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What Happens When You Reply To ALL of Your Spam

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i'm-sure-it-really-helps dept.

Spam 402

bednarz writes "For Tracy Mooney, a married mother of three in Naperville, Ill., the decision to abandon cyber-sense and invite e-mail spam into her life for a month by participating in a McAfee experiment was a bit of a lark. The idea of the Spammed Persistently All Month (S.P.A.M.) experiment — which fittingly started on April Fool's Day — was to have 50 volunteers from around the world answer every spam message and pop-up ad they got. Mooney was game, especially since McAfee was giving a free PC to all participants. She told her story to Network World."

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Long story short (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022717)

The Nigerian prince send her millions.
She got 1000 Valium for $4.
Her lover was more satisfied.
And she won an iPod.

And lived happily ever after. =)

Re:Long story short (5, Funny)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022807)

And lived happily ever after. =)

There is nothing happy in looking like a camping tent 24 hours a day... :( and no, I am not happy to see you.

Re:Long story short (5, Funny)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022823)

The Nigerian prince send her millions.
She got 1000 Valium for $4.
Her lover was more satisfied.
And she won an iPod.

And lived happily ever after. =)

...and her penis is now 23 million miles long.

Re:Long story short (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022897)

...and her penis is now 23 million miles long.

Yow! Turned she-male via e-mail.

Re:Long story short (4, Funny)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023175)

Spam, is there anything it can't do?

Re:Long story short (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023305)

Yes. Stop.

Re:Long story short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023345)

Stop spam?

Re:Long story short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023303)

Reminds me of this: http://deadmonkeycomics.com/blog/?page_id=325

Re:Long story short (0, Redundant)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023025)

A Nigerian once spent his time Concocting a Scam 419 A few mums and dads Spent all that they had Which just shows there's no end to the crime

Re:Long story short (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023049)

ERk! Sorry...

A Nigerian once spent his time

Concocting a Scam 419

A few mums and dads

Spent all that they had

Which just shows there's no end to the crime

Re:Long story short (3, Funny)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023027)

-If I was from Control you'd already be living happily ever after

-If you were from Control you'd already be living happily ever after

-Neither of us is living happily after, so I'm obviously not from Control.

Re:Long story short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023311)

Reminds me of the old joke about what happens when you play a country & western album backward - you win some money gambling, your dog comes back to life, your truck works again, your wife comes back to you, and a tornado deposits a mobile home where you used to live.

Free PC from MacAfee! Limited Offer! Reply today! (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022733)

I find the idea of doing this to receive a free PC a fantastic irony, don't you?

If done correctly, that could be useful. :) (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022839)

Considering all the spyware and such that was installed ... wouldn't an anti-virus company be interested in it?

Birds of a feather. Security Absurdity! (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022911)

They sell Windows AV. They have a lot in common with people offering "free iPods". Stunts like this serve two objectives: They advertise McAffee and they give the illusion that user actions make a difference. The false conclusion we are supposed to draw is that you can somehow be spam free if only you do this or that instead of this and that. This is well discussed in the Security Absurdity articles [securityabsurdity.com] . That attitude is required for both Windows and AV vendors to survive but people are not nearly as dumb as M$ needs them to be.

more irony (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022957)

My first reaction to the story was, "Good PR stunt...otherwise pointless"...until I RTFA and found this quote from the Naperville soccer mom regarding what she found in her in-box:

"It's all snake oil. I'm amazed at what true junk is out there when you're clicking through on e-mail."

Apparently people are less informed about spam than I thought, and this little one month 'contest' really is raising awareness and educating people...

Re:Free PC from MacAfee! Limited Offer! Reply toda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023249)

hehehehe

Re:Free PC from MacAfee! Limited Offer! Reply toda (4, Funny)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023261)

A bit, perhaps, but I view it as a practicality: They thoughtfully provide her with a replacement for what used to be her computer, but now is a smoking, virus- and trojan-infected hole in her desk..

