Archive for January, 2007

Evil Spammers

Jan 3rd, 2007

In the past twelve hours I have recieved over two hundered E-mails, the vast majority of which are spam. Many of these were ‘bounced’ messages, that is they were returned to me because they couldn’t reach their destination. So why is this, do I have a virus?

Well no, especially as my computer is currently at the other end of the UK and unplugged from the mains. I also have sensible internet security measures, keep software patched, have up to date virus checkers and firewalls, and can recognise suspicious E-mail attatchments a mile off. However there probably is someone infected with spyware somewhere, and that person has subled across either this site, and E-mail from me, or somewhere else where the jaspsplace.co.uk domain is mentioned. That piece of spyware then took this address, stuck lots of random letters before the @ and then pretended to be me and sent lots of messages out.

Some of those messages didn’t reaqch their target, including one amazing person who has somehow managed to fill their gmail inbox. One message I recieved contained the following:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

*****.*****@gmail.com

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: Mail quota exceeded

As Google offer 2800MB of space, this is a very popular person.

But what riles me most is the messages which got through, with peopl who don’t understand the net now thinking jaspsplace.co.uk is a spammer. Fortunately this shouldn’t extend to my webhost, but there will still be the odd few cursing my name.

But sadly there is little I can do about it. I am going to set my webhost to reject all mail, except that to pre-defined addresses, but that will only stop the bounced messages, not the actual messages themselves. Unfortunately the current mail sysem offers no way of verifying the origin of messages, or at least no way that is universaly used. Plus in rejecting anything but pre-verifyed targets, I’m bound to forget one of the genuine addresses I set up on some obscure server, although as these were mostly used to avoid possible future mailings perhaps no harm will be done.

Edited to add: I’ve been doing a bit of searching and it appears that the originator is a member of the US marines, or is within their network anyway. I imagine its a problem with spyware, rather than the spammer him/herself, as frankly you’d have to be a complete idiot to use your employers resources to send spam E-mail. (Especially if that employer is part of the US forces)

Extra edit: Turns out I overexagerated the bounced messages slightly. The contents of the Spam folder itself was common or garden spam.