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PICList Thread
1999\04\17@183832 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Hello friends. It could be a coincidence, but since February when I
joined PicList, increased substantially the quantity of spam email I
receive daily.

Years before February 99, it was "ok" to receive two or three spam
advertisement weekly, right now I am receiving more than 15 daily!

I could be sending this email directly to Mark or Jori, to try to check
(by a download log) Awho already downloaded the subscribers list, or if
it is possible to hack into the system to get it, I bet it is, since the
list is large and a natural attraction to hackers willing to sell or use
it, but more people could be suffering this spam attack.

For sure I just programmed the mail filters to avoid them, 8 to 10 use
the same mail server (invalid or inexistent of course), since I don't
want to change my email address.

If you have a similar situation, please email me directly, *** DON'T
together we can study the situation and try to find out more information
about it.

This kind of situation is somehow normal on Internet, your email appears
on the messages, and anyone can build a distribution list.  Being part
of any list has this kind of problems that we need to learn how to deal
with and still alive.

Wagner.  []

1999\04\17@193457 by Mark Willis

I'll keep this list-wide for this message, so you all know what I
know.  I know somewhat about SPAM fighting...  More to learn,

 Someone at MIT might be able to get at the list, but users of the list
aren't (far as I know) able to download the list - just the Admins.
(Who are "Jory and Me", that should make one grammar-finnicky person
happy, still feels wrong to meselfs <G>)

 Could be that someone hacked in, though, or some SPAMmer's apprentice
joined the list for a time, tapped all the e-mail addresses they could,
and threw them in their in basket.  (If I were a Spammer, I'd go join
many mailing lists and consider them a good source of valid e-mail
addresses.  SICKENING thought, that!  They probably do it, hard to catch
them at it.)

 Another perhaps more likely possibility is that someone used one of
the mail server or SMTP abuse tools that're all over the place, to dig
into Earthlink and find out what addresses were present at Earthlink -
this is effectively a "Denial of Service" Attack, the Earthlink Admins
would know if they had had some tool like this used there in January or
February, as it basically tends to kill their servers, etc.  Basically
some bozo tries to reach "a", then "aa", then "aaa", there at Earthlink
(or any other reachable mail server), given all possible permutations
you can imagine that this slows down the server somewhat!  (with just
a-z and 0-9, you have "Quite a few" permutations possible in 8
characters, and far more in 16 or so.  The server has to handle each.)
Several "Flavors" of such attacks exist; the Abuse/Unix/Linux community
has come up with a smart strategic solution (delay answers to each query
by some time, say 15 seconds, after the first answer, to allow other
traffic to flow.  Makes this form of attack totally useless, without
seriously messing up other e-mail's flow.  15 seconds times a huge
number is a LOOONG time, long enough to backtrack the SPAMMer, and nuke
them.  Also, you could feed false answers to such a process <Evil Grin>)

 I helped get one company selling such a piece of "SPAMWare" through
NWLink connectivity stopped - they quit selling that software, in part I
hope to my comments to the abuse desk here <G>  {Mike Lyman of
Microsoft, an abuse guy there, also helped lots!}

 I have a standard "how to track SPAM" message I pass to people who
ask, I'll just drop in a few URLs here, for those interested, and stop
(We're getting off PICList too far otherwise.) is Leah's Anti-SPAM pages,
she takes you through tutorials, has tons of links, and will help you in
e-mail if needed (So will I, Leah's pretty busy so ask & I'll help you.) has tools - all the tools you could want,
almost.  Want to back track a Spammer, the tools are here, the
tutorial's at Leah's site <G> lets you look at a Spammers'
site without telling them all about yourself - You can get your
anti-Spam complaint together, see their entire web page, etc., better
than the anonymous browser on Sam Spade.  Slower, OTOH.

 Finally, has a free forwarding service which you can
either subscribe to - or just go look up - which I use to look up those
elusive Abuse desk e-mail addresses for each ISP on the 'Net.  (Abuse@,
Postmaster@, Spam@, Support@, JoeBlow@, NoSpam@, Spam_Report@, the names
aren't sensible nor standardized, dangit!)  Abuse.Net makes things a LOT
easier, and it's free, you just have to register if you want to use him
as an e-mail re-director.  (Then you send e-mail to
.....NWLink.ComKILLspamspam@spam@abuse.Net, for example, to have it redirected to the abuse
desk here where I get connectivity.)

 Mark, who's posted enough on this for today <G>

Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1999\04\17@213817 by Bob Blick


For the record, I get zero spam from my piclist mail account.

Of course, I only send mail to the piclist a couple of times a week, and
you send a lot. If someone took addresses from all the posters one day at
random, he'd likely miss me and get you.

On the other hand, I've been on the piclist for three years, so you'd think
sooner or later I'd get some spam from it, but that has not happened.


1999\04\17@214646 by Bob Drzyzgula

No spammer would need to hack anything to get a
list of active PICLIST subscribers. All they'd
need to do is scan through the web archive at The archive doesn't list
the address of each message's author, but many messages
(such as this one) contain email addresses in the text. In
some cases addresses will show up in a reply as part of
the copied original text. In a list this active, there'd
be quite a few. There may also be other online but not
publically advertised archives that *do* include senders'
email addresses.

Another good URL for spamfighters is


Bob Drzyzgula                             It's not a problem                until something bad happens

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