Why a Windows PC? (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022737)

Since the point of the experiment wasn't to test the operating system, why give the test subjects the operating system currently most affected by malaware? Why not a Mac or presetup Linux box?

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022757)

Because in the article (I know, I know) they say that they also documented spyware, popup software, and general machine slowdowns from clicking on all the popup ads. That was kinda the point of the excersise.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023005)

I read the article too, I didn't get the sense that the effect on the PC was the primary thing being observed.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

failure-man (870605) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022785)

The point of the excercise was to see how fucked-over you could get if you went out of your way to do so. Why not?

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023327)

You have no idea how far people go out of their way to get fucked-over if you promise them riches.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022799)

Because Macs are completely immune to spyware and viruses the Windows and Linux people have to worry about 24/7?

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Funny)

Qatz (1209584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022883)

Because Macs are completely immune to spyware and viruses the Windows and Linux people have to worry about 24/7?

Yeah one time I found a linux virus! However I never did get it to run on my linux box...

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022943)

Look, it's easy, you just go on any of the Linux support sites where you'll get lot's of helpful people telling you what a noob you are for not editing /etc/virus.conf properly and then recompiling the kernel and anyway, if you had used the right distro then you could have used apt-get or up2date to download the virus properly and...

Re:Why a Windows PC? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022965)

Yeah one time I found a linux virus! However I never did get it to run on my linux box...

Really? it worked fine for me..

apt-get install virus

and it just worked.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Funny)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023061)

For those using Ubuntu and Firefox, there's also this link apt://virus [apt]

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023155)

The [X] I don't use apt, you ignorant clod! option:

"This is an open-source virus. Please delete some files at random and pass me along to 10 friends. Please don't break the chain. One sorry person broke the chain and the next day found someone had hacked into their computer and installed Vista."

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023157)

Yeah one time I found a linux virus! However I never did get it to run on my linux box...

There's a lib_compat_virus tarball in /pub/dist over at univ-mainz.de. Go get it and untar it. ./configure it with --enable-activex and --disable-pax, but also make sure to read the fucking install.txt for other configuration options relevant to your system. (I don't want to fucking hear from you if you don't RTFM!) Compile it with gcc 2.95, and sudo install it. Then edit /etc/virus.cf and set config_allow_tainted_nonGPL_virus to 0xFE. Your virus should work then.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

abirdman (557790) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023203)

Sometimes you have to recompile your kernel to get the virus to run. Just check the mailing lists. It's definitely doable!

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022893)

Because Macs and Linux machines are completely immune to spyware and viruses the Windows people have to worry about 24/7?

There, fixed it for you.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022953)

Ummm... Yah. So how do I install this "Linux virus"

/home/user> sudo apt-get install virus
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
E: Couldn't find package virus

Hmmm... Too hard for most Linux users to install.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (1)

rworne (538610) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022809)

Because the experiment was sponsored by McAfee, an antivirus/antimalware vendor. What did you expect?

Re:Why a Windows PC? (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022827)

Because Windows most needs help/replacement and that help/snake-oil is what McAfee sells.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022829)

Since the point of the experiment wasn't to test the operating system, why give the test subjects the operating system currently most affected by malaware[sic]?

Because the point of the experiment was to test the effect of replying to spam which has nothing to do with the operating system. They gave away PCs with the most popular operating system since they assumed that's what most of their participants would want.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022901)

Since the point of the experiment wasn't to test the operating system, why give the test subjects the operating system currently most affected by malaware[sic]?

Sorry for replying to the same comment twice, but I have to add this: This was sponsored by McAfee. Why in the hell would they give away Linux or Mac boxes? They try to sell products for those operating systems, but they make up almost none of their market base.

Re:Why a Windows PC? (2, Insightful)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023263)

Because McAfee focus on products for Windows.

