Just remember when forging Usenet posts that both faked email
and Usenet posts can be easily detected -- if you know what to
look for. And it is possible to tell where they were forged.
Once you identify where spam really comes from, you can use the
message ID to show the sysadmin who to kick out.
Normally you wont be able to learn the identity of the
culprit yourself. But you can get their ISPs to cancel their
Sure, these Spam King types often resurface with yet another
gullible ISP. But they are always on the run. And, hey, when
was the last time you got a Crazy Kevin Amazing Free Offer?
If it werent for us Net vigilantes, your email boxes and
news groups would be constantly spambombed to kingdom come.
And -- the spam attack I am about to teach you is perfectly
legal! Do it and you are a certifiable Good Guy. Do it at a party
and teach your friends to do it, too. We cant get too many
spam vigilantes out there!
The first thing we have to do is review how to read headers
of Usenet posts and email.
The header is something that shows the route that email or
Usenet post took to get into your computer. It gives the names
of Internet host computers that have been used in the creation
and transmission of a message. When something has been forged,
however, the computer names may be fake. Alternatively, the skilled
forger may use the names of real hosts. But the skilled hacker
can tell whether a host listed in the header was really used.
First well try an example of forged Usenet spam. A really
good place to spot spam is in alt.personals. It is not nearly
as well policed by anti-spam vigilantes as, say, rec.aviation.military.
(People spam fighter pilots at their own risk!)
So here is a ripe example of scam spam, as shown with the
Unix-based Usenet reader, tin.
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 23:01:56
134 of 450
Lines 110 >>>>FREE INSTANT COMPATIBILITY
CHECK FOR SEL No responses
firstname.lastname@example.org glennys e clarke
at OzEmail Pty Ltd - Australia
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE INSTANT COMPATIBILITY CHECK!
WHY SELECTIVE SINGLES CHOOSE US
At Perfect Partners (Newcastle) International we are private
confidential. We introduce ladies and gentlemen for friendship
and marriage. With over 15 years experience, Perfect Partners
of the Internet's largest, most successful relationship consultants.
Of course the first thing that jumps out is their return email
address. Us net vigilantes used to always send a copy back to
the spammers email address.
On a well-read group like alt.personals, if only one in a
hundred readers throws the spam back into the posters face,
thats an avalanche of mail bombing. This avalanche immediately
alerts the sysadmins of the ISP to the presence of a spammer,
and good-bye spam account.
So in order to delay the inevitable vigilante response, today
most spammers use fake email addresses.
But just to be sure the email address is phony, I exit tin
and at the Unix prompt give the command:
We get the answer:
No match for "OZEMAIL.COM.AU"
That doesnt prove anything, however, because the au
at the end of the email address means it is an Australian address.
Unfortunately whois does not work in much of the
Internet outside the US.
The next step is to email something annoying to this address.
A copy of the offending spam is usually annoying enough. But
of course it bounces back with a no such address message.
Next I go to the advertised Web page. Lo and behold, it has
an email address for this outfit, email@example.com.
Why am I not surprised that it is different from the address
in the alt.personals spam?
We could stop right here and spend an hour or two emailing
stuff with 5 MB attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hmmm, maybe gifs of mating hippopotami?
You can go to jail note! Mailbombing is a way to get into big
trouble. According to computer security expert Ira Winkler, It
is illegal to mail bomb a spam. If it can be shown that
you maliciously caused a financial loss, which would include
causing hours of work to recover from a spamming, you are criminally
liable. If a system is not configured properly, and has
the mail directory on the system drive, you can take out the
whole system. That makes it even more criminal.
Sigh. Since intentional mailbombing is illegal, I cant
send that gif of mating hippopotami. So what I did was email
one copy of that spam back to perfect.partners. Now this might
seem like a wimpy retaliation. And we will shortly learn how
to do much more. But even just sending one email message to these
guys may become part of a tidal wave of protest that knocks them
off the Internet. If only one in a thousand people who see their
spam go to their Web site and email a protest, they still may
get thousands of protests from every post. This high volume of
email may be enough to alert their ISPs sysadmin to spamming,
and good-bye spam account.
More how to fight spam --->>