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No Spam? WTH?


emanmb
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Recently I posted on how I had hoped that in several years of reporting to SC, knujon and others I would have helped stem the tide, no tidal wave, of spam I had been getting, despite the fact that SC doesn't claim to be of help in this matter.

So a month or so ago when I posted, I was basically giving up fwd'ing my spam from my bulk folders and just hitting delete as reporting was taking up too much time and effort for no benefit to me personally. (I'm selfish that way I guess ;) ) I still report what few spams get through the bulk filter.

Now, starting a couple days ago, I found ZERO spams in my bulk folders...NONE! I use ATT who in turn uses Yahoo's email servers. I had noticed a diminishing amount of spam in my free Yahoo account but was still receiving 50+ spams per day for my 2 PAID yahoo accounts (through ATT).

So now, I've been getting zero spams for the last 3 or so days in my paid Yahoo accounts. Is anyone else experiencing this or am I just lucky?

e

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Have you noticed the other topic about /increased/ levels of spam?

Also, since your email is being filtered by yahoo, it may be that whoever tweaks the filters found a new method. Or that you are also missing many legit emails because the filters are so stringent.

Miss Betsy

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So far only one friend is getting bounced as he is (I think) using Clearwire sending email from his email client using an account that is hosted by his website provider Netfirms. In other words, he's sending 3rd party email thru Clearwire which may get it flagged by Yahoo.

I too had noticed in the last few months tons of spam to the point I no longer cared about reporting it. It was just too much.

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...So now, I've been getting zero spams for the last 3 or so days in my paid Yahoo accounts. Is anyone else experiencing this or am I just lucky?
With the multiple levels of filtering going on - with the greater part of the detritus being simply dropped on the floor - we are lucky that even goodmail makes it through. It's all part of an "arms race" I guess - not unlike the artillery Vs armor/armour duel which remains unresolved afer half a millenium. History (and logic) shows armor can never win, but neither can its proponents quit - though individuals can. Those will benefit equally with active participants, in the odd times that protection has its nose in front. Three spam-free days days does not herald a victory, I can guarantee that, I think.

As for what might be perceived as your subtext (no reports, no abuse). Undoubtedly there is a slight risk of being "targeted" associated with SC reporting. At work, I report direct (from my spammed address) to the abuse addresses at the actual sources, totally unmunged. I get more spam than some of those who just delete, I get less spam than others who just delete. I don't think the risk of SC reporting, even unmunged, is that large (while admitting I use munging myself, for SC reports in relation to my home accounts). As in so many things on the internet YMMV which is to say "chaos1 rules".

1(or a reasonable approximation of which)

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Sorry for the confusion, but I didn't mean that I see a connection between my lack or reporting and lack of spam.

Since between Oct and Feb I reported over 4000 spams and had no improvement in the flow of spam. I looked at my knujon stats and saw that around 2% of the sites I reported were taken down. A lot were back up and I needed to re-report them. It was too much.

At that point I gave up, glad at least that Yahoo has a bulk folder that keeps the crap from reaching my email client, yet sad that my efforts had so little effect in terms of my day to day computer life and the internet in general.

We'd all like to have some positive effect (unless ones' evil) on this scourge, and for a long time I felt that my reporting was having a positive effect in some way that would trickle down to me eventually. There was no trickle down for all the effort/time exerted, so for me I hit the wall.

According to an ATT techy last night, Yahoo has patched "a big hole" which is the only connection I see, and my first assumption was that Yahoo/ATT had done "something". My only worry, as you say, is that too many real emails will be filtered as well.

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A year or so, when I began to get snowed under by Yambo & co, I decided to start using my ISP's spam filtering. I was pleased to find that it was quite effective, reducing my daily spam load by 80-90 per cent. So I guess that the ISP filters can indeed be very effective, tho' I'd hesitate to say that zero spam would be a realistic long-term target.

-- rick

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I forgot to touch on the subject on munging that was mentioned, a word when I first encountered it here, I couldn't find the definition of.... Anyway that is another reason reporting became harder as spammers would have some reference to me or my email addy in the email, the subject or where ever and I had to go in there and strip that out...

It grew very old very fast.

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...Anyway that is another reason reporting became harder as spammers would have some reference to me or my email addy in the email, the subject or where ever and I had to go in there and strip that out...

It grew very old very fast.

I can imagine. But, as I said, there is little/no evidence that the common "shotgum" sort of spammers bother to take it to the personal level (wrong "business plan"). Whatever - we each do whatever we're comfortable with in the end, how could it be otherwise? And, hankering for it all to be different/the way it used to be, New from The Tachometers: spam - Leave Me Alone :D
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I forgot to touch on the subject on munging that was mentioned, a word when I first encountered it here, I couldn't find the definition of....

Having started the Glossary, adding in the Dictionary, firing up a Wiki, and the massive efforts from dbiel and a few others to expand the contents and details of these other tools ..... have you ran into this problem since?

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No eventually I found out the meaning but I don't think it was in common (or otherwise) usage back when I joined...or else I just used my computer's dictionary and came up blank.

There's times when you and Miss Betsy can get into some super techy posts that go over my head but then it might be better that way! :)

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No, don't say that! I am the duty 'technically non-fluent' poster!

mung and lart and LOL have been around from almost the beginning of anti-spam efforts, I believe. BF (before forum) I was pointed someplace online by someone in the newsgroup who (like Wazoo) thought that a poster should be able to find things for themselves. I once had it bookmarked so I could understand ng posts.

If you really want to make a difference (the reason I started using spamcop also), you will learn, as I did, the basic concepts of spam fighting. I still have little real technical knowledge, anymore than I can point to a piston in an automobile engine. I do understand the concept of piston engines and I think that I understand the concepts of anti-spam efforts.

IMHO, the reason that spam has not been controlled is that too many technically non-fluent end users like you and me don't understand anti-spam methods and don't demand, as consumers, the best solutions and service. And also demand more moral responsibility from ISPs. I haven't been able to keep up with reputations, but, at one time, trojanned machines on Comcast sent millions of spams and Comcast did nothing to stop them. Comcast knew that if others blocked Comcast, Comcast customers would blame the blockers out of ignorance. I know some Comcast customers and they would be appalled to think that they were supporting an ISP who allowed all that porn to be spewed. If they knew the Comcast policy, they would certainly take their business elsewhere.

It doesn't do much good to report spam through spamcop for yourself if you aren't able to use the spamcop blocklist. It does help those who use the spamcop blocklist.

It would be a big help to reducing spam to manageable levels if more end users realized that it is only the *sending* end that can control spam. The spammers resorted to trojans and botnets because blocklists convinced ISPs to not allow spamming from their mail servers. Now it is only the end user who can influence ISPs to control the trojans and botnets. End users need to know enough technology to avoid getting infected and to choose ISPs who prevent spam from leaving their network via trojans and botnets.

Miss Betsy

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There's times when you and Miss Betsy can get into some super techy posts that go over my head but then it might be better that way! :)

Ouch! The 'too techy' description is normally applied to myself, more normally couched behind the rude, abusive, mean-spirited scenarios. Quite on the other hand, Miss Betsy normally is seen as the other extreme balancing factor, cool, calm, collected replies using plain English to try to explain the issue without doing the 'technical' terminology, descriptions, and definitions.

However you perceive things here, let me offer thanks that you hung in and worked through the responses provided. Much appreciated, feedback provided is great ... wish more folks would offer their thoughts like this more often.

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Sorry Miss Betsy, didn't mean to malign you as a techy! :) Just working from memory of some discussion somewhere in the forums that went over my head.

As with so many subjects dealing w/technologies of one sort or another, one needs to just read the stuff and sure, a lot will be meaningless but eventually something sinks in OR one has at least has seen the terms in use and at some point it may make sense.

I have joined groups like high end scanning groups, large format printing/epson groups just to see what they are talking about and learn what I can since I work in photography and it behooves me to try an absorb some of the terminology. It only takes a few minutes to scan through postings that are relevant to try and expand one's knowledge. I really annoys me when people that I know don't even try to learn more about what they work with everyday, and for some, make money with.

Fortunately most of these folks are on Macs so at least their machines aren't being attacked and turned into zombie machines sending out spams or worse. It makes it easy to realize how folks who choose to follow a similar approach and stay uninformed using another platform can create problems for everyone.

A short update on my ATT/Yahoo accounts... OK I can't say zero spams a day anymore as Yahoo has probably been tweaking their settings, but now I'll get 2-5 a day per account. At this level I report the spams..just in case it helps things.

Eric

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Eric, it's nice to hear you're only getting 2 to 5 spams per day compared to zero because the only time I ended up having absolute zero spam was when someone had figured out my RoadRunner webmail account password and had taken over control of my RR account and was forwarding all my email else where's, so then I had to re-configure my RR email account as well as pick a safer password and that promptly fixed the problem.