They seemed legit... (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022765)

I tried to sign up for jobs that would generate an at-home income with what seemed like respectable sites, however these sites led to massive amounts of spam.

Idiot.

Re:They seemed legit... (4, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022947)

That was kinda the idea... deliberately reply to all of the spam in order to document what happens. She's not an idiot, she was pretending to be one.

I'd say RTFA, but then you might say I must be new here >.>

Re:They seemed legit... (4, Funny)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023163)

Well you must be since you're implying you read the article...

Link to Spam diaries (5, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022771)

McAfee Spam Experiment [mcafeespamexperiment.com]

Old spam (5, Informative)

Vollernurd (232458) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022775)

As much as it would be good if she did indeed win the free iPod and get her hands on all that va_l1um, most spam that gets stored on my spam folder looks to be pretty old. I got a circular/spam message from the depths of hell the other day telling me to keep an eye out for some astral phenomenon or other. A Google search revealed that said event occurred in about 2006.

Zombie relays sending out the same shite day after day. Most spam is totally useless. A bit like the Sky TV schedulers.

Re:Old spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023117)

Your statement implies that some useful spam exists. I've never found this to be true.

I did a bit of a war on spam... (5, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022779)

myself when I was new on the internet. I didn't know at first that the unsubscribe on the bottom of the email was just a way to verify that it was a live address, so I got lots.

What I decided was that the companies that were paying for the spam must like it, so I would click on the link in the spam, find their customer service email and copy it. Then I went to google and entered "subscribe enter email". After that I spent quite a lot of hours signing these companies up for all kinds of email. I hope they liked it. When I had to put in a name I entered Spam War.

Re:I did a bit of a war on spam... (2, Interesting)

eric76 (679787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023145)

I reply to spam automagically.

Whenever an e-mail arrives that doesn't fit any of several criteria, an automatic response is sent asking them to please encrypt their e-mail with my publically available PGP key. Their e-mail is then deleted and I never see it.

The criteria to receive the e-mail:
1) the e-mail is encrypted with my PGP key
2) the e-mail is signed with their PGP key
3) the source e-mail address is whitelisted
4) the IP address of the source of the e-mail is whitelisted (local e-mail permitted)
5) the destination e-mail address is whitelisted. For example, if me@example.com was my e-mail address, I might whitelist me+red_cat@example.com and me+silent_trombone@example.com, each of which would be given to exactly one person. If I start receiving spam at that address, it is unwhitelisted.

It seems that the Nigerian spammers really respond to this. They don't encrypt it, but they pass the address around to each other. The last time I checked the logs, the numbers of Nigerian spams were really up.

Please don't (5, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023207)

It sounds like you send an enormous amount of backscatter [wikipedia.org] , and are probably doing much more harm than good. It would be much better to simply drop the connection at SMTP time, rather than accepting and then generating a bounce. Or do like I do, and hold their connection open for a long time before actually dropping it.

Re:I did a bit of a war on spam... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023277)

One I saw years ago (I no longer have the link). Back when unsolicited spam was coming from actual companies one actually would reply complaining that they got an offensive letter from them.

The response spam mail he sent back had various words changed to various expletives. He actually got a few spammers to apologise.

well (4, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022783)

"Mooney says, noting that the sudden upsurge in junk mail left the neighborhood postman somewhat aghast. "It grew exponentially, so I stopped giving out my home address," she says, adding, "I am concerned about the environment.""

It's all well and good that she had an alias and a free pc to be subject to this open invitation for harassment, but to actually really give out your home address to these spammers is a bit reckless. She will, at a minimum, be regretting this for years since the "current resident" will be getting spam even if she directs the post office not to deliver mail to her alias.

A better address to use ... (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022903)

... would the address of your local waste recycling center.

Electronic spam is bad because the sender pays almost nothing (just bounces it through zombies).

But if the spammer is paying for PAPER to be delivered ... send more! Drive up their costs and drive them out of business.

