Electronic Spamming

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November 6, 2014
January 5, 2016
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Electronic Spamming

What is Spam?

Spam is irrelevant, inappropriate or unwanted messages sent on the Internet to a large number of people.

What types of Spam are there?

  • Email Spam
  • Messaging Spam
  • NewsGroup Spam
  • Forum Spam

Email Spam

Email spam is the most popular and annoying type of spam. Email spam is the practice of sending unwanted email messages, commonly with commercial content, in big quantities to a large number of people. Email spam today is more frequently sent via “zombie networks” ,which are networks of worm-infected computers in homes and offices all over the world. The way this works is the worm installs a backdoor that always the spammer to access the computer and use it for malicious purposes.

What are the Email Spam Techniques being used?

Email Appending: This is when a marketer has a database of names and addresses and he matches it with an external database thus giving him the ability to send emails to people who haven’t requested emails.

Image Spam: This is a method in which the text of the message is stored as a GIF or JPEG image. This prevents text-based spam filters from locating and blocking spam messages.

Backscatter Spam: This is a side-effect of email spam, viruses and worms. This is where email servers that are receiving spam send bounce messages (a message that failed to send) to an innocent party.

How do they get my email address?

  • Lots of the time when you are browsing the internet you’ll come across popups that say “congratulations, you just won $1000”, DON’T CLICK ON THEM. These are just ways to lore you into giving them your email address thus opening the door to sending you spam.
  • Some spammers use tools to scan the web so if you publicly post your email address online, a spammer will find it.
  • There are a number of spammers out there who buy lists of email addresses from companies legally and illegally.

How do I prevent Email Spam?

DNS-Based Blackhole Lists (DNSBL): This is a blacklist of IP addresses which are most often used to send email spam. You would take this list and configure your mail software to block any mail coming from these IP addresses.

Greylisting: This is a method used to temporary reject emails from senders who are not recognized. If the email is legitimate then it will be accepted after a short delay.


Messaging Spam

This is the type spam that occurs in chat rooms such as Yahoo! Messenger or Myspace. Most of these systems have a directory to the users information. This makes it easy for advertisers to sign onto the system and send messages containing commercial scam-ware, viruses and links.

What countermeasure should take for Messaging Spam?

  • Setup your account so that only people who are already on your contact list may send messages to you.
  • If you can’t setup your account to do so then report and block anyone who tries to send you spam.
  • On some occasions the Messenger system has a protocol for blocking spam.

NewsGroup Spam

This is the type of spam that is found in Newsgroups or forums and it’s basically defined as excessive multiple posting. This means that someone repeatedly posting a message or similar message.

How do I prevent Newsgroup Spam?

There is only one way to prevent this and that is to download and use the Breidbart Index. What this does is counts how many times a post is used/sent and if it exceeds a certain amount it’ll give you the option to removed.

Forum Spam

This involves both Newsgroup spam and spam of advertising on internet forums. This is most commonly used to post links to external sites with the goal of increasing search engine visibility and this task is usually done by spambots.

How do I prevent Forum Spam?

  • Use a blacklisting service such as Stop Forum Spam and fspamlist. These keep a database of IP addresses, usernames and email addresses that are known to be used for spam.
  • Flood control. This forces users to wait a short period of time between posts.
  • Use CAPTCHA routines on forum registration pages.

Despite all the difficult and simple techniques there are to prevent spam, there will always loopholes that can be exploited which means you can never live a spam free life.

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