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grc.com doesn't allow Spamcop email addresses


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I was unable to use my Spamcop email address either when purchasing SpinRite 6 online at http://grc.com/, or when attempting to sign up for product update notifications at http://www.grc.com/mail.htm. The following error was displayed: "The Anti-spam eMail Address you provided is incompatible with automated eMail processing."

I reported this to their support contact, and received the following reply:

Anti-spam eMail Address are incompatible with our automated eMail

processing because whenever eMail is sent to you, eMail is sent back to US

which requires that we manually prove that we're NOT an automated system by

clicking on a specific word in a picture.

But we *ARE* an automated system . . . just one which you WANT to receive

eMail from, NOT a spamming sender.

For this reason, you must provide your actual eMail address if you wish to

receive our occasional eMail updates and notices.  You do have another

"real" address which your ISP gave you, and to which your spam-filtered

eMail is sent.

Lastly, as you already know, you can easily add, remove, or edit your

"custom profile" to specify which sorts of eMail you wish to receive


Thank you for your cooperation, time and patience.



Gibson Research

Technical Support

Does this seem reasonable to you?

I think it's based on a miconception, since my Spamcop email address *is* my

actual email address. It is not a forwarding address. I pay for the

Spamcop email account, and access it directly from my email client by POP3

or IMAP.

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Does this seem reasonable to you?

Nope...they're morons. As Jeff mentioned, SpamCop hasn't offered its users a "challenge/response" offer for a long time, so the Gibson folks are hopelessly out of date and incorrect.

This doesn't surprise me...let me tell you a thing or two about those idiots. First, many years ago, I was using their SpinRite product (they were basically a "one-trick pony" at the time...that was their only product) and they had a big snafu in which they charged my credit card for an upgrade, but didn't ship it, because it wasn't ready yet. They did this to a LOT of people, and then they wouldn't answer their phones, email, etc. I wound up so mad at them that my computer auto-dialer "accidentally" started dialing their 800 number repeatedly. Of course, I stopped when their telco's abuse department traced my calls and contacted me....but I was only trying to reach their Customer Service, I explained...

Then, in recent years, Mr. Gibson has come up with a second "product" -- his "Shields Up!" which was touted some years ago on various computer talk shows and columns. So, wanting to test my computer's vulnerability, I connected to his Shields Up site and ran the test. My security profile was pretty good...most of my ports were fine. However, sometime shortly after visiting his site, my computer became infected with a virus (I forget the name) that only spreads through network connections, and I didn't have a home network at the time. The likely explantion is that hackers were tracking inbound HTTP connections to the Shields Up site and then attacking those IP addresses, which makes sense, in that they'd know that people coming from those IP's were possibly vulnerable.

So, unless you have no other choice, my recommendation is to stay as far away from the Gibson Research folks as possible.


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Other than the oddity of their refusal to accept [at]spamcop.net email addresses, my experiences with GRC have been positive.

I had no problems when purchasing SpinRite 5 (by phone) or SpinRite 6 (online).

I used ShieldsUp numerous times when I was using a dialup modem, and never got hacked or infected. Now that I have DSL, my provider's gateway prevents ShieldsUp from accessing my computer, so that service is no longer useful to me.

I'm not sure how good the support is, since I haven't had much need for it yet.

There may be some issues with SpinRite 6, due to its newness, and lack of documentation. A prospective buyer might want to skim the grc.spinrite newsgoup to see other people's opinions. But I've used SpinRite 6 within the last few days to run diagnostics on several drives. The only issue I encountered was that it gave a warning before scanning the drive on an old (1998) computer; the scan worked, though. And there are limitations in regard to scanning USB drives and RAID drives, so I'll have to temporarily reconect those to normal internal IDE ports in order to scan them.

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I used ShieldsUp numerous times when I was using a dialup modem, and never got hacked or infected.

Of course, with a dialup, your session IP was dynamic and wasn't persistent enough for that to happen. IIRC, I had just started using cable broadband at the time, and it was right after visiting their Shields Up that my computer got hit, so I think it was due to malicious people sniffing packets headed for GRC and then attacking.


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