Can we talk about spam?!

I have a small pantload of accounts here at Dreamhost and everyone of them is complaining of a somewhat recent and major spike in the receiving of junkmail, I’ve noticed it on personal and business accounts as well.

I need to be able to speak intelligently on this to these PO’d people when they call so I’m hoping we can get some good info flowing through this thread, a reference for the ages even!

Now the specifics of the scenario that’s concerning me the most:
Some clients with very specific addresses assigned to their mailboxes (ie: John.Franklin.Doe@ etc etc) and that have never given out their email address outside of person to person business, or had it published on the web, are now receiving volumes of junkmail.

You can always expect a load to info@ sales@ webmaster@ etc etc but very specific extra virgin addresses like this?

My hypothesis is that the latest generation (or perhaps for quite some time?) of viruses are harvesting these addresses from personal address books/contact lists and sending them home for sale to spammers? Anyone know if that’s the case?

Anyone know of any other explanation for the obvious marked spike in inbox rubbish lately?

And most importantly, is there currently anything that can be done about it?


The only account I have at dreamhost that gets spammed has had no increase of late.

I have had my main domain for 5+ years now and I am lucky if I get 1 spam mail every other week to webmaster@

I have no idea why this is.

Could be. If you use IE & outlook then you should expect problems like this. I assume your clients have a decient firewall and virus protection?

And most importantly, is there currently anything that can be done about it?[/quote]

Get a decent mail client. Thunderbird deals with spam rather well but you do have to train it. Stop using IE. You could go all the way and stop using microsoft. OSX rocks and the new SUSE release is easy enough for everyone to use.

oh golly, while I appreciate your contribution please keep it on the spam track and not the OS war track! =) Client side has nothing to do with the volume of spam anyone receives does it?

As for the AV and firewall stuff, yeah, but it’s not the viruses that are the concern, they’re easily taken care of, it’s the spam. I metioned virii because I wondered if they weren’t the agents that are actually exposing these “good” email addresses to spammers by preying on someone else’s poor computing practices (Aunt Carol has my address, she gets a virus, virus grabs her address book and backdoors it out to a spammer/virus author).

As for your accounts receiving no increase… you’re a lucky man!!! :wink: Would you say that the people that would be likely to have your email address in their address book practice safe computing moreso than the average Joe?

Thanks Tancred


I don’t think MUA / OS advocacy is that relevant in this particular case; if spammers are harvesting addresses via viruses (which I think is a reasonable possibility, given the fact that spammers are paying virus authors to write viruses that create open HTTP proxies, zombies, and the like), it’s not YOUR addressbook that you’re worried about - it’s everyone who has your address in their addressbook, which (in most cases) will be all sorts of people, very likely including those using Lookout Distress on Windows. Like it or not, that’s what most people use.