SPAM- The Plague of the internet
Why you get unsolicited emails and how to stop them.
The Spam F.A.Q.
What is Spam?
"SPAM" refers to unsolicited
email that floods your mail box with ads from everything from
"Hot stock tips" to "all natural herbal viagra."
A company will hire an email mercenary to basically do illegal
things to people's servers for the sole purpose of sending out
millions of emails to poor unsuspecting mailboxes.
Spam almost never comes from a legitimate email
address. If you ever tried to respond to one, you'll know that
it will bounce back to you within moments. Spammers forge an email
address to send out their ads, and cover their tracks. (it's very
How'd they get my email address?
Well, there's an infinite number of
ways anyone could have gotten your private mailbox address. Here
are the top reasons:
1. Web Services: You signed up
for a daily news letter or something that has heavy sponsorship
through major companies. Most of the time, they have a privacy
policy that says that they will never give away your personal
information. Unfortunately, it never says anything about giving
out your email address. In order to afford to send you a daily
newsletter, the company sells your marketing info and email address
to spammers. The larger names and newsservices don't usually do
this, but be wary when it comes to smaller no-name companies.
2. Forwards: Yes, the annoying
chain letters and 'save poor billy by sending this to as many
people as you can.' There's no Billy. Bill Gates certainly isn't
going to send you $1000 for testing his new email system. Sorry.
Instead, these emails, complete with the pages and pages of people
that it's been sent to, eventually end up in the hands of spammers,
who in turn send you SPAM. This way is harder to prevent, so please
tell people never to send you chain letters, "make a wish"
letters, or anything of that nature. Besides, we've tried them
all, and Shannon Elizabeth still hasn't called ;)
3. Replys: Every once in a while,
the SPAM looks legitemate, and even has a line that reads something
like "reply to this email to be removed from the list."
If you do reply, all you're doing is confirming that the address
is in fact real, and that someone checks it. In other words, you're
ensuring that you'll get more and more from then on. Best thing
to do in a situation is just delete them.
4. Guestbooks and other Web-forums:
Yep, those sneaky spammers even have scripts that can go through
web pages in a blink of an eye extracting every email address
they find. The best thing to do again is to add something at the
end like you would with the newsgroups.
5. Domain Name Registration Info: All information about domain
name registration is publicly available via the WHOIS database. You use
it to see if a domain is available, spammers will farm it for your email
address and personal info. If you have a domain registered under your
name, you need a vaild email address, so there's not much you can do to
fix this problem.
6. Usenet: Everytime you post
to a newsgroup with your email address (in the 'from' (ie- firstname.lastname@example.org)
someone can quickly go through and add your email address to a
list that can be sold to spammers. In order to prevent this, we
recommend you add something on to the end of the address to prevent
your address from working (if someone wants to email you something,
they'll figure out how to remove it, but for a script that steals
millions of address from Usenet, it's a good technique). Example:
email@example.com.NO.SPAM <-simple, but it works.
What is Martnet doing to stop Spam?
We hate spam just as much as you do. Not only does it clog our email
boxes but it puts extra load on our servers even when we're blocking it.
Here's what we do to stop it.
Martnet also uses 2 "Black Hole" lists -
information about them is available at http://www.mail-abuse.org/rbl/
Basically, what these services do is keep a database of mail servers
that spam comes from. They scan for open-relay networks (big holes in
mail servers that allow spam to be sent) and put them on a black list.
This list is in turn synched with all of Martnet's mail servers, and
does not allow mail to come from those particular servers. It's pretty
effective when it comes to blocking servers
spam. P>MartNet also regularly reports any spam we know
about to SpamCop. We HIGHLY recommend that
you do the same! How effective is this? Almost 30,000 pieces of spam email are blocked
per day, per server.
But still some spam gets through, and that's why we've installed Spam
Assassin. SpamAssassin is a mail filter used to identify spam.
Using its rule base, it uses a wide range of tests on mail headers and
body text to identify "spam". For example, if a message is written in
ALL CAPS or has words in like "VIAGRA", it will give it a point. If the
amount of points adds up to a certain predetermined score, it will flag
it as spam. It can then do a number of things with it, throw it out, or
store it in a seperate folder. But thats up to you to configure. See the
below section for details on that
Unfortunately, it is impossible to block 100% of all spam while
allowing legitimate e-mail to also be delivered but, MartNet does
everything it can to help stem the tide without restricting the flow of
What can I do about it?
Well, the first you can do it turn on Spam Assassin for your account.
You can do that via the Martnet WebAdmin control panel. Instructions on
turning it on and configuing it can be found on this page:
Using Spam Assassin
There are a number of options explained on this page to show you how to
fine tune it and how to turn it on or off.
As long as you communicate with people via email, your address is going to get around, even if you don't want it to. Fortunately, Martnet has taken a
few steps to try and remedy this situation as best as possible.
This Web Site is proudly built upon an Open Source foundation: