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MikeJT

Amazing reduction in Spam

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My spam rate still at a low and tolerable level.

What I plan to do do now is start reporting again and see what happens!!!!

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...What I plan to do do now is start reporting again and see what happens!!!!
Thanks MikeJT - that will be interesting, a necessary test approaching a "double blind" procedure. If it does increase, could you just confirm your reporting procedure? Email application(s) used, viewing preferences, submission method, munged/unmunged should cover it. Thinking here at what point in the reporting process the spamsources are tipped off to your specific address if that seems to be the case.

[if there's a specific "flavor" of spam featuring in your reporting mix that might be worth mentioning as well - a Tracking URL if you think so.]

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My spam rate still at a low and tolerable level.

Mike, what luck you have had!

Half way through the month of not reporting and I'm on track for a record level of spam (3715 so far). No real change during the month except the idiot at 202.54.1.149 that thinks after 117 copies of virus W32.Sality.U the 118th copy would get through.

Although I'm not counting them, the number of refinance ("Your credit rating doesn't matter to us"), HGH and loose weight spam do seem to be up. With the change in online gambling payment laws I sure wish I had been counting the spam from casinos etc. Oh well.

Edited by Lking

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Mike, what luck you have had!

OK, since I have started reporting spam again, have a feeling that the numbers are up again, but at this stage too early to say, I will give it a week.

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OK, since I have started reporting spam again, have a feeling that the numbers are up again, but at this stage too early to say, I will give it a week.

Absolutely meaningless....spam volume fluctuates widely over relatively short periods of time, and also over long periods. What's going on in this thread is entirely "anecdotal evidence" and is not at all scientific. And none of the experimentation reported here has been truly "double blind" or at all scientific, folks.

MikeJT arrived in these forums very recently, apparently with a "Just Hit Delete" mindset firmly in place (go and read his first few posts in the "Is it really doing any good?, We keep reporting and reporting, but.." thread. I think he had started a topic of his own, but it got merged into that thread due to the subject matter. Then he started this topic, without actually giving *any* specifics...just vague references to the "same sources" sending him spam, etc.

Now, we don't know if MikeJT has any unspoken agenda or not, but if I were a spammer myself, I might want to undermine the efforts of those who are actively working against me, and SpamCop certainly qualifies there. I might join an anti-spam forum (being welcomed without any questions) and try to convince the active spam reporters (fighters) there to stop interfering with spammers, but I'd have to do it in a way that didn't reveal my true intent. The "Just Hit Delete" argument has been used by spam proponents frequently over the years, but it's inherently flawed, in that unless you can get *everyone in the world* to JHD, spammers will actually *increase* their spew in order to be sure that they reach those few who are gullible. Joe and Jane Sixpack aren't going to know any better, nor are all those idiots who constantly forward all the Urban Legends around to everyone in their circle of contacts. They'll keep being stupid and get fooled by phishers, by pharma spammers, by Nigerian scammers, etc., etc.

Bottom line: regardless of the effect (real or otherwise) on your *individual* spam levels, there needs to be a lot MORE reporting going on to keep up the pressure on ISPs to take action against spews they are responsible for. If any one individual tires of the reporting, fine, JHD, but most of us here are well aware that untill ISPs and governments get better at stopping and punishing spammers, then it's up to the collective spam fighting community to redouble their efforts at fighting the spew. spam fighting is not a selfish activity, it's "self-less," as in "one for all and all for one" (on a larger scale than the Musketeers). We report in order to have a negative impact on the sources of spam, both through ISPs who responsibly deal with those reports and through the SCBL. Others do that elsewhere, or on their own, and it's a complementary, cumulative effort.

Another flaw in the "logic" of this whole topic is that the SpamCop system sends the reports not directly to spammers, but rather to their ISPs (unless the spammers are the ISPs themselves) and that techniques are used to hide the true identity and email addresses of the person doing the reporting ("munging" etc.). Why would that result in increased spam sent to an individual reporter? Has anyone brought up this point in this thread, and perhaps I missed it?

