inhibited.

There are sites dedicated to revenge, just search in Google.  Jeff 
mentions that some people cross enter 800 numbers, phone numbers and 
addresses of spammers onto other spammers' sites.  He says the least 
we can do is introduce like minded individuals to each other. Just 
being neighborly. ;-)

You can ask the Attorney General of a state whether or not that 
business is licensed in that state, and who runs the business. I 
looked up a business out of Nevada and found : - National Association of Attorney Generals - We welcome any comments or concerns from you 
regarding Attorney General matters. If you would like a response from 
this office, please provide your name, address and telephone number, 
with your electronic inquiry and this office will respond to you by 
Write to :

Look the business name / owner up on the WWW for Las Vegas NV :
Which gave me the following info for the spammer "ROAD TO WEALTH INC":
And see if they are paying the correct taxes:
Nevada Department of Taxation
555 E. Washington Ave. 
Suite 1300 
Las Vegas, NV 89101 
PH: (702)486-2300 
FAX: (702)486-2373
City of Las Vegas
Department of Business Services
P.O. Box 1900
400 Stewart Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89125

  Telephoning someone

Calling someone once is fine.  If enough people are irritated at the 
spammer and they all call the 1-800 number the spammer provides, the 
spammer will get the idea (sooner or later) that it is costing them 
more in irate people (and most especially loss of business) and it is 
not worth it to spam.

Do not dial any phone numbers more than once from your home.  Phone 
harassment is * illegal * and you * can * be prosecuted in court for 
this. Even tho' the caller id blocking code (may be *67 or *71 or some 
other code) prevents your number from being displayed on their 
telephone at home if they have caller ID, *57 will give the phone 
company the number, *69 will dial back the phone number via automatic 
call back.  If it is a 1-800 number there are two problems.  First 
they can *always* get your phone number, and secondly it may *not* be 
a toll free number.  You may be charged for calling a 1-800 number.  
Of course calling from a pay phone takes care of all of these problems 
:-) ...

Likewise, do not call collect using 1-800-COLLECT or 1-800-CALL-ATT 
from home, once again this can be traced.

Austin comments : I would say that calling a listed non-800 number 
*once* collect to voice a complaint is not harassment, but justified.  
They sent you a postage due message, didn't they?  If they don't want 
to accept collect calls, they should say so - and if they do, you 
should be a responsible person and not do it again.

AT&T Information for 1-800 numbers is 1-800-555-1212, but that only 
helps if you know the company name you are trying to call.  Also, you 
can try searching for a 1-800 number (you do not have to know the 
company name) at :
Other telephone search mechanisms: - Look up location by area code. - North American Numbering 
Area Code Lookup - Map of the Area Codes

Snail Mailing someone

Likewise, one well thought out letter sent to the spammer might help 
convince the spammer not to do this again.  Especially if the spammer 
was part of a corporation that didn't realize the detrimental effects 
of spamming the Internet.

If you decide to deluge the spammers postal address by filling out one 
or two "bingo" (popcorn) postage paid cards in the technical magazines 
(by circling a few dozen "product info" requests per card & putting on 
printed out self sticking labels with the spammers address), or by 
putting preprinted labels on postage paid cards that come in the mail 
in the little plastic packages, don't organize a public campaign (that 
they can point to) against the spammer in the newsgroup.

Scott also reminds us :
Since this is the "Spam FAQ", I'd like to point this out: You're 
basically Spamming the company offering information in a magazine.  It 
costs companies money, not the one you're spamming. They get a free 
pile of junk which is easy to throw out. In other words, this may be 
harming third parties more than the intended target.  I'm not trying 
to be Mr. Nice Guy, just trying to point out an important 

Organizing a campaign against the spammer could lead to the spammer 
trying to get a cease & desist police order against the organizers.  
Likewise, FAXes that are inverse pages (black background on white 
letters) to a spammer could probably give you problems.

1-900, 1-800, 888, 877 and 1-### may be expensive long distance phone 
calls in the U.S.
============================================================== - 1-900 explained - Mysterious 
Phone charges
n - Long distance charges on your phone bill from your modem
Be very careful when dialing a 1-800 or any "toll free" number you are 
not familiar with. It may end up being a very expensive mistake. 
Remember to dial these numbers from a phone booth so that your home 
phone will never be charged. Another reason to call from a pay phone 
is so that the spammer cannot get your home phone number. Even if you 
are "Unlisted" when you call a toll free number the spammer gets your 
phone number.

All 1-800, 888 or 877 numbers are *not* free in the United States. 
Ozzy tells us that in Canada, ALL 1-800, 866,877, & 888 numbers ARE 
toll free.  In the U.S you may be charged for the phone call. You can 
tell if the number charges by calling from a phone booth. If you 
cannot get through then it charges. See below.
Likewise, numbers that may "look" like they are United States long 
distance phone numbers may in fact be out of country and may cost you 
$25 or more for a couple of minutes call. These calls are not 
refundable. A scam artist trying to get money from the phone calls (he 
gets a skim off the top) was dialing random beepers with an out of 
country number.

