Posts Tagged ‘How-To’

Spam: Fighting Back!

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Tips & Tricks
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Before you read on, this how-to post is specific to the Mac OS X mail client (Mail), but should be just as easy to set up in other mail clients that support custom mail filtering.

You probably hate spam mails just as much as I do, so share with you what you can do to fight back and hopefully make the spammer blacklist your e-mail from their “service”. Keep in mind, while reading this, the process of retrieving information about the owner is not necessary if you already know the individual or company’s e-mail address — which is ultimately what we’re looking for. Spam services often mask their identity, or make it hard to find any contact details about them (and you can’t reply to spam-mail), which is why we need to go find them ourselves. For the sake of demonstration I’ll be trying to find my e-mail knowing only a domain.

Firstly, identify the owner of the domain from which the spam is coming from. This can be done via whois services, for example http://www.whois.net/. For example, if you were to look up my domain at http://www.casperbhansen.dk/ you’d be presented with these informations about the owner  (in this case me);

[Querying whois.dk-hostmaster.dk]
[whois.dk-hostmaster.dk]
# Hello 131.103.218.176. Your session has been logged.
#
# Copyright (c) 2002 - 2011 by DK Hostmaster A/S
#
# The data in the DK Whois database is provided by DK Hostmaster A/S
# for information purposes only, and to assist persons in obtaining
# information about or related to a domain name registration record.
# We do not guarantee its accuracy. We will reserve the right to remove
# access for entities abusing the data, without notice.
#
# Any use of this material to target advertising or similar activities
# are explicitly forbidden and will be prosecuted. DK Hostmaster A/S
# requests to be notified of any such activities or suspicions thereof.

Domain:               casperbhansen.dk
DNS:                  casperbhansen.dk
Registered:           2009-05-01
Expires:              2012-05-31
Registration period:  1 year
VID:                  no
Status:               Active

Nameservers
Hostname:             ns1.dnsplus.dk
Hostname:             ns2.dnsplus.dk
Hostname:             ns3.hosting2.dk

# Use option --show-handles to get handle information.
# Whois HELP for more help.

From this information, you can see that my site is hosted by a company called ‘DK Hostmaster’, so now we’ll go to the hosting company’s site and see if we can get some contact information on their client (me) — now this site is in Danish by default, but there is an English version available if you want to follow along with me in the process of retrieving the necessary information.

On the main page, we can search for available .dk domains in the box with the title ‘Find .dk domænenavn’ (or in English ‘Find .dk domain name’) — so we’ll search for ‘casperbhansen.dk’, and voila!

The return result has several informations about the owner (me) and how to contact me. From here on out, you can decide how you want to combat the problem; you could try calling them by phone and talk them into blacklisting your e-mail from their service, you could do the same by visiting the address, or as I do, find an e-mail associated with that individual/company responsible and let them taste their own medicine.

So, armed with a name/company, telephone number and address, finding an e-mail address should be easy, especially since most spam-services would be associated with a company. There are several ways of doing this; try searching for the company name, and an e-mail address should be easy to find on their website, or searching for a company associated with the telephone number or address should be just as easy.

Well then, now that we have an e-mail address, let’s perform our counter-attack!

  1. Open up Mail and under the ‘Junk Mail’ pane in the preferences window and make sure that ‘Filter junk mail before applying my rules’ is unchecked.
  2. Afterward, go to the ‘Rules’ pane in the preferences window.
  3. Click the ‘Add Rule’ button and set up the rule as shown below, where ‘spam-domain.com’ corresponds to the domain from which you are receiving spam, and the ‘mail@company-domain.com’ corresponds to the contact e-mail address you found at the company’s site.
  4. Click the ‘Message…’ button to add a message to the spammer if you want, maybe something along the lines of ‘I believe this belongs to you.’
  5. Click ‘OK’ and you’re good to go!
From now on, mail sent to you from the spam domain will bounce (get forwarded) to the company’s contact e-mail address — which will probably annoy them quite a bit. Oh, and any mails received from that domain will never appear in your inbox ever again, as it is automatically trashed.
I hope you enjoyed this article and make good use of it — let’s show these bastards that we’re not that easily fucked with, have fun!