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How to deal with 98% spam? (corporate case)

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Old August 20th 04, 11:58 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
David Bradley
external usenet poster
Posts: 329
Default How to deal with 98% spam? (corporate case)

On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 11:15:43 +0100, (Peter) wrote:


I have a small business. Every day we get 10-20 legit emails, and
(especially over a weekend) about 50x as many in spam.

The spam probably comes from email addresses ripped off our website
over the years, plus a load sent to [email protected] and [email protected] etc. I
realise one can stop some of this by having java code in place of
mailto: links, or use www enquiry forms (which a lot of people hate)
but it's too late to do that now.


Solutions you have considered in the rest of your postings may provide
an answer to your problem but the effort involved is quite extensive.
Perhaps you need to turn the problem on its head and consider if you
are doing all you can to protect your email address. Here are some
ideas which others might decry, but they work for me.

* Why use [email protected] and [email protected] as valid email addresses? Other
choices might be better such as [email protected] and [email protected] could be
used instead.

* Protect mailto: entries behind java code. I've done this for over a
year now and the protected email addresses have yet to be compromised.

* Avoid the use of CC in your emails; use BCC instead.

* Use a secondary email address for use on the WEB. And in
newsgroups, no email address at all.

* Divert any mail address to non valid email address into a separate
account where from time to time only the headers are read using, say,
POP3SCAN. Easy enough to spot the odd typo error in the email address
against the deluge of obvious SPAM messages.

* Only give your company's WEB address on your business card; anyone
wanting to send you an email can discover your email address there.

It does seem to me that once you get onto a spammers list, the mail
never stops arriving. Re-activating an old email address recently
[that was last years over three years ago] the SPAM was still arriving
each day!

David Bradley

Old August 20th 04, 06:23 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
John Appleyard
external usenet poster
Posts: 8
Default How to deal with 98% spam? (corporate case)

Peter wrote:
Thank you all for the brilliant advice. There really are some good
people in this NG...

All taken on board. I will report on how we are doing.

It does seem to me that once you get onto a spammers list, the mail
never stops arriving. Re-activating an old email address recently
[that was last years over three years ago] the SPAM was still arriving
each day!

The above is why I am doing this. Indeed, if I was starting a website
now, I would do all you've suggested. I learnt about usenet being
harvested for spam c. 1995 and I know about the java fix for the
mailto problem...

We've had similar problems, but I think we're getting on top them now.
For a long while we relied on SpamAssassin, but though it's very good,
the spammers keep learning new tricks, and the volume of spam, and of
false negatives just keeps rising. SA may reduce spam by a factor of 20,
but eventually, that is not enough.

I think that, in the long run, the only solution is to change your email
addresses. Instead of [email protected] , we now use
[email protected] (e.g. [email protected] ) This allows use
to use different addresses (invented on the spur of the moment) for
different purposes, in the knowledge that, if they get abused, we can
blacklist them very easily.

Of course you will need an extended period of parallel running before
you can forget about the old addresses. Having set up the new
addresses, we told all our contacts about them, and started making a
point of asking everyone who used the old address to change.

After a few months of that, we (recently) started using Gradwell's
automated quarantine system for the old addresses. Anyone emailing an
old address gets an email informing them that the address is obsolete,
but with a link which allows them to release their email. The system
whitelists anyone who clicks the link. In a few months, we may just bin
them (after a final reminder to everyone on the whitelist).

I have some worries about the quarantine system - it does mean that we
respond to spam, and confirm our existence. It seemed to me that when I
was monitoring the system, that some of our responses just triggered
more spam. However the stuff doesn't get through, and the problem is
Gradwell's rather than ours. I take the view that they must know what
they're doing! But I wouldn't like to rely on quarantine for my primary
email address, just in case the whole thing falls victim to positive

We still keep an eye on [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] for the reasons
you mention, but we've never published those addresses, and they're very
rarely used for legitimate purposes. Everyone else is (touch wood) more
or less spam-free.

John A - (send email to [email protected] rather than [email protected])
Polyhedron Software
Programs for Programmers - QA, Compilers, Graphics, Consultancy
********* Visit our Web site on http://www.polyhedron.co.uk/ *********

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