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SPAM Policy!

Summary Page
Requested Removal Due To SPAM!

VPNAVY does not sell or maintain an e-mail database - PERIOD!

  • What is SPAM?
  • I've recieved a lot of SPAM from VPNAVY! What's going on?
  • Can I get hit by SPAM just for signing VPNAVYs Guestbook?
  • What is this MUGU problem all about?
  • What does VPNAVY use to control SPAM?
  • SPAM Do's and Don't's
  • SPAM and Ughs
  • The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
  • Fight SPAM on the Internet!
  • SpamCop
  • Death To SPAM by Alchemy Mindworks
  • FTC and Other Information on SPAM
  • How do I get my email program to reveal the full, unmodified email?
  • Who Actually Sent Me The Mail Message?
  • Note  What is SPAM?

    A "spam" e-mail is generally defined as an unsolicited mailing, usually to many people. A message written for, and mailed to, one individual that is known to the sender is not spam, and a reply to an e-mail is not spam, unless the "reply" repeats endlessly.

    SPAM e-mailers have become a separate part of the Internet, with their own host computers, methods, and politics. Many Internet sites have begun to forbid spamming, for several reasons - one is a sense that it is unethical, another is that, over time, other Internet sites will stop all e-mail from that site and thus prevent legitimate e-mail from getting through. As a result, spammers have begun to set up their own Internet sites -- sites that cater to, or encourage, spamming.

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    Note  What is this MUGU problem all about?

    I was recently informed that VPNAVYs Guestbook has been target'd by the "MUGU" group. This is a group of individuals that sit at "Internet Cafes" (tap an e-mail address) and send messages!  They are part of a "419/Advanced Fee Fraud" group of individuals.  (SEE: http://www.419fraud.com/  - 419 Advanced Fee Fraud Letters, emails and faxes requesting ‘assistance to remove millions of pounds from bank accounts' continue to be received by the public.  These communications historically originate from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, but are now also being distributed from a number of other countries, etc.)  Yes, it is unfortunate that they are ruining VPNAVYs ability to hook up old Shipmates , help families learn about their family members lost during mishaps , etc. because of fear of being "SPAM'd."  Please accept my sincere apologies for those of you who have had your E-mail Addresses "stolen".  Taping an E-mail Address bypasses the "scrambling" affect. However, "scrambling" is still blocking the "robot" harvesting of E-mail Addresses.  The "419/Advanced Fee Fraud" E-Mail seems to die down after a week or so.  [12JAN2004]

    Who should you notify and/or forward your message to when I receive one of these messages?

    And the final step is to forward the entire message to the ISP provided and their "mailbox" will be shut down! They always use a "free E-Mail" ISP like Yahoo, MSN, etc. All you have to do is place the word "abuse" in front of the ISP name (i.e., abuse@netscape.net , abuse@hotmail.com , abuse@juno.com , abuse@msn.com , abuse@yahoo.com , etc.) and forward it to the ISP.

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    Note  Can I get hit by SPAM just for signing VPNAVYs Guestbook?

    Yes! VPNAVYs GuestBook is being hit by an E-Mail Spyder! What is an "E-Mail Spyder?" An E-Mail Spyder is an automated program that trolls the Web to harvest E-mail Addresses. This might explain why we are getting so much SPAM! So to make sure, I am including this special E-mail Address to see what I can catch! Spyder@vpnavy.com - I'll let you know what I find out. [11OCT2002]

    Received SPAM to Spyder@vpnavy.com : 65 [Updated 04JAN2003] No need to continue counting!
    Received SPAM to DELETE: 75 [Updated 02JAN2003]
    No need to continue counting!

    The only place DELETE can be found is on a "Meta Tag." A Meta Tag is a piece of HTML code that is placed within each displayed page and contains: Title, Heading, Keywords and Description. If these Meta Tags are not correct or missing VPNAVY may not show up on search engines.

    Well, it finally happened. I just received this message: "...I run an Internet Marketing company in Las Vegas. Yes SPAM . I know this is largely an unpopular business, but a very profitable one, so...I am looking for on ISP that will allow me to mail off of its servers. No proxies, no relaying no bouncing off of others servers, just a direct connection. I would require a box on a high speed line. I belong to a rather distinctive group and if you could provide this I could bring you as much business as you could handle, proving you can handle the heat that spam brings. If you are interested in discussing terms for this potential arragment please hit reply or email me at ecorpinfo2002@yahoo.com . Regards, Joe..." His message header showed that the message didn't originate from Yahoo! He was using another ISP to send this SPAM . I forwarded his message (and header information) to Yahoo and my ISP (to mention a few!). [13NOV2002]

    UPDATE "...I finally found a way hide your E-Mail name from Automated Mail Harvesters (SPAM)! It allows me to convert a "ASCII" E-Mail Address to a bunch of different characters that "Mail Harvesters" won't be able to "steal." The only way to "steal" your E-Mail is for a human to actually tap your e-mail program. 90% of all stolen e-mail addresses are through Mail Harvesters. I will take care of converting your e-mail addresses..."

