News Letter 4

How To Fight Spam

This month's news letter tackles spam.

All my life I have noticed that the mail carrier not only brought me mail but also lots of junk mail. As a paper boy, I noticed several houses on my route that had notices above the mailbox clearly stating, "No Junk Mail Please!". Back then I even wondered why the government didn't put an end to this unwanted crap called junk mail.

Nowadays I understand the necessity of a business to promote and don't mind sorting out the junk mail from the pile and putting it in the recycle bin. What makes spam different, to me, is just the volume of it.

Over 40 percent of all email sent over the Internet is spam.

It has been estimated that 10 billion a year is lost in non-productivity in dealing with this problem.

The Solution 
There are several solutions to spam that you can find on the Internet. These solutions protect you from getting spam but they don't handle the source of the problem - the spammer.

This news letter tells you how to fight back against the spammer by writting a report to the spammers ISP*

This solution is a bit time consuming but if thousands of people used the below data every day for a half hour, I believe it would stop spam or at least decrease it immensly.

I am going to use Outlook Express in my examples but all email programs operate on the same principles.

STEP 1 - Getting the spammers IP address*

0) Open up your Outlook Express and if not already, go to the Inbox.
1) Select the spam you are going to complain about and right click on it to get the menu.
2) Select properties.

3) A new window opens. Select Details
4) Scroll over if necessary, to find the IP Address in Brackets 
5) Copy the number.

There is a lot of information here but the only one we want is the first line, which in this example is:

Received: from pool-72-80-234-109.nycmny.east.verizon.net [72.80.234.109] by cornerstonesoftware.ca with ESMTP (SMTPD-8.22) id A9DE0194; Tue, 06 Feb 2007 07:08:14 -0800

The above is similar to saying,

"You got this email from Joe who lives at 123 Junkmail Rd"

Love,

Your mail carrier

Your mail carrier is the company that is providing you your email so it should look familiar.

STEP 2 - Find the email address of who to complain to.

Here is some intersting data, to me anyways; the Internet is divided into 5 global peices so we want to first find out which peice the spam came from. We do this by first going here: http://www.arin.net/index.shtml

Paste the number obtained in the field above the Search WHOIS* and click Search WHOIS.

A list of information appears about the company who provide the spammer an Internet connection. We are after the email address of where we want to send a complaint. Here is the result I got back, note that I have made red the line we are interested in:

OrgName: Verizon Internet Services Inc. 
OrgID: VRIS 
Address: 1880 Campus Commons Dr 
City: Reston 
StateProv: VA 
PostalCode: 20191 
Country: US 
NetRange: 72.64.0.0 - 72.95.255.255 
CIDR: 72.64.0.0/11 
NetName: VIS-72-64 
NetHandle: NET-72-64-0-0-1 
Parent: NET-72-0-0-0-0 
NetType: Direct Allocation 
NameServer: NS1.BELLATLANTIC.NET 
NameServer: NS2.BELLATLANTIC.NET 
NameServer: NS2.VERIZON.NET 
NameServer: NS4.VERIZON.NET 
Comment: RegDate: 2005-06-24 
Updated: 2005-12-13 
OrgAbuseHandle: VISAB-ARIN 
OrgAbuseName: VIS Abuse 
OrgAbusePhone: +1-214-513-6711 
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@verizon.net 
OrgTechHandle: ZV20-ARIN 
OrgTechName: Verizon Internet Services 
OrgTechPhone: +1-703-295-4583 
OrgTechEmail: IPMGMT@verizon.com # ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2007-02-20 19:10 # Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.

So now I need to send a complaint to Verizon Internet Services Inc. about the spammer.

STEP 3 - Send a complaint.

0) Open your email program if not already open
1) Create a new email and past the email adress you found in step 2 into the TO: field.
2) Make the subject SPAM
3) Paste the below text into it:

Hi,

I received the spam included below. It has been sent using your resources or makes it look as if it originated with you. Please investigate and take the appropriate actions to stop this abuse.
Thanks,
Your Name

--- Full Spam Following ---

 

--- Full Spam Text ---

4) Copy all the text you found in the Details window, where you found the IP address, in Step 1. This will help the ISP isolate who the spammer is. Paste this text underneath ---Full Spam Following---
5) Copy all the information in the spam email itself which could be an advertisement for Viagra or a Stock quote, etc. Paste this under --- Full Spam Text ---
6) That's it. Click Send

MORE DATA

1) Sometimes you enter an IP Address into the ARIN WHOIS Search and you get a result that says:

OrgName: RIPE Network Coordination Centre

This means that you need to search the RIPE WHOIS Search. Here is a list of all the continents.

RIPE - http://www.ripe.net/whois

ARIN - http://www.arin.net/whois

AfriNIC - http://www.afrinic.net (Not much spam comes from Africa)

LACNIC - http://lacnic.net/en

APNIC - http://wq.apnic.net/apnic-bin/whois.pl

2) If the WHOIS search produces some hard to figure out results, just drop it and go to the next spam

3) Please note that you are not contacting the spammer. You are complaing to the ISP of the spammer who will be disconnected from the Internet for their abuse.

4) If you find this information useful, please let others know so they can take part in handling the spammers.

*ISP - Internet Service Provider. A company that provides an Internet connection.
*IP Address - Each machine connected to the Internet has an address known as an Internet Protocol address (IP address). The IP address takes the form of four numbers separated by dots, for example: 123.45.67.890. This address is similar to your home address in the sense that it allows you to send and receive communication.
*WHOIS - An Internet database that provides information on a person or an organization.

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