May 5, 2006

Spammers and scammers

Have you heard of Blue Frog? It’s this anti-spam solution by Blue Security. It comes as a free tool installed on your computer as well as a FireFox extension which automatically submits spam from your Hotmail, Yahoo and GMail accounts to Blue Security for processing. (Don’t follow the links above at the moment since their servers appear to be under attack and they are trying as hard as they can to combat the issue and we don’t want to aggravate things, now do we? :p)

So why am I writing about Blue Frog (besides the fact that it is a good tool)? Well, I signed up for Blue Frog a while back, used it for a while and then uninstalled it. The reason I uninstalled it is because I’m too lazy :p I get about 20-40 spam messages a day and it’s all through my regular e-mail client, not webmail. The way Blue Frog works is that you have to forward the spam mails to Blue Security and they send a complaint to the spammer’s sponsor organization when you complain. The idea is that the more people who complain, the more complaints that the spammer gets – sort of a reverse spam :p

So being, totally lazy, I just couldn’t be bothered to forward mails to Blue Security and so I gave up on it. Gave up that is, till a few days ago. "What happened a few days ago?" you might ask. I got a message from spammer saying that they had hacked the Blue Security registry and that they had my e-mail address as a Blue Frog user and that they were going to keep spamming me till I stopped using it. Now the thing is, I wasn’t a Blue Frog user at that point. I don’t know for certain that Blue Security was hacked. Actually, it’s rather simple to find out if somebody’s e-mail address is registered with Blue Security or not. Blue Security has a feature where a spammer can run their mailing list through Blue Security to find out which addresses are protected by Blue Security so they can remove those addresses from their mailing list. All a malicious spammer needs to do is run their mailing list like that, pick the protected ones and start spamming them :p

What annoyed me was the effrontery of the spammer in thinking that all he had to do was to start spamming you more to get you to stop complaining about them. I ignored the message at that point but I got several more copies of the same message that day. The next morning, instead of the usual 20 spam messages, I got around 80. Now I am not sure if the two events are linked or if it was random chance. But since my spam count has increased since then, I decided to take action. I wasn’t doing anything to combat spam till then except to delete them when they came in but I sure as heck was going to report them if they thought they could scare me :p

That was yesterday. I looked around for a good solution and came back to an old faithful – MailWasher 🙂 I used to filter all my mail via MailWasher before opening it in my mail client but when I got PocoMail, I decided to do away with MailWasher and rely only on PocoMail’s internal junk mail filtering. It does work fairly well (I mean Poco’s junk mail filtering) but what brought me back to MailWasher was the fact that MailWasher now has built-in support for reporting spam to Blue Security :p So, I installed MailWasher again, ran all my mail through that and have been reporting spam left, right and center to Blue Security. Only problem is that their servers are under attack (I guess they must be getting effective and the spammers really hate them :p) and so, my spam reports are bouncing 🙂 Hopefully, they get the attacks sorted out and will be back to normal operations soon ….

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Tags: Internet, Software
Posted by Fahim at 6:46 am   Comments (1)