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    Note  What does VPNAVY use to control SPAM?

    VPNAVY uses a super software product called MailWasher Pro . MailWasher Pro is a powerful E-Mail checker with effective spam eliminator. I currently have four accounts and can check all four accounts BEFORE I download them to my computer. I get a chance to remove all SPAM, etc. while they are still on my Mail Server (not my PC!). It helps stop unwanted viruses and e-mails before they get to my computer. It was easy to set up and I am able to be manage my 200+ messages (mostly SPAM!) in minutes!

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    Note  SPAM Do's and Don't's

    Never respond to a spam e-mail. For a spammer, one "hit" among thousands of mailings is enough to justify the practice. Instead, if you want a product that is advertised in a spam e-mail, go to a Web site that also carries the product, inquire there, and tell them you do not approve of spam methods and will not patronize a company that uses spammers.

    Never respond to the spam e-mail's instructions to reply with the word "remove." This is just a trick to get you to react to the e-mail -- it alerts the sender that a human is at your address, which greatly increases its value. If you reply, your address is placed on more lists and you receive more spam.

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    Note  SPAM and Ughs

    As Unsavory E-Mail Bloats the In-Box, Fed-Up Recipients Turn to the Law by By Don Oldenburg - Washington Post Staff Writer - Monday, September 2, 2002; Page C01.

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    Note  The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email http://www.cauce.org/index.phtml

    CAUCE, while a consumer-oriented organization, welcomes support from companies and other organizations that want to see an end to unsolicited commercial mail.

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    Note  Fight SPAM on the Internet!

    Boycott Internet SPAM! can be found on: http://spam.abuse.net

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    Note  SpamCop http://spamcop.net/

    This free service will let you send a public spam report to network administrators. SpamCop routes your complaint accurately and works with network administrators and spammers to turn the tide can be found on: http://spamcop.net/

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    Note  Death To SPAM by Alchemy Mindworks http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/nospam.html

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    Note  How do I get my email program to reveal the full, unmodified email? http://spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/19.html

    It depends on your email software. Here are instructions for some of the more popular programs can be found on: http://spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/19.html

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    Note  The FTC Forum On SPAM

    On April 30 to May 2, 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States hosted a three-day forum on SPAM. Over 400 business representatives, consumer advocates and government representatives attended the forum held in the FTC's Washington headquarters.

    Topics discussed during the forum include:

  • The creation of a national "Do Not SPAM" email database
  • The SPAM problem getting worse faster than anticipated
  • Most SPAM is coursed through 200 major bulk emailers, 40 of whom are based in Boca Raton, Florida Controversies in blacklist usage
  • The inherent weakness of anti-SPAM laws in prosecuting SPAM from overseas
  • Weak federal laws superseding stronger state laws
  • Problems regarding prospecting for opt-in mail
  • Appropriate guidelines for direct email marketing

    As the first government sponsored dialogue between concerned parties over the SPAM problem, the FTC forum is watershed event on its own.

    While a complete solution to SPAM is still not in sight, the forum is a significant step towards finding an ultimate solution.

    Source: PCWorld, DMNews, Washington Post

    Note  Federal Anti-SPAM Bill Reintroduced, Among Others

    US Senator Conrad Burns reintroduced the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in an attempt to provide federal level regulation of bulk email. This bill will be taken up in the US Congress' next session.

    The bill will make deceptive subject lines and sender names illegal and require bulk emails to have a valid opt-out link.

    On the other hand Senator Charles Schumer proposes the creation of a national "Do Not SPAM" registry similar to the "Do Not Call" registry protecting consumers from telemarketers while Representative Zoe Lofgren is pushing for a bill that would give bounties to people who track down SPAMmers that violate email labeling or opt-out requirements.

    With three options on the table, a federal anti-SPAM law should see fruition in the near future.

    Sources: Techweb, New York Times

    Note  Opt-in To Be Implemented In UK

    The British government is laying out plans to adopt strict controls on email marketing. Under consideration is an opt-in model where companies must obtain explicit permission to send email to customers with the exception of an existing customer relationship. Cookies and other usage tracking devices must also be opt-in in nature.