This thread has little more than entertainment value, and not much of that (it's in the Lounge, after all). It shouldn't serve to convince *anyone* one way or the other about the effects of reporting spam.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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Bottom line: regardless of the effect (real or otherwise) on your *individual* spam levels, there needs to be a lot MORE reporting going on to keep up the pressure on ISPs to take action against spews they are responsible for.

This "MORE" reporting will only occur when individuals such as myself (and there are lot of us "individuals" out here) are convinced that reporting spam has some tangible impact!!! A simple concept isn't it?

The sort of ravings put forward by DT have the opposite effect..... I am now even more inclined to just hit the "Junk" button and leave this spam mess to people like DT who seem to get off on this sort of nonsense.

Something a bit more constructive/supportive etc. from people like DT would go a ot further.

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Sorry if I hurt you feelings....hope you don't wear out that "Junk" button, *or* your delete key. :P

And to save others time, here's a quote from one of MikeJT's first posts here, shortly before he began this topic:

I think in the end that reporting spam has little, if any effect......if we TOTALLY ignore spam (even reporting via Spamcop), just consign it to the trash can, this in effect negates any effort put in by spammers, they will soon get the message.

Not bloody likely, as our friends from the UK might say.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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...Something a bit more constructive/supportive etc. from people like DT would go a ot further.
DavidT is quite correct to point out that there is no "scientific" basis from which to interpret the reported observations. By the same token, his "hypothesis" is no less outrageous to the principle of the orderly investigation of causation than your own, except he's not afraid to hurt your feelings (his own being somewhat offended already by the possibility of undue - and couterproductive from the "received wisdom" view - credence being given to an untested assertion). He has apologised to you (if he hadn't I would have suspected he was a translocated Yorkshireman, not that there's anything wrong with Yorkshiremen - except for Geoffrey-bloody-Boycott).

We're at the "reported phenomenon" stage right now and you are testing the "reverse" angle of the observations. The scientific approach is all about the identification and control of the variables. We haven't even started on that yet, which is why I made some requests (if spam levels do increase) a few posts ago. (If DavidT's hypothesis was right you would, of course, ignore those requests.) When we understand the variables a little more we can start to form hypotheses. Only then. And they must be testable but not necessarily exclusive, given the possibility of multiple contributing causes. And yes, your experiment in reporting again has value. If there's no increase in your spam levels that immediately tells us your reporting process - of the sort of spam you handle, through your ISP and your mail accounts, on your computer and software (configured as it is) sending the sort of SC reports you do - is (probably) not a factor.

You advise that you have maintained low levels of received spam and this has been for longer than any "here" expected from their own experience (not exactly scientific but it demonstrates an excursion from the casual expectation). If there is an increase with the resumption of reporting, the real work begins. Others (well, Lking) are investigating quantitative measures already. At the end of it, if there is a verifiable "MikeJT effect", we will all know better how to minimize the average weekly earnings of your average spamster. Personally, I see no rush. I am reasonably certain the spammers aren't going to go away anytime soon, they make excellent lab rats though less likeable.

Yes, people are going to doubt and the only way to prove the point is to work through it. You may not need to prove it - this is Liberty Hall - but others might benefit.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

00:06

Curioser and curioser …

Pondering whether there could be a direct relationship between rates of spam reporting to SC and rates of spam received by an individual is an interesting muse; but how the dickens could that happen? With my limited understanding of how SC works, I have no idea how one would go about teasing out the info that would be probative. On the bare face of it, and overall, I think it does make some sense to assume the more spam an account gets, the greater likelihood more spam will get reported based on the greater impetus to report it. The “Squeeky Wheel” phenomenon, or the “Chicken or the Egg” paradox.

Since the week of June 18.06, I've been making notes on my spam load. Prior to then, I was getting about 10-35 a week spread over 3 email accounts. Fortunately, those numbers reflect a ‘normalization’ after a major SOB finally stopped his plague of Porn spam back in January, and reflect a consistency that pertained to the 4 ½ months from about Feb. 1 until June 18.

When I realized this creep was finally out of my life, I began to look at the other spam. Before then, I pretty much considered it ‘static’ and was indifferent about bothering to report it.

In mid June I began a regimen of reporting all spam religiously and as fast as it came in. My average reporting time is 1 hour and that is inflated by the previous regimen of reporting thousands which were often left for 6-12 hours in my inbox.

