Geeks Bearing Gifts

Discussion of web ethics, in particular Spam, Scams, Viruses, Pop-Ups & Spyware, AOL, and File Sharing

Who the heck is Kelvin Rott?

lately, I’ve gotten more and more mail addressed to me — meaning my EMAIL ADDRESS — but with the name “Kelvin Rott” associated with it.


Someone has sent Kelvin Rott a Holiday E-Card message.
Click this link to see your E-Card.

Our Holiday Greeting cards:
Are totally Free!
Can be personalized
Have a variety to choose from
Require NO Registration
Have NO Spyware or Adware

Subject: Congratulations On Your New Samsung Washer & Dryer Kelvin Rott

Congratulations Kelvin,

You’ve qualified to receive a Tango Red Samsung Washer & Dryer. Your package includes:

* Samsung Silvercare Cold Water cleaning Washer
* Electric Dryer with custom one-touch drying settings

* A $2,400 value

FINALLY – Pass it on …

Finally, someone is passing around something productive. 🙂

Please forward to all of your ’email buddies’ who really need to read
If you are going to pass something along . . . . let it be THIS!
To whom it all concerns:
Just a word to the wise. E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress
or any other municipality. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed
signature and full address.
Same with “prayer chains” — be wary!
Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others
are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send
cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of
Records for the most cards.
All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and “cookie”
tracking info for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail
accounts for their own purposes.
Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to “10” of your
friends, sign this petition, or you’ll get good luck, or what ever,
it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the
cookies and e-mails of
those folks you forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy. Each
time it gets forwarded, then it’s able to get lists of “active” e-mails
to use
in spam e-mails, or sell to others that do.
Please forward this notice to others and you will be providing a good
service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting 30,000
spam e-mails in the future.
(If you have been sending out the above kinds of email, now you know
why you get so much spam!)

Are YOU forget?

I found these spam titles while clearing out a client’s unused accounts today … my favorite:

LET:account,password,shop,did you forget?,are you forget?,why are are forget?,damn you forget}

And a bunch structured like these:

Drink Satellite Backpack Ship Cave Bee Sex
Jet fighter Baby Backpack Explosive Child Eyes Planet
Eyes Highway Bridge Telescope Monster Air Milk
Clown Baby Earth Surveyor Toilet Arm Man
Torch Box Coffee Butterfly Toilet Sex Crystal

I hope this year will mark some progress in the war against spam.

New Download Threat (spoofed)

I got this today and thought it might be from someone regarding my anniversary. It turned out to be an executable file … NOT from Hallmark. I didn’t open it, but almost did. The tip-off? The link went to … most liekly some kind of malware (virus, spyware, etc..):

You have recieved A Hallmark E-Card. Hello!

You have recieved a Hallmark E-Card.

To see it, click here,

There’s something special about that E-Card feeling. We invite you to make a friend’s day and send one.

Hope to see you soon,
Your friends at Hallmark

Your privacy is our priority. Click the “Privacy and Security” link at the bottom of this E-mail to view our policy. [COLOR=#666666] | Privacy & Security | Customer Service | Store Locator [/COLOR]

Why I Love Internet Explorer

It not only warns you about potential phishing attempts, but tracks reported sites and lets everyone know … if you use IE, that is.

Realistic eBay phishing email!

{I almost fell for it myself! Thank goodness Internet Explorer caught it. I got one in the morning and one this afternoon, from different “people” but same message.}

eBay sent this message to an eBay Member.
[B]Question from eBay Member — Respond Now [/B]

eBay sent this message on behalf of an eBay member through My Messages. Responses sent using email will not reach the eBay member. Question from fjordkingActivity with bangups (last 90 days):
– I have bid on 0 items from imsellingtvs
bangups (323)
Positive feedback:100%Member since:Jun-26-98Location:WA, United StatesRegistered on:www.ebay.comOne more question,will you help with shipping?

Respond to this questionResponses in My Messages will not include your email address.Marketplace Safety Tip If this message is an offer to sell an item without winning it on the eBay Web site (including Second Chance Offers sent through My Messages) please do not respond to the sender. These “outside of eBay” transactions are unsafe and not covered by eBay purchase protection programs.

Never pay for your eBay item through instant wire transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know. Is this email inappropriate? Does it violate eBay policy? Help protect the Community by reporting it. This email was sent to an eBay Member using eBay International AG. Your account is registered on . As outlined in our User Agreement, eBay will periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements. If you would like to receive this email in text format, change your notification preferences.

On the Contact Us page, select the details of your enquiry and click the “Continue” button. Under the heading Contact Support, click the “Email” link and you will be prompted to fill out and send an email.

See our Privacy Policy and User Agreement if you have questions about eBay’s communication policies.
Copyright © 2006-2007 eBay, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
eBay and the eBay logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of eBay, Inc.
eBay is located at 2145 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125.

Bad Domain Names

These are not what you think …

Stupd Email Scams …

[FONT=Arial][B]My name is Bill Palmer, founder of Applebee’s. In an attempt to get our [/FONT][/B][FONT=Arial]
name out to more people in the rural communities where we are not
currently located, we are offering a! $50 gift certificate to anyone who
forwards this email to
[/FONT][COLOR=purple][FONT=Arial]9[/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Arial] of their friends. Just send this email to them [/FONT][FONT=Arial]
and you will receive an email back with a confirmation number to claim
your gift certificate.
[FONT=Arial]![I] [/I][/FONT][FONT=Arial][I]![/FONT][/I][FONT=Arial] [/FONT][FONT=Arial]
Bill Palmer
Founder of Applebee’s Visit us at:

Hey guys,

It really works, I tried it and got my Gift certificate confirmation
number in 3 minutes. [/COLOR][/FONT]

Someone help me whith .httpaccess…

can you help me whith .httpaccess…give link or links whith information about .httpaccess…thanks.. Megab0rt

Spam – How much is too much?

Every now and then, clients voice their concerns about getting too much spam. The problem is twofold. First, spam isn’t going to disappear and there’s only so much to be done without hurting the medium of email. Secondly, people have extremes in opinion as to how much spam is “a lot”.

On one hand, before I adjusted Spam Assassin on the server to eliminate instead of just tag bad email, I received as many as 6000 spam emails per week through multiple addresses. When I weeded out unused addresses, it decreased to just under 3000 per week. Outlook filtered some of it — sometimes a little over half and sometimes more than 90%, leaving me with only one or two every time I turned around. So it’s hard for me to feel sorry for people who complain of finger cramps from hitting the delete key a dozen times a day.

On the other hand, any spam is annoying if you aren’t used to it. It’s offensive, obtrusive, and uncalled for.

And some addresses get more than others. That hardly seems fair, but the truth is that some addresses haven’t been found by spammers yet, or not passed around that much — yet. But eventually they find you and the war begins.

The main ways spammers get your address is by having their system search the web to “harvest” addresses found on web pages. Kentropolis currently uses “Spam Spoiler” code to ‘hide’ the address from bots while making it still usable by human users. The problem is that we have no way to test its effectiveness, except for a testimonial a while back that it never failed to work. But spammers may have ‘cracked the code’ since then.

This is why addresses used for business tend to get more spam than personal ones, unless you post it on a blog or elsewhere on the Net.

Other ways include giving out your address, such as subscribing or registering online, or even offline for a contest or mailing list. These addresses may be sold without your knowledge or blessing.

Worst of all, when you click the “unsubscribe” link, you are screwed. You just let the spammer know your address is valid and therefore worth more money to sell to the next guy … and the next … and the next.

And if you actually BUY anything from unsolicited email, then congratulations — you are part of the ultimate factor in making spam worthwhile for the bad guys. Please don’t ever admit in my presence you have ever done such a thing.

Lastly, you can get spam by luck — or rather a “dictionary attack” — where a spammer sends out randomly or bulk-sequence generated email addresses, hoping to hit a real address.

So we go back to the question “How much is too much?” The answer depends on the person and situation, but here’s a general rule:

You have too much spam if you are spending more than 1% of your time deleting unwanted messages to get to good ones. That’s about 5 minutes an average work day — about 60 to 300 emails.

When it reaches near that point, you are so popular (and cursed) that you have to explore hard-core options, such as installing paid software on the mail server in-house. Kentropolis offers Spam Assassin for free as a configurable option, and it is all most people would need, but anything more and spending big bucks becomes a serious and worthwhile consideration.

But if you only get a few here and there, take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanks to the deity of your choice. Complaining would be like being dissatisfied about the color of the wine with your fettuccine Alfredo, while sitting in the middle of a starving third-world village.

We can only hope things will change in the war against spam — where American corporations spend tens of billions of dollars a year in software, personnel and lost productivity — but we can expect it to sometimes be better, sometimes be worse, for at least the foreseeable future.