    This move is aimed at implementing the European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, a wide-ranging document passed in 1999 by the European Parliament.

    In the interest of fairness, the British government will be taking input from other entities such as the British DMA. Enforcement of the proposed opt-in model should begin as early as October this year.


    Note  Australia To Ban SPAM

    The Australian National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) is recommending introducing laws to limit SPAM. In a 46-page report, the NOIE lists the negative aspects of SPAM and their effects on users and the Internet economy.

    A co-regulatory setup has been proposed in that the Australian government and industry participation will determine anti-SPAM policies and their enforcement.

    This initiative follows recent bank SPAM scams that attempted to divest gullible email users of their money.

    Source: ZDNet Australia, Sydney Morning Herald

    Note  Internet Pioneer Not In Favor Of Anti-SPAM Laws

    Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, known as one of the creators of the Internet due to his work on TCP/IP protocols that control Internet communications, is not in favor of regulating SPAM, at least legally.

    Cerf says that SPAM is part of the price Internet users have to pay for a free and open system.

    "The good thing about the Internet is that everything's connected," Cerf said. "The bad thing about the Internet is that everything's connected."

    His solution is technological in nature and proposes that email be delayed to allow filters to screen SPAM more effectively. Another proposed solution is the implementation of a challenge-response system. The inherent weakness of this system is that some legitimate email senders won't be willing to exert extra effort to get their mail past the "challenge".

    Cultural differences regarding desirable Internet content is another factor according to Cerf. No one culture should have monopoly on what has become the definitive communication tool for the early 21st century.

    Source: Star Tribune

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    Note  Who Actually Sent Me The Mail Message?

    Spammers often forge the headers of their email in an attempt to avoid losing their accounts and to evade email filters. These notes may help you track the source of spam. The most important thing is to have a mail reader that can show you the full headers of an email in question. The important lines are as follows:

    Who the message is from. This is the easiest to forge, and thus the least reliable.

    As distinct from the "From:" line. This line is not actually part of the email header, but mail transfer software often inserts it when the mail is received. Many Unix mailers use this line to seperate messages in a mail folder. This line will always be the first line in the headers.

    This line can also be forged, but not always.

    The address to which replies should be sent. Often absent from the message, and very easily forgeable. However, it often provides a clue. For example, forged spam often has a legitimate Reply-To: field so that the spammer can receive mail orders.

    The email address for return mail. Same as Reply-To:

    The account that sent the message. Mail software is supposed to insert this line if the user modifies the From: line. Most Mail software is broken in this respect, so this line is rarely present. Some mailers provide an X-Sender: line.

    A unique string assigned by the mail system when the message is first created. This is also forgeable in most cases, but requires a little more specialized knowledge than forging the From: line. Also, the Message-ID: often identifies the system from which the sender is logged in, rather than the actual system where the message originated.

    The format of a Message-ID: field is <unique string>@<sitename>

    Each kind of mail software has its own style of unique string. Sloppy forgeries often get it wrong, thus a forgery can be confirmed by comparing the message id with some legitimate messages from that same site.

    These are the most reliable lines in the header. They form a list of all sites through which the message traveled in order to reach you. They are completely unforgeable after the point where it was injected. Up to that point, they may be forgeries.

    Received: lines are read from bottom to top. That is, the first Received: line is your own system or mail server. The last (non-forged) Received: line is where the mail originated.

    Each mail system has their own style of Received: line. A Received: line typically identifies the machine that received the mail and the machine that the mail was received from. I.e.:

    Received: from foo.com by bar.com id AA15057; Fri, 25 Jul 97 09:39:02 The "foo.com" part is the name that the sending machine used to identify itself. This may be forged in the case of spam. The id is for logging purposes and may help system administrators track the spam if you can get them to cooperate with you.

    Many mailers will add extra information. For example:

    Received: from foo.com ([]) by bar.com id AA15057; Fri, 25 Jul 97 09:39:02 In this case, bar.com has inserted the IP address of the sending system. If the machine name does not match the IP address, then you have likely identified the point where the mail was forged. In other words, the machine whose address is lied when it identified itself as foo.com. Any Received: lines that follow are likely to be forgeries.

    If the IP address does not make sense (for instance, no component may be greater than 255), then this entire Received: line is a fake. Contact a system admin for more advice in determining if an IP address is bogus. If the entire Received: line is fake, then the injection point is somewhere above in the headers.

    Sometimes you will see

    Received: from foo.com (x.y.alterdial.uu.net []) by bar.com id AA15057; ... In this case, the mailer has inserted both the IP address and the real name of the sending system. This will help you identify forgeries and eliminate the need to look up the IP address by hand.