Below is a [link to] a screenshot of my rather crude stat gathering since June 18. The gaps reflect a week when my Thunderbird crashed (I d/loaded the “Okopipi” extension and ‘kablooey’).

Three significant and objective factors can be cited.

1. In June, I began reporting all spam within 2 hours; 95% under 1 hour.

2. During the weeks of July 16 and 28-Sept-3, I made a bad. I “went for” the delete button while 4-5 spam were highlited in my spam folder and hit “Enter” instead. I recovered in less than 2 secs, and my “Mark as Read” offset is at 10 seconds; but there you go. It could have given “hits” to the spammers and the flub must be noted.

3. Without exception, for 14 months, the account “Home” (default account) has been used exclusively to receive email and report spam to SC. No email has gone out to other recipients during that time, nor has the address been provided by me to anyone for any reason.

Bear in mind, I’m contributing this just for it’s anecdotal value; not to make a point. Mayhap some others keep similar notes and might have an interest in comparing.

The top Spreadsheet covers 3 email accounts: Home, BBMS and W0W.

The lower S/S covers the daily for one acount: Home.

http://img213.imageshack.us/my.php?image=spamreportstq4.png

Edited by rooster

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A phone call from an old Army buddy caused me to wander over and take a look at a long dormant Yahoo e-mail account. As I haven't bothered to look at it in over six months, (basically trying to enter that site, pull up the Yahoo IM, etc. all managed to crash my main system) one would think that by some of the preceding 'documentation' that the spam would have slowed to a mere trickle. Not even close ... three actual 'good' e-mails seen, 70+ spam that made it into the InBox, 1800+ in the Junk folder ... no where close to a 'trickle' ..... repeat, that account has had zero reporting against it as it hasn't even been looked at.

Stated many times before all over the place, almost all of my reporting is done manually, as the SpamCop.net tool-set doesn't go to near enough depth for me. And again, based on the majority of the preceding commentary, one would think that I'd be totally awash from some of those other accounts that I do monitor and report from/about .... Having a hard time convincing myself that not reporting from/about them would result in anything different from that long-ignored Yahoo account .... but hey, I was 'complaining' long before Julian developed and offered up his 'automated' tool-set ....

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The opposite side of the coin to Wazoo's experience..... I have another email address, different ISP, different country to the one I have ben reporting above. I use it occassionally (perhaps to date 5 - 6 emails) to send an email to friends. After one year not one spam... zero, nothing!!!

Do I register this email with SC and see what happens? I think this may be a good "test"?

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

01:19

Wazoo;

Not even close ... three actual 'good' e-mails seen, 70+ spam that made it into the InBox, 1800+ in the Junk folder ... no where close to a 'trickle' ..... repeat, that account has had zero reporting against it as it hasn't even been looked at.
It must make you wonder, though; where the heck are the spammers getting those email addresses?

If anything can be deduced from the spreadsheets I inserted it would be the lengths to which some of us (mostly idiots and recovering accountants) will go to find something, anything, to clue us in to some pattern or correlate to account for the numbers of spam. 1870+ spam in 6 months to a mordent Yahoo! email account would drive me nuts if it were mine.

Are the corn harvesters making too much racket during the day for you to get any work done, or are you a night-owl? Come to think of it, the harvest is long ere past; so you must have a new baby. Or...

Not even close ...

Happy trails,

Edited by rooster

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The opposite side of the coin to Wazoo's experience..... I have another email address, different ISP, different country to the one I have ben reporting above. I use it occassionally (perhaps to date 5 - 6 emails) to send an email to friends. After one year not one spam... zero, nothing!!!

I have several "no spam" that amounts to anything, but I also believe that most of that is due to ISP filtering (and dropping it on the floor)

Do I register this email with SC and see what happens? I think this may be a good "test"?

I'm not sure I understand "register it with SC" ...????

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After one year not one spam... zero, nothing!!!

Do I register this email with SC and see what happens? I think this may be a good "test"?

I be thinking we're supposed to have only one account ... besides; if there is no spam coming in, what would you report?

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I be thinking we're supposed to have only one account ... besides; if there is no spam coming in, what would you report?

Register, and see if the spam starts....

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I be thinking we're supposed to have only one account ... besides; if there is no spam coming in, what would you report?

I try to restrict the accounts in the Forum to one per user .... the Reporting side of the house is another whole issue ..... I've got my original account from way, way back ... then had to generate another one to figure the MailHost Configuration thing out (basically dropped as that does not allow testing of someone else's spam submittals) .... then had to generate another to work with the ISP account scenario .... historically, you had some folks buying the 'fuel' type account, but they would also use a 'free' account to conserve fuel, only using the 'fuel' account to use some of the benefits of that paid account .....

Register, and see if the spam starts....

As stated, this sounds like the accusation that 'spamcop sells your address" .. which is a load of crap ...

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As stated, this sounds like the accusation that 'spamcop sells your address" .. which is a load of crap ...

That's one hell of a leap.... I was thinking nothing of the kind. Now I am. Why are you guys so sensitive? I am only suggesting a simple "test" from my perspective.

If things were a little more friendly/supportive around here... especially rom fellows such as yourself... you may get a lot of ordinary folk such as myself on side, and as stated by someone else, masses of people eporting may do some good!!!

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That's one hell of a leap.... I was thinking nothing of the kind.

Then *what* exactly were you thinking? If that account doesn't receive any spam, what good would it do to register it for spam reporting? Wazoo's "leap" was perfectly logical, if not necessarily what you meant, but instead of responding by revealing what you had it mind, you complain. Hmmmmm...

masses of people eporting may do some good!!!

Have you take a look at the running stats available here about how many spams are being reported? Here's a link:

http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...&page=stats

According to the weekly stats, over 9 MILLION were reported by SC users over the last 7 days. Doesn't that represent "masses of people"?

DT

Edited by DavidT

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That's one hell of a leap.... I was thinking nothing of the kind. Now I am. Why are you guys so sensitive? I am only suggesting a simple "test" from my perspective.

If things were a little more friendly/supportive around here... especially rom fellows such as yourself... you may get a lot of ordinary folk such as myself on side, and as stated by someone else, masses of people eporting may do some good!!!

Server admins are really suspicious guys - they have to have that kind of mindset to ferret out the 'bad' guys who are continually trying to exploit their servers. Don't take it personally.

They also tend to 'discover' new ideas by arguing/debating. Perhaps that's why I like the forum and ngs. Defending one's position against other arguments either strengthens one's position by adding new arguments or gets one to rethink - not necessarily to be persuaded to the other viewpoint, but perhaps change course slightly.

I am interested to see what happens with your 'test' - as someone pointed out it is not scientific enough for 'proof' but then people swore up and down that using hot water for ice cubes froze faster than cold water and although it scientifically doesn't, there is a scientific reason why they think so.

It is not so much that masses of people reporting that will do the good. It is the masses of people who understand that blocklists are the best weapon against spam that will change the tide. spamcop is but one blocklist out of many. If the masses were to demand blocklists, there might be more blocklists that worked even better for the average end user.

Miss Betsy

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Below is a [link to] a screenshot of my rather crude stat gathering since June 18.

I could use a little clarification regarding your spreadsheet...I'm not entirely sure what all the columns represent. You wrote that prior to the start date of 18 June, that you were "getting about 10-35 a week spread over 3 email accounts" and yet in the tables, I see a "Total" of 351 for the first week...is that the total emails received (both good and bad) across the three accounts? What is meant by the "X-PLICIT" column? Sorry if I'm being a bit dense.

In June, I began reporting all spam within 2 hours; 95% under 1 hour.

I don't think that the immediacy of a reporting action should have any effect on the issue at hand. The primary good that quick reporting does is to make it possible for the source IPs to get listed on the SCBL sooner, thus protecting many thousands (millions?) of others from receiving those spams, assuming that the "spam run" is continuing from that source.

During the weeks of July 16 and 28-Sept-3, I made a bad. I “went for” the delete button while 4-5 spam were highlited in my spam folder and hit “Enter” instead. I recovered in less than 2 secs, and my “Mark as Read” offset is at 10 seconds; but there you go. It could have given “hits” to the spammers and the flub must be noted.