A phone scam can be read at

Some area codes to look for (some may not be active for another year 
or two):
(Also see
bin/npa_reports/nanpa?function=list_npa_geo_number )

242 Bahamas
246 Barbados
264 Anguilla
268 Antigua
284 British Virgin Islands
340 U.S. Virgin Islands
345 Cayman Islands
441 Bermuda
473 Grenada
649 Turks and Caicos
664 Monserrat
670 CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands?)
671 Guam
758 St. Lucia
767 Dominica
784 St. Vincent and Grenadines
787 Puerto Rico
868 Trinidad and Tobago
869 St. Kitts and Nevis
876 Jamaica

If the ad says "Procall", it is a large service bureau for 1-900 
numbers in Arizona.  When you call a pay-per-call number, there should 
be a recorded intro that will give a customer service number.  That 
*should* connect with a live person.

I would like to thank Eileen at the FTC for kindly answering my 
questions about 1-900 & 1-800 phone numbers.

Paraphrasing what she e-mailed me :
When a 1-900 number is advertised, the price must also be disclosed 
(this may be found at 16 CFR Part 308).

When calling a 1-800 number that charges, there must be an existing 
subscription agreement between the buyer and the seller Federal Trade Commission Home Page Telemarketing Sales Rule - 
Telemarketing information / scams 
File a complaint - Spam 
over Internet Telephony (SPIT)

Junk Mail - The Law
=================== - Collection of legal spam 
items - 'Lectric Law Library

Kevyn tells us that : In many countries, forgers of headers can be 
prosecuted. This is the equivalent of forging a postmark and 
delivering it yourself. When someone sends out spam with forged 
headers, he or she clearly:
a) knows that what they are doing is wrong, and that they can be 
punished for it
b) is clearly attempting to evade detection and punishment.

For Norwegians, these pages may be interesting:
(Datatilsynet is a government controlled organization, made to
protect people's right to privacy. This page explains that if someone
wants to advertise by email or SMS messages, they need prior consent
from the victims)

You should also read Title 47 of the United States Code, Section 227. 
There is a FAQ at for the text of the law (gopher or 
ftp or ), and you can 
use to read the USC 47 thread on to make up your own mind (it invariably 
comes up) or you can look at :

In Washington (State) (for example) fax laws (RCW 80.36.540 - 
Telefacsimile messages) define "telefacsimile message" in such a way 
that could be interpreted to include E-mail. It was not originally 
written to cover E-Mail, but that is for the courts to decide :-). 
California regulates it thru Section 17538(d) of the Business and 
Professions Code. - Washington State's 
highest court upholds anti-spam law.

Spammers that have actually been prosecuted. See:

In California (Quoted from ): Spamming to or 
from California e-mail service providers against their policy is now a 
civil offense under California Business and Professions Code Section 
17538.45. If you run a California-based e-mail service provider, you 
need to notify your customers of the law and your anti-spam policy in 
order to be eligible to collect damages of $50 per message.

Jeff tells us the California Code referring to spam (CA Bus. Prof. 
Code Sections 17538.4 and 17538.45) may be found through clicking 
"All" and entering "17538" into: (A pretty authoritative source) 
 Also see: - Sue a California spammer
The Virginia law :
The Washington State Law :
Spammers successfully sued -
The Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act :

