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- Strange Spam
February 16, 2009, 12:14 pm
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I use individual email addresses for various purposes in the format of
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Recently, I have been getting a lot of spam against that domain name, much
of it is obvious dictionary attacks but quite a lot of it is showing as from
various email addresses on that domain that I have actually used in the
I don't think it is a case of people selling on my email address, some of
these are very respectable organisations and there are just too many of them
happening at the same time. I don't think it's a key trapper as I haven't
actually used some of these addresses for a very long time. I don't think
it's a Trojan taking control of Outlook as I'm not getting bounces from
rogue mail being sent out using these as return addresses.
I'm running XP SP3, Windows firewall, AVG 8 and Windows Defender as my main
protection and occasionally run Lavasoft Adaware and Spybot Search &
Destroy, none of which are finding anything untoward.
Am I missing anything here or does anyone have any suggestions as to how
these addresses may have been picked up?
Re: Strange Spam
Bots scraping web forums, blogs, usenet posts, etc. People thoughtlessly
'forwarding' those stupid emails about 'urgent warnings' and 'missing
child' and 'this is funny' etc. Clicking on 'unsubscribe me' or 'report
this as spam' links in spam.
Re: Strange Spam
One or more of your correspondents has or had an infected computer, ie,
your addresses were harvested. That fact that the correspondents are
respectable organisations doesn't protect them. There's nothing you can
do about this. It's of course possible that your computer has been
zombified, but your security measures make this unlikely.
IMO, you have two options: a) you can strengthen the spam filters, which
will work for a while; or b) you can destroy your domain, invent a new
one, and mail all your contacts with the new addresses. That will work
until some computer is infected and the addresses are harvested....
FWIW, spam here recently increased from a half dozen or less per week to
15-20 per day. My has a deal with Microsoft/Hotmail, so there's a web
portal for accessing mail. I went there, and set the spam filters from
Low to Medium. (I have no idea why the filters were set on Low - AFAIK
the default is Medium. Bah!) That's reduced the spam back to former low
levels. But I check the Junk Folder on the web portal every other day,
to catch false positives that have been barred from my mailbox.
Re: Strange Spam
It's okay, guys, I have it figured out.
I thought these IP addresses had never been published anywhere but I realise
now that at least some of them have - I used the ISP ones as contact email
addresses on other domain names registered with them so obvuously they would
have been available on a Whois lookup.
On that basis, I'm sure that I think about it long enough that I'll remember
that somewhere, sometime that I've used the others.
That was what my underlying concern was - that I was sure these were not
just a dictionary attack but I couldn't think where they might have been
harvested, sorry for giving misleading information.