As for as my SpamCop account, here's my own 2-cents on it. I used to get 30 to 50 spams per day but after the first 6 months the account had reached between 20 to 30 per day, another 6 months later it reached around 12 to 18 per day, and eventually reduced to a mere few to several per week until the day I had confronted online a couple of crooked webmasters and within 6 hours out of sheer retaliation they instantly spiked my spam right back up to over a dozen a day, nearly every day, which lasted for almost a year until I presume the authorities finally intervened since their spam had abruptly stopped and I never heard from them again. Their signature psychological profile was written all over their spam and so it was quite easy to tell which spams were theirs and which ones weren't. I could even tell when those two bumbling idiots were partying on weekends instead of working at sending out more of their spam. But I had pretty much asked for it. I deliberately DO NOT use my SpamCop.net email address because I know spammers are reluctant to send spam to a SpamCop.net address and I don't mind reporting the spam. However, my biggest complaint is the criminal-minded webmaster mail-servers who continuously ignore all and any SpamCop reports in favor of deliberately letting continuous spam go through their web service.

In getting back to my current situation, around back in November of last year things had finally trickled back down again to a few to several spam per week then all of a sudden it drastically dropped to between none, to 1, or perhaps to 2 per week and I thought perhaps SpamCop had something to do with the reduction because of that notice I had received about using something that had to do with Grey-listing? I forget what it was called exactly but as far as I could tell when I finally got around to looking into it, it seems that I wasn't using it afterall, so then a couple of months later I finally got around to looking into my RR account again and it turns out it was RoadRunner who had tweaked their services for intercepting spam and that explains how come I hardly see anymore spam in my SpamCop account now-a-days, that is, except for perhaps a few or less-than-few per week. I could re-configure my RR account to start letting all the spam reach my SpamCop account but it's been a nice break after spending around a year and half of reporting all those thousands of spams.

Anyhows, just wanted to say again it's nice to know your primary webmail server account wasn't sabotaged like mine had once been.

Tsark out.

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In all truthfullness, I cannot say with any certainty if the reduction in my spam throughout anytime during the past two years were due to my own improve caution upon Internet usage in contrast to the function of SpamCop.net because I, too, like so many other members, have often felt like it's done absolutely no observable good and had made no discernible difference during the vast majority of the times of my reporting spam. At one point it had gotten so ridiculous that I had to inquire to Admin how come so many of the mail-servers consistently cater to the spammers and as I tend to vaguely recall the answer was that SpamCop hands were tied since they don't have the policing powers to go after such servers. However, once in a great while I did get a response from a mail-server informing me and thanking me for submitting a Spamcop report to them and it made my day.

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...However, once in a great while I did get a response from a mail-server informing me and thanking me for submitting a Spamcop report to them and it made my day.
Yes, it's rare these days, so much so that new reporters tend to be alarmed by it when it happens :D . There again, reporting account "Preferences" "Report Handling Options" "Report reply handling" is, I think, defaulted to "Forward only replies from sentient people" - and in that case
SpamCop challenges "administrators" by making them respond to an email to determine if they are people or robots. Only human replies which require action from you are forwarded to your attention by default.
which is a hoop many administrators would decline to jump through.

At work I report directly (not through SC), unmunged from that account and get, maybe, as much as 10% response (though I probably get a higher rate of bounces than that). It is almost all robotic but every now and then it takes the form of confirmation that action has been taken against the spamming account. Of course that may not be truthful, but still ... And the Nemesys (robot) ack is a thing of beauty and the Hanaro one a (rare) jewel beyond compare. Those with moderate reporting volumes could consider changing their preferences IMO.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our unfiltered spam traps have indeed experienced a dramatic reduction in spam over tha past four days. It's actually to the point that I had to check my POP setups to see if they're still working -- they are.

Our average throughput has been between 500 and 800 spams daily since the turn of the century. There have been brief ups and downs, but that's a running average. Our Knujon reports verify that -- until this past weekend.

Today's Knujon upload contains 767. So it's creeping back up.

However, having said that, we believe domain tasting is attributing to an increase in "same spammer" spam, as nearly a third of each day's spam is either directly or indirectly originating from the "Herbal Remedies" spammer in China selling male enhancement products. We've detected and identified as many as 125 different domains used in any given 24 hours by the SAME spammer. Last week we had 68 identical spams with the only difference being a nonsensical domain which changed only one or two letters. The culprit: Canadian Pharmacy.

We believe if ICANN would end domain tasting, the world would see an immediate 30% reduction in spam.

Keep posting.

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