Re:A better address to use ... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023167)

I love getting pre-paid business return envelopes in my mail. That way I can just send all the stuff that they send me right back to them. They pay to send it to me, and they pay to get it all back from me.

Re:A better address to use ... (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023225)

I love getting pre-paid business return envelopes in my mail. That way I can just send all the stuff that they send me right back to them. They pay to send it to me, and they pay to get it all back from me.

If it's from a spammer, do us all a favour - tape it to a box containing a cinder-block.

Re:well (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023223)

I noticed that too and have to wonder at the lack of brain-power at McAfee that they were not provided with fake addresses to use for this. Actually, not fake addresses, but a real address (PO Box or otherwise) that could be used to capture this mail for analysis, without placing study participants own addresses at risk.

I think the question needs to be asked: what useful thing are you going to do with the data gathered by this "experiment", or was it just a publicity stunt?

I think I already know the answer though.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023235)

agreed, home address was foolish, she should have been given a PO box for the experiment too.

Hey Networkworld.com, (3, Informative)

captnjameskirk (599714) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022789)

Not only did I find it ironic that an article about spam would be interrupted by an obnoxious pop-up that blackened the article in the background until clicking out of it, but I won't participate in your "survey" designed to send me more spam, and I won't be visiting your site anymore. kthnx

Re:Hey Networkworld.com, (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022963)

When you were finally able to click the close button, (it took 15 seconds for the ad to load for me), did it then redirect you to the same page you were already on?

In my case it did and it wasn't loading the style sheet data the second time the browser loaded the page.

What a messed up site and article.

Re:Hey Networkworld.com, (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022997)

Ahh, i wondered why it went dark halfway through :(

I suppose the pop-up was above the part i was reading...seems to defeat the purpose of a pop-up tho. I figured my time was up....with everything lately it seemed that letting me view content for only x seconds was a natural progression ;)

I can't buy v!agra if i wanted to...i get virtually no spam even on my 10 year old account. No idea what the secret is, but no idea how much qwest filters either.

Don't buy those ornaments that come every other month either. One purchase resulted in mailers for a dozen similar (and seperate, just send a damn catalog) offers in one week. 2 or 3 different company names but obviously related to my original purchase. Oh well, even my parents liked my dragon tree :)

Re:Hey Networkworld.com, (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023185)

That's why sane people use NoScript and ABP for firefox.

Worth the cost? (0, Redundant)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022859)

So, you get a "free" computer in exchange for replying to *every* spam email that you get each day?

They said the average US participant got 70 per day. Say an average of 30 seconds to a minute to reply to each? (Some asked to fill out forms, apply for job postings etc. so those should fall well over the one minute mark.)

I think you could easily hit an hour or more per day just replying to spam emails, for 365 days a year!

That's about 9 weeks of full time work, all for a computer that is going to be seriously f'd up with malware and spyware and really shouldn't be used for anything personal until the year is up and it's been reformatted.

So you get a year old computer after spending 9 weeks of your time answering lame spam messages.

Guess everyone has a different definition of "free".

(By comparison, if you spend 2 weeks working for $6 an hour you'd have almost $500 and could probably buy a computer as good as what you were given. If you worked the same 9 weeks you'd take home over $2k. )

Re:Worth the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022979)

Summary quote:

... invite e-mail spam into her life for a month...

Alcimedes quote:

just replying to spam emails, for 365 days

Do we have the first documented case of an alien posting on the internet? What planet are you on where a year lasts 365 days? Also, how did you manage to hookup to our internet?

Re:Worth the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023007)

What planet are you on where a year lasts 365 days?

What planet are you on where a year doesn't lasts (approximatly) 365 days?

You ment month.

Re:Worth the cost? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023147)

You ment month.

You meant meant.

Re:Worth the cost? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022987)

it was for 1 month, --> 2100 spam --> less than a week's work replying.

Re:Worth the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022989)

365 days? that's a heck of a long month.

