SCOUG OS/2 For You - February 1998
Internet SIG Happenings
The Internet is growing rapidly and SCOUG's Internet SIG meets every month to share experiences on this amazing new frontier. At the January meeting they discussed carpetbaggers! That's right, spammers. The bane of newsgroups and email servers, spam is generally categorized as email or other messages you don't want. Actually, spam is just a rudimentary attempt to use the superb efficiency and broad range of the Internet's services to make a few bucks.
As with most competitive endeavors, you can use offense or defense; fight or flee. Fighting involves sending a reply, asking to be left alone. This doesn't always work since spammers are often more interested in their own activities than yours, and it actually reinforces their approach by confirming your address as legitimate! Also, they often fake their return address so you can't complain to them or their postmaster. You can learn to understand these "spoofed" headers using techniques described in the alt.spam FAQ at
Your real objective is to not be pestered by spammers. Since nuking them is difficult, a better approach might be just laying low. The FAQ also discusses this. A more active defense is to raise your shields. There aren't many anti-spam programs available for OS/2 yet, but your mail program probably has some effective support in the built-in filter capabilities. The Internet SIG analyzed a couple of dozen spams and determined that most of them had one or more of three simple characteristics. Many have anonymous or cheap accounts which include numerals in the username of the address. A surprising number use multiple exclamation points in the subject line!!! And quite a few have the word FREE in the subject line. As a test, the SIG built a set of filters in MR/2 ICE and sent mails with these characteristics to a junk box. They also discussed adding filters to allow those mails to come in.
One SIG member has found a new REXX script that provides active analysis and filtering of ICE mails. Go to the ISIG web site from www.scoug.com for more links on this dynamic subject, for free.
If you'd like to present something, discuss your experiences, ask questions, or just join the fun and share the cookies, come to the SIG meetings on the 4th Mon. each month, 7-9:30 PM. Feb. 23rd's meeting will focus on Internet dialers, HTML4, web authoring tools, and data warehousing. Questions, contact Dave Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
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