Are you saying that you're "living dangerously" by allowing Thunderbird to load remote images when opening email messages? I strongly suggest that you consider activating the following useful option:

Options: Privacy: General: Block loading of remote images

I wouldn't touch an email program that didn't offer that important feature, and wouldn't dream of allowing my program to "phone home" to spammers or any other marketers unless I specifically tell it to do so (by clicking on an "Allow" button once the message is open, or by allowing the function for incoming messages from addresses in my Address Book). My Pegasus software has the same feature, and I think that even the stuff from Micro$loth does that now.

Without exception, for 14 months, the account “Home” (default account) has been used exclusively to receive email and report spam to SC. No email has gone out to other recipients during that time, nor has the address been provided by me to anyone for any reason.

OK, that's *part* of the history of the Home address, but prior to the last 14 months, if you *ever* gave it out, or sent any mail to anyone from that address, all bets are off, because your address would probably be sitting on the computers of third parties (friends, strangers, etc.) whose computers could be compromised at any moment, not only as zombies sending spam either To or From your address, but also by "phoning home" to the spammers and giving them your address.

Theoretically, an address that's kept absolutely "secret," and that has never been used in outgoing mail of any kind shouldn't receive spam, but I signed up for a gMail account and it received spam despite my not sending mail to anyone....but this factoid isn't a propos to the topic at hand.

Thanks in advance for further clarification as requested above, and by all means, consider activating that important option in your Thunderbird. Had you done so previously, there would be little chance that Thunderbird would have "given 'hits' to the spammers."

DT

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Theoretically, an address that's kept absolutely "secret," and that has never been used in outgoing mail of any kind shouldn't receive spam, but I signed up for a gMail account and it received spam despite my not sending mail to anyone....but this factoid isn't a propos to the topic at hand.

any address that can be guessed by dictionary spammers can receive spam - particularly one that could have been used and discarded by someone else who wasn't so careful.

having my address on other people's computers is the way I started receiving spam after a couple of years of no spam.

Miss Betsy

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any address that can be guessed by dictionary spammers can receive spam - particularly one that could have been used and discarded by someone else who wasn't so careful.

Yes, I'm aware of the existence of "dictionary spam," having had a catch-all on a domain at one time, but my Gmail address is 14 characters long and not a word in any dictionary on earth. I see that in the last 30 days, 157 spam items have gone into my Gmail spam folder and so I suspect other reasons for those showing up, such as those similar to the security issues that have plagued AOL (one of their employees sold the whole user address database to spammers...several times!).

DT

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Yes, I'm aware of the existence of "dictionary spam," having had a catch-all on a domain at one time, but my Gmail address is 14 characters long and not a word in any dictionary on earth. I see that in the last 30 days, 157 spam items have gone into my Gmail spam folder and so I suspect other reasons for those showing up, such as those similar to the security issues that have plagued AOL (one of their employees sold the whole user address database to spammers...several times!).

One other reason could be if you used Google page creator to create a site. Your Gmail address is imbedded in the site URL and can be harvested from there.

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One other reason could be if you used Google page creator to create a site. Your Gmail address is imbedded in the site URL and can be harvested from there.

Aha....I think you get the prize. I *did* do that as a test, but didn't link or publish it anywhere. None of the text on my sample page comes up normal Google phrase searches, so is there some sort of browseable (harvestable) directory of "Google Pages" somewhere? Otherwise, I'm not clear how spammers could have found it and added "[at]gmail.com" to the username.

DT

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Aha....I think you get the prize.

Why can't I win something I really want? ;)

I *did* do that as a test, but didn't link or publish it anywhere. None of the text on my sample page comes up normal Google phrase searches, so is there some sort of browseable (harvestable) directory of "Google Pages" somewhere? Otherwise, I'm not clear how spammers could have found it and added "[at]gmail.com" to the username.

I have not seen any directory of Google pages yet. It's always possible to search using inurl:googlepages.com and parse the resulting pages for addresses - does your site come up through that? (The search returns 'about 529,000' results, so finding yours might take a while.)

Edit - You can also try site:googlepages.com and search through the 'about 144,000' results for your site.

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