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huge spam messages a problem

Spam used to be bad enough but now it's gotten worse.

1 First of all, I hate spam.
2 And I also hate HTML mail.
3 HTML mail with embedded images is even worse.
4 And mail with gigantic 1 MB file attachments that take forever to download are the worst.

Now, 3-4 used to be family and friends sending me unsolicited editorial cartoons and baby pictures and that sort of stuff. I put an end to that my moving them all to a 'personal' email account that I seldom check.

But lately at my business email accounts I have been getting 1-4 all together in a single email. Spam with porno pics or photos of pill bottles or herbal enhancers or whatever embedded in the message AND some gigantic attachment.

These things are completely clogging up my bandwidth. Getting dozens of the a day. It's basically the same as a DoS attack on my mailbox.

Why on earth can't this be considered illegal? It's illegal to send unsolicited faxes.

This BS is causing me real damage to my business.

Who do I sue? Can I sue?

Anyone else dealing with this nonsense?

Buried in Spam
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

My solution: Get a good ISP and learn to hit the DEL key really fast.

:-( :-( :-(

Jack Thybolt
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

You could always install one of the many mail filtering packages that will return unread any message that's large and has no text content.  Or perhaps just install a spam filter on the server.. ;)

Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I'm using a bayesian filter and it's wonderful. I get 60 or so spam messages a day. I see about 4. It takes a while to build a critical mass; about 400 pieces of spam should be enough. Took me roughly a week.

Clay Dowling
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Take a deep breath and tell yourself this is everybody's issue these days.

gg
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

If bandwidth is a problem, you'll have to get an ISP that filters spam at the source, or switch to reading POP3 headers / IMAP so that you can choose which messages you really want to download.

If the problem is your time, Mozilla has a wonderful integrated spam killer, or you can use SpamBayes for MS OutLook. And there are probably other tools that solve this problem.

Ori Berger
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I get 200 spam a day but almost none get through because I use the open source Popfile mail filter.

Run don't walk to  http://popfile.sourceforge.net

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Are you using outlook or some other mail reader that lets you sort by size?  Sort by size, delete everything over 40kb, then sort by date again.  If you have control over filters, filter out the most common virus headers, which can be found here: http://www.utexas.edu/its/alerts/sobigalert08202003.html

Then for all the rest get a good spam filter and train it well.  SpamBayes has been working well for me in Outlook, and its free: http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/

MH
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Typically, pictures in an HTML email aren't embedded in the email itself.  They're links to external websites.  If you don't open the email, you'll never download the pics.

Like others said, there are tons of SPAM filters out there.  When SpamNet went pay, I switched to a Bayesian filter and it catches about but about 2-3 of the roughly 120 I get a day.

David
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

OK, well, Ori's is sort of the approach I'll have to take. Solutions that work on -this- side of the net connection are not useful -- the problem is that this stuff takes forever to download. Once it's here, I have filters set up to sort it and they do pretty good since most everything that isn't recognized is spam. So identifying spam -after- the mail is downloaded is not a problem for me -- it's that the spam is huge and to delete it I have to download it.

I tried the thing with the headers before but the problem was that I had to go through the email continuously -- half the mail is mail from developer lists for specialized topics and I basically archive it as a sort of technical database and only go through it when I run into problems. I don't want to have to go through all this mail manually every day deciding which to download.

I guess in an ideal world, my ISP would put strip out all attachments from mail sent to me, altering the content of the mail itself to include a note that 'attachements to this email were removed and stashed' somewhere site for possible download. If not downloaded, it would be automatically deleted of the oldest ones, keeping X megabytes of web stashed space for these attachments. Hm. No one has done this. It's probably even patentable. I don't want to get into writing email applications though and I don't want to have to run my own server just to download my email.

Buried in Spam
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Eudora used to (still has?) a feature where you could set the maximum size of each message to download.

So you could set it to say 50k, and Eudora would only download 50k of large messages. There was a button on each large message to download the rest of the message if you wanted it.

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

My combination -

POPFile:
  - tags 98% of all spam with a custom header, which any decent mail reader can then filter out;

Outlook 2003:
  - "junk mail" filter actually works;
  - linked images are blocked by default until you explicitely ask to see them, so the spam with 20 graphics in it only shows as plain text unless I ask to see the images (which of course I do not)

With the combination of those two, I see, on average, about 1 spam message a week out of the 34-40 I receive each day.

Ryan LaNeve
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Check out MailWasher ( www.mailwasher.net )- it bounces emails from your mail server, so they look like your e-mail address isn't valid.

I got fed up with bayesian filters like SpamAssassin - you  still have a 'SPAM' folder that's chock full of icky spam, so I 'Washed' my mail for about a month before I checked it - now my email address is almost 100% spam free. (I was getting up to 10-15 SPAMs a day prior to that)

It's the one free piece of software I feel really guilty for not paying for...

pod
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I second Mailwasher suggestion!

It's an EXCELLENT tool, you can build your own blacklist. Program also uses blacklist which are published online. You can make friends list as well! And the best stuff is 'bouncing back mail'!

I used to get 10/15 spam mails a day, and these days I see none! :)

JD

JD
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Matt,

That'll do it.Eudora it is. Thanks.

Buried in Spam
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I get about 100 spams a day now, probably due to my email address having been in use for almost ten years.

I use Spam Assassin Pro for Outlook and it seems to do a very good job. It kills about 95% of the spam and afaik has never killed a message from someone I'd actually want to hear from.

I've noticed recently that there are a lot of spams with sizes of around 35k, which I assume must be picture attachments. Obviously, the spammers have a lot more bandwidth to play with these days.

I also had 22 identical messages today from some guy. As if repitition would suddently make me think 'Oh yeah, I do need a cable descrambler after all'.

{Sorry if this is severely off topic for JoS, just my 2c}

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I use mailwasher too, and have been very pleased with it.  The only problem is that the ISP has to support bouncing, and mine doesn't.  I had to set up a local mail server (from argosoft) to deal with sending the bounce messages.

As for HTML messages, there's an addin for outlook that will "defang" them for you.  I don't have a link to hand, unfortunately.

MSpudbury
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

JoS = Joel on Spam?


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The problem with bouncing messages from MailWasher is that most spammers will just fake the FROM address so you're bouncing a message to a random address. Usually the mail server at that address will send a message back to you to let you know that the address doesn't exist. Since this doubles the amount of spam that you have to deal with, it's obviously not such a great solution.

Frederik Slijkerman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Cloudmark is the best I've found. Seems to work better than bayesian. Challenge/response is idiotic. Rules are lame.

pb
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Some folks seem to be under the misassumption that spammers read any sort of bounce messages.  Bouncing spam doesn't work when nobody reads the bounce messages.

It's too easy to send out the spam.  One old email address I have has been bouncing for over 2 years and hasn't been actually listed anywhere for about the same time.  And it still gets spam, last time I unblocked it.

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The vast majority of spam I receive has a fake senders address like this
joeblowghaw@mx11.fakedomainname.com or
georgewqhdq@mx13.morefakedomain.com

I added the string '@mx' to the Adult senders list which 'permenently' deletes the email - I _never_ see it.

This has been very effective although I am on a broadband connection.

No UCE for me
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

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