Re:Worth the cost? (3, Informative)

plutoXL (1314421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023039)

The experiment is called S.P.A.M., not S.P.A.Y. Spammed Persistently All Month (not year). So you get a free computer for around 30 hours of work. Not too bad. RTFA.

Re:Worth the cost? (1)

Dimitrii (958525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023083)

I think you could easily hit an hour or more per day just replying to spam emails, for 365 days a year!

RTFSummary if not the article. It was a month not a year. Spammed Persistently All Month (S.P.A.M.)

Re:Worth the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023149)

I don't think any email service would actually deliver ALL the spam mails anyway. Even the worst ones have at least some cheap filter sorting out half of it.

Re:Worth the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023191)

RTFA: It's only 30 days.

Re:Worth the cost? (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023205)

I like how it's really obvious that the people with mod points didn't read the article either.

Re:Worth the cost? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023211)

70 per day is a pretty low number. Right now I've got an account which gets thousands of spam emails a week. In the last 2 days, it's received nearly 400 spam messages into the spam folder. And that's fairly typical. It sometimes will jump up to double that for periods.

There's no way that I could respond to that many emails even if I wanted to.

sounds familiar...oh yeah I remember now! (5, Informative)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022869)

Reminds of this great poem from years ago:

http://www.satirewire.com/features/poetry_spam/01free_winner.shtml [satirewire.com]

I Answered All My Spam

I never know what I might find,
on any day I go online.
I used to get in quite a huff,
while wading through unwanted stuff.
But then I changed the man I am,
the day I answered all my spam.

Now every time I check my box,
I load up on fantastic stocks.
I'll gladly say I felt no loss,
when, with a smile, I fired my boss.
With just one click, the best thing yet,
I freed myself of all my debt.

I have, paying a few small fees,
ten university degrees.
Now that I'm losing all this weight,
I'm sure, someday, I'll get a date.
Instead of going to a show,
I spy on everyone I know.
(That's easy, since I have in hand,
this nifty wireless video cam.)

I spend my evenings viewing screens,
of barely legal horny teens.
And with a little credit charge,
Whoopee! My penis was enlarged!
Meanwhile these shots of Britney Spears
should be enough to last for years.

And so I lead this online life,
my monitor is now my wife.
It has become my greatest dream,
to launch my own get-rich-quick scheme.
And if you think you might get missed,
relax, you're on my e-mail list.

Irony (4, Informative)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022875)

Too bad it won't let me read page two of the article because it first starts by trying to ask me to complete a survey about their site then starts redirecting me elsewhere. I think that qualifies as irony.

Re:Irony (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023055)

I had that happen as well. It refreshed to a text version. I then refreshed the page, it came back with no "Please tell us how bad we are doing" survey.

Wow, really shows who spam is coined at (4, Interesting)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022887)

Sentences like this sort of nails it: "It's all snake oil. I'm amazed at what true junk is out there when you're clicking through on e-mail."
It tells a sad tale about the people these spam messages are targeted at. You really don't have to be computer literate to figure out that all this is pure crap. Judging by the dumploads of messages that hits my spam filter every day there must be too many fools with computers and internet access waiting to be parted from their money. Some times I wonder if I should start spamming, we really don't have harsh sentences in Norway...

On a slightly offtopic note, she looks kinda M.I.L.F.!

Re:Wow, really shows who spam is coined at (5, Funny)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022973)

Are you saying you want to put your "spam" in her "inbox"?

The spammers are getting conned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023053)

Judging by the dumploads of messages that hits my spam filter every day there must be too many fools with computers and internet access waiting to be parted from their money.

Yeah, the spammers. You see, the folks making the money now are the folks selling the software and computers to spammers. So,it's really folks who think they can make easy money spamming.

I actually talked to a little old lady. She asked me why she was still getting these messages stating that she won a drawing based on a random selection of her email after deleting it from her inbox. She thought there was something wrong with her email client. I told her what was up. Long story short, she knew it was a scam. So, maybe one in a billion believes that shit.

