Readers Launch Anti-spam Counter Insurgency

eLABorations: After her article on "How to Slam Spam", eWeek Labs Anne Chen received some good reader responses on additional anti-spam tactics

This past week, Ive gotten so much reader mail responding to a special report on spam that eWeek Labs published last week that its become obvious Im not the only one inundated by bogus medical offers and promises of lower mortgage rates.

The message from these readers was certainly loud and clear: Enterprises are drowning in spam, and IT managers and end users alike are very unhappy about the situation.

To give you an idea of how displeased people are with spam these days, one reader went so far as to suggest the punishment for spam be jail time, and plenty of it. Another advocated that receivers of unsolicited e-mail band together to give spammers a taste of their own medicine by spamming them back.

But perhaps the most creative, and well-thought solution was one submitted by Sandy Murdock, a database programmer in Ontario, Canada.

After realizing that all registrars are required to keep accurate information, Mr. Murdock said he did a whois search on the domain of a particularly offensive spammer. He sent e-mail to the registered owners of the domain and when they bounced back, forwarded the information to their registrar. Generally, domain holders are required to notify their registrar of any address or information changes within 48 hours or risk having their accounts frozen. The result? The account was frozen and the domain is now inaccessible.

"I recently made it my mission to destroy spam," he wrote. "I realize my reaction is more extreme than most, but once I realized that all registrars are required to keep accurate information, it became much easier...Oh, and I really hate SPAM."

You think?

So far, Murdock has used this tactic to take down two sites and is ready to take down a few more. While tracking down spammers is a time-consuming effort, Murdock says its certainly a mission worth his while.

Id also like to give a shout-out to eWeek Newsletter subscriber Jeff Young for pointing out that the eWeek Enterprise Update containing links to my "How to Slam Spam" story was actually tagged as spam by his filter (SpamCOP.) Apparently, our mail server address has been blacklisted by at least one service for sending spam. Mr. Young found the situation humorous. Some of you didnt.

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Anne Chen is busy helping the King of the Democratic Republic of Congo with a CONFIDENTIAL matter, but shed still like to hear from you. Write to her at