cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Vulgar spam mail

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,052
Thanks: 27
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Vulgar spam mail

I have been extremely fortunate until now. I have never had a problem with Spam mail, probably by taking simple precautions. However, I have been "hit" with a particularly coarse spam advertisement for a pill which I expect anyone who has been a victim of the same attack would instantly recognise without my going into vulgar details.
At present, I am successfully dealing with it by setting up a "rule" in Outlook to delete them. I get about 20 per day, all advertising the same thing, but of course from different addresses. But the embedded link is always the same, and therefore it is easy to set up a "rule".
But I do not particularly want to have to start employing major anti-spam prevention software unless it really becomes necessary. I suspect that this particular attack - and it is limited to only this one topic - may be some sort of prank or sick joke, a bit like a virus.
Has anyone any other suggestions. I hope that in due course it will run out of steam and disappear, but until then, the Outlook "Rules wizard" is coping adequately with it. But it must block up resources on the Plusnet servers.
I also want to ensure that I am not innocently perpetuating or spreading the problem myself by unwittingly distributing it. Any worries on that score ?
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Sad
19 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Welcome to the world of spam.

It may not be specific targeting but just your address now being included in an address book that spam companies use and email addresses can be picked up in hundreds of ways on the internet - often through harvestor bots that scan web sites and message boards for email addresses. You may also have been included in a hit and miss approach where common names are used with known domain names in the hope they will hit a correct email address.

Rules based spam blocking tend not to work over time due to the way the spam and it's contents constantly change. Even the big players in spam filtering are never 100% accurate in removing spam and they employ extreamly complex methods to identify and filter it.

There are a number of spam blockering and filtering apps around - mailwasher is one that often crops up - which you may want to look at but removing spam is never going to be 100% successful. - Note if you do use a spam blocker, never bounce the message back to the sender, this will be spoofed so you only increase the spam going around and include other parties that were not involved.
N/A

Vulgar spam mail

Spam is always a problem and certainly takes up a lot of resources on the Net, slowing it down.
Obviously you have taken good precautions to try and avoid it.
However, make sure you have a good virus scanner with up to date definition files, I recommend McAfee.
Also, download the free Lavasoft Adaware and run this from time to time to check your disks for spyware. http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
Lastly, some of these spam mails can have "notify sender" tags to them. This means that when you recieve the mail, it sends a receipt notification back to the sender so they then know you exist. This mainly happens when you open or read the message. So never open one of these spam messages.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,052
Thanks: 27
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Thanks folks for both your comments.

Quote
never bounce the message back to the sender


Do I understand this correctly ? Are these "senders" in fact random names taken from someone's address book and automatically forwarding them without knowing it, or is someone registering himself repeatedly with different ISPs and bombarding people with this spam using a distribution list ?

Quote
Also, download the free Lavasoft Adaware and run this from time to time to check your disks for spyware


I actually set my cookies to high and only allow specified domains access. I export my important cookies to a file and then every week, I delete all my cookies and re-import my sanitised cookies from the back-up. That way I hope that I keep my system free of spyware and last time I used Lavasoft Adaware, it found nothing.

Quote
it sends a receipt notification back to the sender so they then know you exist.

But your above comment makes me conscious of some strange messages which I have been receiving lately - very short emails containing an attachment and comments like "The file attached as promised" or "Read the attachment carefully". They look just like viruses to me and so I always delete without opening (although curiosity is desparate to open them in case ......... but so far I have resisted the temptation). What has surprised me is that my anti-virus software has not picked them up, whereas usually the anti-virus software is absolutely ace and protected me from everything. It is working and is up to date and in fact caught two viruses today.

But, maybe these other attachments are not viruses at all as such, but "read receipts" of some sort for the purpose you have indicated. That would explain why the anti-virus software is not picking it up as a virus. What do you think ?

Thanks again
N/A

Vulgar spam mail

Spammers use large distribution lists, that constantly grow from techniques used to test if the to address is valid.

They then take a random address from this list, and use it for the from address.

This means, if you reply or bounce the e-mail, the you are only sending to another inocent party.

Thats why spammer love this game. They can send e-mail upon e-mail, without having any comeback.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Vulgar spam mail

If you are unsure of the origin of any email don't open it, just delete it. If it is important then there will be other means for the sender to contact you. Certainly don't reply to any or click any links in the email.

Spammers spoof the senders email address so they cannot be traced.

No virus scanner is 100% accurate and new viruses are appearing every day so it's not surprising some get through. Also virus scanners don't filter/delete spam. If the email contains spam but no virus, the scanner will do nothing with it. This is wht tere are spam blockers/checkers around like mailwasher.

