FlemmingLeer´s english blog: Reclaim your mail address after spam    
 Reclaim your mail address after spam2 comments
9 Dec 2002 @ 07:57, by Flemming Leer Jakobsen

I found a way that got me off spammers mailinglists. Actually it found quite by coincidence, but it seems to work quite fine. At the height of my spam storm, I got some 45 spam mails a day !

What I did was that I had two different email addresses hosted by the same provider. It had the exact same name but not the same email address.

My name was (and still is) Flemming Leer Jakobsen, but the addresses were different. My disclosed mail was shorter and the one I gave up was something different.

They were both on the same mail server but had different domain urls. E.g. julebryg_nospam@c*.dk and itsme@post*.tele.dk

This left me with the conclusion that spammers regardless of domain names groups mail addresses by ISP (Internet Service Provider). I had the nospam mail for 1 year and then I deleted it. But the side effect is that my other and a lot older mail address has stopped receiving spams as well. Both were receiving spams during the mail storms.

So my theory is that when one mail bounces on an ISP mail server similar email addresses with the exact same name get deleted automatically. Picture this. If you have 5 million email addresses will you have the time manually search for a name, verify and delete it ? Well the answer is no. So it is done by a program that orders mail by ISP and deletes it automatically. Generally you bet on spammers being lazy and not taking time to check bouncing mails by hand.

For it to succeed you will have to be on a mail server were a deleted mail address bounces and is not being routed to one single url. Typically *@test*.com option on mail hotels and web servers will forward all mails to one mail address. Most homebased mail addresses have the option to make up to 5 or 10 email addresses plus you can delete and make a new one.

So I suggest that you make a new one and put it on a webpage or enter it in a guestbook. When the address had been spammed for a month or two you delete it. This will also free your other mail address as it will also be deleted ! Voila, you are spam free. 1 month is the least that you should wait, because that way both your old and new mail gets into the spammers system. The names should match exactly. If your name is Paula Abdul then both the names should have that as the name to work. It should not be Paula Abdul and Paula Abdul2 as the names. The email addresses can be anything like dancer@aol*.com and shygirl@aol*.com

They do not have to be the same for this to work.

Some people speculate that spammers exchange mail addresses each day, but if you have an old mail address it will probably have winded up on a CD-rom. If your new address goes out of business too soon some spammers who don´t update as often will still be having your 1st mail address. The spam software cannot perform a match to get both your mails off the spam list and you will still be getting spam mails.

The real test for me will come here during the Christmas holidays. For one week now I have not received spam to any of the mail addresses based at the provider.

Give me some input to see what your experiences are.

Use mailwasher in the spam period, if you are on windoze systems.

Of course another option is to delete both your old and make a completely new one. But I choose to cling on to my old and accidently someone I corresponded with over 2 years ago contacted me through that mail again to thank me for an advice I gave. A thanks I wouldn´t have gotten plus I would not have discovered this.

(* is to ensure mails are not working.)

:) = (:


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2 comments

10 Dec 2002 @ 03:35 by ming : Spamming
I don't quite follow your method here. But, regardless, I'm skeptical. I know enough about bulk mailing to have a good idea what spammers do. They do some of the same things that the maintainers of large mailings lists do, but they cut a bunch of corners. E.g. somebody who mails off of a CD they've bought will most likely not care whether some of the addresses are invalid or not. Only the most sophisticated spammers will process their return mail. The small ones are typically using a program that mails very quickly, but which doesn't care about bounces or unsubscribe requests or anything.

Sophisticated bulk mailers will indeed group addresses up by domain, and if they're really good, they'll keep track of the incoming mail servers for that domain. But they generally won't care if multiple domains go to the same ISPs mail servers, other than for trying to avoid overloading each mailserver. I don't believe anybody would delete an address for one domain because it exists for another domain hosted by the same ISP.  



11 Dec 2002 @ 15:25 by fleer : It´s not perfect...
I got one spam mail on the remaining email account today :(My older mail address is still on one messageboard.)

But my idea is that spammer match names and ISP domain mails with some kind of fingerprint from the mail servers. It was Cloudmark.com s that gave me this idea. The use some kind of fingerprints which they compared to DNA. Specific things that distinguish mailheaders from oneanother.

I saw a huge drop in spams when I droppen my most recent mail address. I think that spammers use all of the mailto: information. So
A href="mailto:info@adomain.dk" info
and
A href="mailto:thisisnotmyinfo@bdomain.dk" info
are grouped by the ISP domain. And if one bounces both are deleted from the spammers list. With maybe 2 million email addresses nobody have the time to check. Maybe the guy who got my first mail from time to time checks mail to eliminate invalid mail addresses and in the process deletes both entries. I am guessing here, but I think that a CD rom with half the mail addresses being invalid has little value in the spammers world. (One from an anti spam newsgroup got an spam claiming to sell a CD with 400 million mails on it, 7 million from China).

Well, I think I found a way to get out of spammers sight - at least for some time. Now I just have to find a way for them to stop grabbing my old mail address again.....  



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