    Some mailers may add additional information to the headers, such as "Authenticated sender is doe@foo.com". Forged Comment: lines can be easily added to outgoing mail, so this line is likely to be fake, but not always.

    Other mailers may insert their own authentication information in the headers.

    Here is an example of a forgery: From webpromo@denmark.it.earthlink.net Tue Jul 8 13:05:02 1997 Return-Path: From: webpromo@denmark.it.earthlink.net Received: from denmark.it.earthlink.net (denmark-c.it.earthlink.net []) by best.com (SMI-8.6/mail.byaddr) with ESMTP id NAA21506 for ; Tue, 8 Jul 1997 13:05:16 -0700 Received: from mail.earthlink.net (1Cust98.Max16.Detroit.MI.MS.UU.NET []) by denmark.it.earthlink.net (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id NAA12436; Tue, 8 Jul 1997 13:00:46 -0700 (PDT) Received: from adultpromo@earthlink.net by adultpromo@earthlink.net (8.8.5/8.6.5) with SMTP id GAA05239 for ; Tue, 08 Jul 1997 15:48:51 -0600 (EST) To: adultpromo@earthlink.net Message-ID: <199702170025.GAA08056@no-where.net> Date: Tue, 08 Jul 97 15:48:51 EST Subject: Hot News ! Reply-To: adultpromo@earthlink.net X-PMFLAGS: 12345678 9 X-UIDL: 1234567890x00xyz1x128xyz426x9x9x Comments: Authenticated sender is Content-Length: 672 X-Lines: 26 Status: RO Obviously, the To: line is a forgery; the actual recipients list was hidden, probably with a blind carbon-copy (Bcc: header)

    The "From", "Return-Path:" and "From:" all identify the same email address, but that may be a forgery. You can try mailing to the given address and see if your complaint bounces.

    The "To:", "Reply-To:" and "Authenticated sender" lines all identify a different account. Again, these may all be forgeries.

    The Message-ID: line is an obvious fake.

    The first Recieved: line shows the mail arriving at my service provider from Earthlink. I trust my service provider, so this line is almost certainly valid.

    The second Received: line shows this inconsistency:

    ... from mail.earthlink.net (1Cust98.Max16.Detroit.MI.MS.UU.NET []) In other words, the machine that delivered the mail to denmark.it.earthlink.net identified itself as mail.earthlink.net but was actually named 1Cust98.Max16.Detroit.MI.MS.UU.NET. This is very likely a lie. However, Earthlink rents POPs from Uunet, so this might be an Earthlink customer dialing in from Uunet.

    The third Received: line is completely bogus. If the mail came from a dial-in customer at Uunet, there wouldn't be any more Recieved: lines. If the mail was being relayed from Uunet, this Received: line would indicate Uunet, not Earthlink. Further, this Received: line contains email addresses, not machine names.

    Clearly, this email was forged to make it look like it came from Earthlink but was actually injected from Uunet. Whether this was by an Earthlink customer or some other Uunet customer is impossible to tell without cooperation from Earthlink sysadmins.

    Here is another forgery:

    Received: from cola.bekkoame.or.jp (cola.bekkoame.or.jp []) by srv.net (8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id BAA00705 for ; Wed, 30 Jul 1997 01:15:27 -0600 (MDT) From: beautifulgirls585@aol.com Received: from cola.bekkoame.or.jp (ip21.san-luis-obispo.ca.pub-ip.psi.net []) by cola.bekkoame.or.jp (8.8.5+2.7W/3.5W) with SMTP id OAA11439; Wed, 30 Jul 1997 14:35:50 +0900 (JST) Received: from mailhost.aol.com(alt1.aol.com( by aol.com (8.8.5/8.6.5) with SMTP id GAA00075 for <"">; Tue, 29 Jul 1997 22:19:42 -0600 (EST) Date: Tue, 29 Jul 97 22:19:42 EST Subject: You can have what you want... Message-ID: <574857638458.HWF39862@aol.com> Reply-To: beautifulgirls585@aol.com X-PMFLAGS: 56354433 0 Comments: Authenticated sender is X-UIDL: vjg79u26gfkjjrty38jf983j309jfyrw Here, the second Received: line indicates that "cola.bekkoame.or.jp" received the mail from a machine which identified itself as "cola.bekkoame.or.jp", but was in fact "ip21.san-luis-obispo.ca.pub-ip.psi.net". This mail was probably forged from a Psi.net dial-in account.

    As a final proof, the IP address mentioned in the third Received: line cannot be matched via whois or traceroute. It certainly doesn't match AOL, indicating that this line is bogus.

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