For your cookie issue, use Spybot search & destroy. This allows you to select which cookies to keep and will delete the rest. See General: Essential Security software for links to various packages. It is also important to keep virus defs up to date.
N/A

Vulgar spam mail

Quote
But, maybe these other attachments are not viruses at all as such, but "read receipts" of some sort for the purpose you have indicated.


You don't have to open the attachment, just open the email and a return reciept can be sent.
Attachments from someone you do not know should always be viewed as suspicious. Depending on the virus software and the type of attachment, not all of these attachments will be detected as virii when downloading, only when opening the attachment.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,052
Thanks: 27
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Quote
just open the email and a return reciept can be sent.


Thanks again. Does viewing email in the preview pane count as opening the email (as opposed to the attachment) ? In other words, does a read receipt get sent even from the preview pane ? If that is the case, it would be advisable presumably not to use the preview facility in Outlook which would be a nuisance, but I suspect that it might be wise to turn it off.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Outlook express always asks if you want to send a read receipt which you can decline.

Viewing in the preview pane is the same and viewing normally.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Ok here's how I have beaten the massive amount of spam that I used to recieve..

1. I set up named mailboxes for myself and other family members.
2. I set up outlook express to only collect froim these mail boxes.
3. I sent out a mail to all in my address book (after weeding out unknown addresses) informing them that my mail address had chaned to mailboxname@usernmme etc and that I would not be replying to the old address. In my case john@username etc
4. set up a diversion using the email settings so that any mail that is addressed to john@username etc now goes to abuse@blackhole.plus.com
5 download and use mailwasher to see what is waiting to be downloaded and delete if it is spam.

Since doing the above I am now pretty well spam free and where I used to delete several hundred every week ffom my default box its now only the odd one.
N/A

Vulgar spam mail

It depends on the system in use.
For corporate email, two methods can be employed : 1/ Simply reaching the server 2/ Opening the Email.
For PlusNet POP3 mail, you will have to open the mail. I think that previewing is OK and does not trigger a return receipt.
SMTP would be a different matter and collection may trigger a return receipt.

Viewing the mail via Webmail does not generate a return receipt.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,052
Thanks: 27
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Vulgar spam mail

I have now turned off read receipts - reluctantly, because it is giving in to these brainless idiots; just another feature that cannot be used due to vandalism. Read receipts have always been useful as an audit trail in my work, but not any more.

I have looked into mailwasher, and I don't really see any difference between mailwasher and doing the same thing in webmail. Is there actually any practical difference ?

At present, I go directly into webmail once a day and delete at source this particularly offensive advertisement , which I get twenty times a day, before using Outlook to synchronise with the pop3 server; so far it is the only one I get. I then double up on that successfuly by using the rules wizard to delete any more that I get in the interim.

My problem is not as great as many people's but I fear that I am seeing just the tip of the iceberg, and that it is about to become a more serious problem. I suspect that I am going to have to follow John Essex's advice - again at great inconvenience to all concerned. It means they've won.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Vulgar spam mail

Quote
I have looked into mailwasher, and I don't really see any difference between mailwasher and doing the same thing in webmail. Is there actually any practical difference ?


The main gain I got from mailwasher was at the stage before I set up the mailboxes etc. I could then see what was lurking on the server and delete the rubbish so I only actually downloaded genuine mail.
This had the effect that I have never downloaded a virus ridden mail once I started using mailwasher. It also marks known sources as spam.

Before that a had loads of spam mail complete with virusis actually reaching my computer. Fortunately my anti virus software would detect then but I think it's much better that they never even get as far as my PC>
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Vulgar spam mail

I see no reason why you can't continue using read receipts - i do. Whenever an email requests to send a read receipt, you are asked if you want to send one, you just say no to those you don't want a receipt sent to. The email can't send a read receipt without your permission so you control what happens, not the email.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Vulgar spam mail

The one thing that always amazes me with this type of spam - whats the point in them doing it? Do they really think that the amount of time and effort they put into spamming people will result in people going out of thier way to buy stuff off them? I just cant imagine how they manage to get anything from it, unless they do it simply to annoy people.

Im lucky in the fact I rarely recieve spam, most of that which I do recieve is from companies who consider themselves to be semi repultable and remove me from their lists. Those that don't - I mail bomb them.

Fortunatly I don't get any of this type of spam cos I know the addresses are usually spoffed and a mailbomb will only make it worse for everyone.

Chris