At 11:25 AM 9/9/2002 -0700, Tony Karavidas wrote:
>What a small world! :)

Indeed. The return address given in the "complaint" mail was on a server in 
Beijing, if it was legitimate. However, as was correctly observed, the 
source of the mail was, from the headers, a server for Kollmorgen. As it 
happens, the Electro Optical division of Kollmorgen is located in 
Northampton, MA, a few minutes from where I sit at this moment. I think 
this is the home of the original Norden bombsight. But the server may be 
located in Worcester.

The original complaint/threat I found interesting:

> >If this waste of our resources does not cease immediately, please be advised
> >that we may activate the Revenge(tm) program for this user. Revenge would
> >automatically sign this user up for almost 300 mailing lists to provide a
> >graphic illustration of what it's like to receive unwanted junk e-mail.

This, of course, was complete idiocy, since a real spammer will not care 
one bit about mailbombing; but such action definitely can cause a lot of 
damage to innocent third parties, starting with the managers of the mailing 
lists who would be forced to deal with the mess. A legitimate mailer -- 
which includes all of us writing on this list -- is vulnerable. That's 
nice, isn't it, punish the innocent while leaving the real offenders unharmed.

Perhaps we will learn the real story behind this affair, through the 
contact at Kollmorgen.

Anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make some suggestions about spam.

(1) Responding to spam is counterproductive. If it is not really spam, 
i.e., it is a reputable company which has somehow gotten you on a list, 
maybe you bought something from an affiliate, it is fine to reply and ask 
to be removed. But a real spammer, you know, BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY, HERBAL 
off a list, more likely you will be added to a list of confirmed addresses 
and resold. This is why laws providing for opt-out registration are not 
only not going to work, they may actually help the spammers, because any 
opt-out system can be used to confirm that addresses are valid! So the best 
response is no response.

Yes, it is frustrating.

(2) If you really want to do something about spam, look into I 
see now that is now forwarding to for the 
SpamKiller product, which I think automates the complaint process, i.e., 
filing complaints with the ISP of the spammer. With most ISPs, a single 
complaint, properly filed, results in the cancellation of the spammer's 
account. There are a few rogue ISPs, increasingly isolated.

Every so often, I am sufficiently outraged by a piece of spam that I walk 
through the process and complain to the ISP. The response has typically 
been that, for example, the web site being advertised went down immediately 
for violation of terms of use.

Directly retaliating can be very much a bad idea, because, what with 
spoofing, one may well be punishing the innocent, perhaps even 
accomplishing the spammer's primary purpose, i.e., to attack the spoofed 

However, I did receive, recently, a pop-up instant message. I didn't even 
know that I had instant messaging enabled on my W2000 system. I suspect the 
message-spammer was simply broadcasting to random IP addresses; the same 
message popped up on two systems on my network. Anyway, I installed and set 
Zone Alarm to refuse outside attempts to access the message server, and 
then I called the toll-free number listed in the message. It was a recorded 
message from, yes, the spammer. So I put the phone on hold. It was a long 
time before the line dropped ... every so often I picked up, and, yes, the 
message was still playing.... perhaps I should have thanked the guy for 
pointing out the security hole....

* Tracking #: D9B8D80DFD64424C9B5CCB4DB8EBE3963C4C4C85

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