Spammers adding you to spamtraps?

I got asked a question at work today that had me stumped (although spf might be a solution).
The scenario:- The spammer create a spam email and spoofs the from email address. The From email address is set to be a spamtrap email address – one of the emails that will blacklist your domain if you send email to it.
The email then gets sent out to a million people – several of whom have out of office assistants turned on, and so they reply to say they are out of the office.
The result:- The spamtrap email address gets an email from your domain and your domain gets blacklisted. Your users can’t send emails to valid recipients and spamcop takes forever (12-24 hours on the best of days) to get your machine white listed again.

So my question is – how do you solve this problem or work around it? You need to keep out of office on so that genuine users will know if their email is going to get read or not. I was thinking that possibly spf would work. A user who is likely to check spamcop for blacklists is also likely to check spf records. If you have spf records set, then the spoofed email would not be accepted in the first place…… The only flaw with this is that it relies on both the relay machine AND the recipients to do spf checking – and not a lot of people do that.

I contacted 1&1 the other day to see if I could set up spf records for but they don’t support it on any of their packages – seems a shame, but also seems to be in keeping with their policy of not letting you getting your hands dirty in the real management of the network and making everything gui-ized.

Optout on credit offers

Not sure whether it will do any good, but you can sign up to opt out of credit card offers, loan offers, mortgage stuff and all the other rubbish that gets sent to you as soon as you buy a house by registering with the optout website run by experian and other credit agencies. You can opt out for 5 years online, if you want to permanently optout you have to print a form out and sent it in the post. I guess this is so that most people can’t be bothered to do that and forget after 5 years.
I did try using the phoneline to do this a while back but it uses (allegedly) voice recognition and wouldn’t recognise my name or address. Kristen was getting quite frustrated listening to me trying o say my name and address with an american accent so pulled the phone from me and tried to do it herself, but it wouldn’t accept her pronounciation either.

trackback spam

hmmmm – I’ve just been hit with 234 trackback spams to the blog (and all the associated emails that details). I thought mtblacklist was meant to stop this sort of thing! Anyway, I went to load the pings up and when I went to delete them it came back with an error that said it was not able to load the ping for deletion. But when I went to redo it there were no spammy pings – weird.

We purchased a new (to us) car yesterday and so I’ve spent some time looking at warranty/service packages for the car.
Within an hour of passing my details onto I was starting to get spam to the unique email address I provided them. Stay away from this company. I’ve yet to actually receive the information that I requested from them, but I have been offered $1500 deposited in my account because I might receive temporary financial assistance, and all sorts of other naff stuff. Good job I can bounce the email back in control panel 🙂 I guess I should have checked their privacy policy before submitting my information. Hopefully I won’t get bombarded with telephone calls.

spam from pfizer (benadryl)

I’ve been receiving a lot of spam email from Pfizer (who make Benadryl in the US) after trying to find out where to get Benadryl in the US. They never responded to my email request, their telephone response was incorrect (“we don’t do it over here” is wrong) and now they’ve been sending me marketing emails with unsubscribe links that show how naff their database server is.
It wasn’t until I eventually found an email address for their privacy office AND complained to etrust that I got some action from them to investigate the problems. Apparently they “understand the frustration and would like to help you in
the most efficient way.”
I’ve suggested they do the following:-

  1. Monitor your privacy address so you would have taken action on the request (with forwarded email) I sent on the 2nd Octobe
  2. have working unsubscribe links in a newsletter.
  3. have contact information on your website so that people can contact you to get off if a and b don’t work
  4. Don’t send out emails with a fake/unread return email address

At lunch this afternoon we were talking about how the number of unsolicited calls seems to have dropped since the donotcall list had taken effect on our phone number. Previously we were getting about 4 or 5 calls before lunch and this week we might have had one call and even then we’re not sure if it was related to a previous company that we might have contacted.
Anyway, about 10 minutes after thinking everything was working, there were 2 people standing at the door and were trying to get us to sign up for membership at the local golf company. A joke was made that the donotcall list was working so they were visiting instead.

My first spam at gmail.

Got my first piece of spam delivered to my inbox at gmail today. Not bad in just under a year of use (I signed up 1st July 04). In that time I’ve also not had a false positive either. The only spam that I have had to the email address has been some sort of “working under pressure” mailing list that somehow got my address from somewhere. Seeing as though I am careful about who I give the email address to I know I didn’t sign up for it and it also looks like gmail is more resilient to the mailbombing antics that yahoo and hotmail seem to face.

blacklist worked….

Well it looks like my blacklist worked last night and the night before. Each night, about 8pm I get about 200 hits from about 20 different ip address’s (unfortunately dialups so they change) trying to promote various sick web pages. The past two nights they have been blocked by blacklist. However i’ve not made any changes apart from adding captcha and the log doesn’t say it was denied due to that. What is interesting is that I thought the blacklist would automatically ban ip address’s on repeated spams but it doesn’t seem to have done that. More investigation needed I think!