the most basic level SPAM is unsolicited electronic communication. End users
are frustrated by the vast amounts of "junk" mail in their inboxes, while ISPs
and corporations struggle to block SPAM " attacks". In March of 1998 AOL released
their " 10 Most Wanted Spammer List ". The list includes the names of Internet
users who continue to send unsolicited e-mail in bulk format. Examples Include:
Nasty" Spammer Subject Line: " Free - Over 7400 Adult Sites you can access with
just one password."
Center" Subject Line: "Succeed in your #1 Resolution"
Response to SPAM
AOL's most wanted list the FTC released the " Dirty Dozen Spam Scams" in July
of 1998. According to Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer
Protection, " The Dirty Dozen list of junk e-mail is a tip-off to a rip-off".
The following 12 items are the most common unsolicited forms of SPAM according
to the FTC's report:
- Business Opportunity
- Making Money
by Sending Bulk E-Mailings
- Chain Letters
- Health and Diet
- Easy Money
- Get Something
- Investment Opportunities
- Cable Descrambler
- Guaranteed Loans
on Credit, On Easy Terms
- Credit Repair
- Vacation Promotions
response to the overwhelming amount of unsolicited e-mail on the Internet, a
volunteer group has arisen to create the " Coalition Against Unsolicited Email."
http://www.cauce.org" . The organization
acts as a lobbying group and informational center on the Internet. Of the eight
anti-spam bills passed through the 105th Congress, all died either in Congress
or in conference. There are presently 4 pending pieces of legislation addressing
SPAM. Most involve monetary fines, which are virtually impossible to address,
as the vast majority of SPAM is forged. E-mail forgery masks the true address
of the sender, making tracking virtually impossible and in turn, making the
law unenforceable. This leaves the responsibility of stopping SPAM squarely
on the shoulders of end-users, ISPs and Corporate Administrators.
Users' Guide to Stopping SPAM
single most important thing an end-user can do to avoid SPAM is to protect his/her
e-mail address, since a spammer can not send to an address that he/she is unaware
of. E-mail addresses are most commonly harvested through Internet chat rooms,
UseNet News Groups and from Internet Sites, which sell their registered user
approach a user may take is to not post to Bulletin Boards, participate in Chat
Rooms, or Register on multiple web sites for informational purposes. Unfortunately,
even if a user refrains from all of the above, a spammer can frequently guess
an e-mail address based on Domain names. Many Internet users use two or more
e-mail addresses for this reason, one that is kept "secretly" and given only
to friends and relatives and one or more for Internet Bulletin Boards, Chat
Rooms and Mailing Lists. While a second e-mail address used to be expensive,
the advent of free e-mail on the Internet makes a second e-mail account a wise
and free investment. Users can go to such sites as yahoo.com, excite.com, hotmail.com
and many others to register for a free e-mail address, which can then be used
One measure a user can take to limit the amount of SPAM received is to set filters.
The problem presented to users is the vast amount of overhead in maintaining
filters, rendering them virtually useless. A user can set filters on their e-mail
to reject messages from specific users or domains, a user can even set filters
based on subject lines. For instance, a user can reject mail from specific users
such as email@example.com or can reject all mail from the widgets.com domain.
A user can also reject any mail where the subject line is all in caps or contains
specific user-defined key words. This procedure requires a great deal of manual
care from the user. Given the vast number of spamming e-mail addresses, variations
in subject lines and body content, blocking mail becomes much like plugging
a dyke with one's thumb. As soon as one hole is stopped, another opens. Another
form of filtering is to accept mail only from the addresses of friends, family
and co-workers and reject all else. This method restricts the ability to receive
potentially desirable e-mail, but is the best method if the user has two or
more e-mail accounts.
From a user perspective there is no user-friendly SPAM blocking solution. Until
the FTC is successful in legislation, users will have to either live with SPAM
or take the time to manually administer blocks.
advantage of secondary free e-mail accounts available on the Internet. Use
this address for all surveys, registrations, chat rooms, Usenet postings
and any other field that asks for your e-mail address.
the event your inbox becomes cluttered with SPAM, forward the offending
message to the FTC. The FTC receives over 1,000 SPAM complaints a day and
does take action, especially against the fraudulent mailings.
you find you are on an unwanted mailing list, you can usually reply to sender
with a Subject Line of Remove. This will remove you from that mailing list
for a period of three years. After the three-year time span has expired,
you may receive the same list again.