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Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-25-2005, 05:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I’m having a serious problem with spam, receiving as many as 950 a day, and double-checking my spam filter is killing me – yes, even the best of the breed do make mistakes!

The spam is coming into my own domain, and unfortunately over the years I’ve been very creative with email addresses, giving each merchant a unique address like honda@mydomain.com etc. These all come to me through the catch-all feature, and it’s cool to see who is using addresses first given to others, and stuff like that.

But now I’m being flooded with emails to george@... mary@... brett@... sysops@... info@... and so forth, sometimes a hundred in an hour. So, yes, if I hadn’t been creative, I could just dump the catch-all and configure the domain to delete any emails not sent to a registered email address.

Ok, thanks for sticking in there – my question – is my current spam rate typical given the situation, or should I look at a different hosting outfit? Reliable email is very important to me, and I’m paying a premium for good hosting, but, still…

Thanks for any ideas,

Lynn
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-25-2005, 05:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dude, That's a ot of spam! I completely jumped to a new domain 3 years ago and quit using my prior email adresses so it might not be a good comparison but I get 10 or 12 on a bad day.

I'm changing to a new domain right now although this time I'll be sticking with the old one a while as well. I know the the guy running the older site's hosting and he's agressive about spam filtering; we had to have him back off a bit.

I'm using IX Web Hosting for the new site and so far no spam... but it's a new account.

I'm using Thunderbird for email and it's about 80% accurate on flagging spam. I don't have my email address integrated into my browser specifically to cut down on spam.

The catch-all and identifying addresses seems like a good idea to me. I wonder if you're being targeted.
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-25-2005, 06:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Is your web server capable of using asp or php? Having your email address in the html code of your webpage leaves your address open to spammers. If you use a form using one of the programming languages like asp (Windows) or php (Linux) then your address is hidden from spam spiders.

Here is one example I found online of a php form you can copy and paste (if your server uses php).

I use a php form on my site and I haven't had any problems at all from spammers. It can get complicated if you're not a programmer (I'm not)... I pay someone monthly to host my php form for me. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Hope this helps...

Sam
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-25-2005, 08:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sam gave you some good info. You'll find that any address with a clickable email link that is just plain text will get spam. Once an address is found that way, a lot of the spammers now take the domain and run a long list of common names/email addresses against it, so you get lots and lots of spam if you're the postmaster account (that's who gets all of the email that can't find anywhere else in the domain to go.) You could probably create registered email addys for all of the creative addresses you can remember and then dump bounced/invalid email instead of wading through it.

And, if you do a google search, you'll find lots of java scripts you can embed in a web page that will encrypt the mailto links so the bots can't pick them out. That will help reduce the new spam you get.

Dan
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-25-2005, 08:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A few points...

1) Spam is indeed on the rise. More and more each day.
2) Scrap your catch all (i.e. nobody) alias. They are completely useless. They amount to nothing more than a spam magnet.
3) Take the time and create accounts or aliases for what you really need - don't rely on the catch-all. Why accept mail for clown-penis@whatever_domain.com?
4) If all else fails, I refer you to one a service called mxGuard . I guarantee you will see a drastic reduction in spam. We scan each incoming message for spam and viruses.
5) Admittedly, item 4 is a shameless plug for my company [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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me too
Old 05-26-2005, 02:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I made the same mistake you did: Every time I signed up for a website, I gave that site a unique signup name as amazon@apstudio.com, fedex@apstudio.com, etc, thinking that at some point I could filter (delete) email from those sources that stole those email addresses and started sending spam. The problem of course is that the spammers don't always use (or show) that unique address in the TO: field of their spam, so now I just use my own main address and I'm slowly changing those that I still get valid email from to my main address. I too get over 1200 spams a day, probably because of this and the live link I still have on my site, but its not my main email address, and I can always change that one.

The problem I have with most spam programs that do scoring or work from ratings is that they are not perfect and you have to put up with real spam that sneaks into your mailbox, and check the rejected box for wrongly tagged valid email. You have to keep checking both lists.

What I did do was sign up for SpamArrest about 18 months ago, and it frankly has saved me. The beauty of it (it is a challenge-response system) is that it is 100% effective in keeping spam out, unless the spammer is actually willing to go through the procedure to manually put himself on my approved list of senders (in which case I manually put him on the black list). When I check my email in the morning, there are usually 20 or so emails, every one of them valid - no spam. Once or twice a day I might log onto the SpamArrest site and look over my un-verified emails, but I don't have to, and by sorting them by sender, can usually pick out a legitimate email before the sender gets around to responding to the challenge, so I manually approve it myself and delete all the rest. (I'm also using a server based system to delete spam emails based on certain domains and keywords, but that's unique to my ISP). SpamArrest is only $40/year and you can sign up at the link below. They also have full IMAP mail tools (with no ads) and I've used it for a long time with no problems. Can't recommend it enough and it works with any ISP, has user defined white and black lists, and special provisions for mailing lists that you belong too (like GG). SpamArrest

I think if I didn't use both of the anti-spam tools I have, I'd be getting about 2500 bogus emails a day, not including the occaisional spam blast, now I get none of it.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-26-2005, 02:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
3) Take the time and create accounts or aliases for what you really need - don't rely on the catch-all.

[/ QUOTE ]

I don't understand your point here. I have a number of domains and I simply set the catchall address to delete all mail received at any address other than those that I specifically set up to receive email. This works perfectly for me and has for many years. For example, I setup roger@mydomain.com to receive email and I have that address forward to my real email address. Anyother email such as anyone@mydomain.com is not forwarded, but simply deleted automatically. What could be simpler.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-26-2005, 08:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
I don't understand your point here. I have a number of domains and I simply set the catchall address to delete all mail received at any address other than those that I specifically set up to receive email.

[/ QUOTE ]

The problem here is that the mail server continues to receive email for bogus users. You may be deleting it but the fact that the mail server is receiving these messages instead of stopping the smtp transaction with an 'invalid user' response means that the server resources and network bandwidth are being wasted. No big deal for one domain but when you support thousands, it affects the quality of service as well as bandwidth costs.
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Re: Spam and Web Hosting
Old 05-26-2005, 10:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Easy way to cure the problem is not to use a "Catch all" on your server. Only accept emails to a valid address. Also another way to help stop spam is to use an email like xzx.aaaaaa@mydomain.com or xzx_aaaaaaa@mydomain.com.

Seems that the spam generator programs don't use these configurations.

Switching to these formats will reduce the spam. Also on your own server don't forget to turn off the catch all, only accept email to a valid address.
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Re: Thanks Everyone!
Old 05-26-2005, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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some very good ideas here, thanks to all : )
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