Additional Resources - Lots Of Links

The latest & greatest version of the Spam FAQ is found at:
(or )
Or *nicely* HTML'ed at:
Or the archive at: - FAQ - Spam Books - spam terminology for info on NoCeM
Net abuse jargon:
Software to track the headers / eliminate Spam for you : - Anti-Spam software for Outlook and 
AOL - Mac software - Sam Spade WWW Spam tools - Excellent! - Software to identify / classify and funnel 
spam to a location out of your way - Spam Cop - Does the header 
analysis for you. - 30+ spam tools ... - Works with windows e-mail programs 
that uses pop mail - Vicomsoft 
document to raise awareness about Spam and offer practical solutions 
to email users - automated spam tracing and reporting 
agent - UNIX Tools
Your Daily Spam News: - Top Spam Hosts - Top Spam Sites
Spammers and how to stop them : - Anti-spam 
support site - a discussion on the origins 
of spam - spam havens listing  - 
- TINLC - There Is No Lumber Cartel - CafeShops has the TINLC Tee-
,10801,75737,00.html - Spam wars - Spam killer central - FAQ and gives how to view 
headers (about half way down) - Glossary of terms - Maryland Anti-Harassment 
bill - Internet Security
l - Internet Security - ISP sues spammer Regulation of 
Computing and Information Technology - AOL wins against 
Spammers - Complaint lookup - Internet Security - A spammer tries to sue the 
Cabal (TINC) - The Cabal (TINC) - Trying to legislate against - How to Get Rid of 
Junk Mail, and Telemarketers - Improve your spam-fighting 
skills - Small Office / Home Office 
Newsletters Anti-Spam Articles for business Spam free web- and POP3-based e-mail account for 
individual users - A script to 
generate e-mail addresses - A good article on 
why the Internet should be self governing WRT Spam - "Help stop Scam Spammers!" - A fight to bill Spammers
s278700/r?l&igv& - Spam link list - Anti-Spam mailing list - Stalking the spammer Enemy - Infosec / computer security page - Where spammers get their software - A computer 
contemplates spam (see ) - Resources to help Recipients, Marketers, 
Sysadmins and Legal pros - More Reading 
Headers - A Usenet with no Spam - 
Special Spam Fighting Edition - Mac WhatRoute - Also yet another newbie guide
t - Forgery FAQ - How spammers get your E-Mail 
address - Spam Software - or call 1-888-382-1222 - Put yourself on the 
national "Do Not Call" list - My mailbox. My property. 
My personal space. My rules. Deal with it. - A collection of email-Spams. - General E-Mail info - Windows Internet 
Utilities - Win 95 Net Utils - netcop /
Spam Info in other languages: - Netherlands - Japan - Japan - Spam Anti! French - German Anti-Spam - German Anti-Spam Mailing List - Many languages - English - 
Norway - German Anti-
Spam and costs - German net 
abuse FAQ
Translate from/to English French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian 
English to French:
English to German:
English to Italian:
English to Spanish:
Or why Netabuse is bad : - Is someone watching 
everything you type? - The cost 
of spam - Why permission is needed 
to send e-mail - Someone types in a bad e-
mail address and an innocent party starts getting spam - Why Unsubscribe doesn't 
work - Microsoft 
Update --> Watch what your computer sends out - AOL 
takes spammers to court - US 
Government "Can spam" bill. - Time and cost of 
SPAM - Two busted for 
Spam fraud / envelope stuffing - ?Logic? of a 
spammer and why (if everybody did it) you would get 1,370 e-mails per 
hour - How spam brings 
down servers - How 
spammers get your e-mail address - Scumware, 
unauthorized software additions to your computer - Scumware 
prevention and removal - Spammers 
using students to send spam - Spam driving 
- Why wireless is bad  - Corporate 
spam tools - Security 
for those that aren't computer security geeks - What spam 
really costs Part I - What spam 
really costs Part II - 
The cost of Spam (at bottom of article) and how spammers are trying to 
fight back
Protecting your reputation in Cyberspace - How To / How Not To 
communicate on the Internet: - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - 
Why not to spam - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - How Not 
To Send Out An "Alert" - AOL wields 
legal, technical weapons in spam war
Spammers / Spyware Convictions:
nbv%5E15306%2D15318,00.html,4902,96528,00.html?nlid=PM - Spammers sending out Trojan 
Programs to turn home computers into spamming machines - Spam busters 
go on the offensive
First register at: to look 
at: - How 
Spammers Work
Listen to The Spam Avenger abuse spammers -
Equal time, The spammer's viewpoint (Why Spam is good): - Spammers Speak - Gerald Kohler ( ) argues for 
spam, with some good rebuttals. Click on "Thread" then click on 
message 8 then click on next in thread to follow the conversation.
Opinions from one spammer (I wouldn't trust much of what is said in 
these pages if anything at all ...): - Spammers don't 
like spam :-) - Bulk E-Mail - Is It Legal? 
This page *used* to say "Many of these anti-spammer extremists do not 
have regular jobs" (Hmm ... I guess my 50+ hour a week high tech job 
doesn't count?) - Bulk E-Mail Marketing 
guide - Testimonies
Of course feel free to send your comments to escalate@marketing- or 
What the alt.binaries.slack Organization has done to fight Spam :
And the Alt.Gothic Special Forces:

Disclaimer :
I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. For legal advice, 
consult an attorney with appropriate expertise in this area of the law 
who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

80% of the Internet is bull, free advice is worth every penny you paid 
for it :-).  Brought to you via News since November 1995.

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards for they are subtle and 
quick to anger.
Ken Hollis - Gandalf The White - - O- TINLC
WWW Page -
Trace E-Mail forgery -
Trolls crossposts  -

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Feb 15, 2024 @ 4:04 am
Thank you for sharing! Veru useful post. This FAQ looks like a treasure trove of info for dealing with spam and all sorts of online shenanigans. It's like the ultimate guide to navigating the wild west of the internet, complete with tips on tracing emails, spotting scams, and protecting yourself and your kids online. Plus, it's got everything from the origins of spam to what to do if you want to get revenge (hint: probably not a good idea). Definitely gonna bookmark this for future reference!

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM