The Spam Experiment

Friday, December 31, 2004

More on Newsgroups and spam traps

Since it is the holiday I'm not selling a lot of anti-spam software and have some free time on my hands. I've been posting to newsgroups trying to get spam.

I posted to a bunch of gambling newsgroups and so far that has only earned me 7 email worms.

I'm now posting to some sex newsgroups, mlm, etc.

I also started surfing for spam newsgroups. I found quite a few spamtraps and such. Unfortunately I don't think a smart spammer will really harvest those newsgroups. I think they'll setup exclusions to purposefully avoid them. However I did find some other people who are doing anti-spam work.

One of them posted a link to a porn site that had their web server misconfigured. The web server allows you to see the entire directory so you can see what files exist in it. The only HTML file in the web server is a web based form to "unsubscribe" from their mailing list. HOWEVER within the same directory is a file called removes.txt which is now over 1.1 Gigabyte! It is a flat text file containing a list of email addresses of people who have tried to unsubscribe. I signed up a specific email address so I can track it and see if these guys start to send me spam. I'm willing to bet this is how they are building their spam list. A remove script should REMOVE names, not add to their list!

There is a really mixed bag of spam, people posting test spamtrap email addresses, and legitimate emails. I'm going to spend some more time reading these newsgroups to see which ones might provide valid information to help in our quest to get more spam. I'll keep you posted of which seem to be the best:


Oh, I'm taking the rest of the weekend off!

Have a great New Year!
Ben Fitts


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