Re:Wow, really shows who spam is coined at (5, Funny)

AndreR (814444) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023071)

On a slightly offtopic note, she looks kinda M.I.L.F.!

Oh oh, you just doubled the number of connection requests per second for networkworld.com.

Re:Wow, really shows who spam is coined at (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023231)

On a slightly offtopic note, she looks kinda M.I.L.F.!

That sound you're now hearing is half the Slashdot community clicking to actually "read" the article!

The next mail chain wave (4, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022905)

I can just see it coming ...


To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, But this is from my good friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney.

If she says that this will work - It will work. After all, What have you got to lose? SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I'm an attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured McAfee will follow through with their promises for this S.P.A.M. test mail.

Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. If you ignore this, You will repent later. McAfee is now the largest anti-virus software company and in an effort to make sure that their product remains the most widely used program, they are running an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, McAfee can and will track it ( If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks time period.

For every person that you forward this e-mail to, McAfee will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, McAfee will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, McAfee will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. McAfee contacted me for my address and within days, I receive a check for $2,500.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over.

Re:The next mail chain wave (2, Interesting)

i'm lost (1247580) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023033)

How does 245x + 243y + 241z = 2500, when x, y, and z are all positive integers?

Re:The next mail chain wave (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023159)

Only the SMTP headers went out...

I'm shocked. SHOCKED that spam is a scam! (5, Insightful)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022955)

I think her reaction to her spam is classic: "I was horrified," says Mooney, a realtor by profession. "It's all snake oil. I'm amazed at what true junk is out there when you're clicking through on e-mail."

Spammers love people like her--people so insulated by American corporate media that they think the internet is just another shopping mall. And what could possibly go wrong in a mall? God bless her.

Re:I'm shocked. SHOCKED that spam is a scam! (2, Interesting)

AMuse (121806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023127)

I also find it amusing as hell that she's a realtor by profession. I realize that a realtor can be helpful in an individual real estate transaction (mine sure was, recently) but AS A WHOLE I find their entire profession to be a leech on society, driving up housing values by 6% and engaging in incredibly anticompetitive behavior to try to keep the "Realtors' monopoly" on real estate transactions.

Her calling SPAM "snake oil" strikes me as vaguely ironic, considering her profession.

networkworld.com vs FF3 (1)

legenerationlazi (900274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022959)

Anyone have networkworld.com crash FF3 repeatedly? I couldn't even get through the first page =/

Re:networkworld.com vs FF3 (1)

h3 (27424) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022971)

Yup, same here. First time Firefox3 has crashed on me (outside of a few flash related hangs).

Re:networkworld.com vs FF3 (3, Funny)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023015)

Anyone have networkworld.com crash FF3 repeatedly?

Yeah, Kefka [wikipedia.org] got pretty mad.

Re:networkworld.com vs FF3 (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023085)

Yeah, Kefka got pretty mad.



Ummm.. Kefka is in Final Fantasy VI, which hasn't been called Final Fantasy III since 1994 for the US SNES release.

Re:networkworld.com vs FF3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023313)

Yeah, Kefka got pretty mad.

Ummm.. Kefka is in Final Fantasy VI, which hasn't been called Final Fantasy III since 1994 for the US SNES release.

I called it Final Fantasy III until some nerd corrected me!

Re:networkworld.com vs FF3 (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023259)

No but NoScript and ABP were waging war with the server. Eventually they won, but the server put up quite a struggle. It only took the page about 2 minutes to load improperly, and then another 45 seconds for the style sheets to be put in place.

These guys are a joke.

Slowdowns (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022975)

I wonder, if they ever compared the speed of a clean install of Windows with an anti-virus to a malware messed up install of Windows and see how fast they were. In most cases I find that the anti-virus computer is slower then the one with a ton of viruses!!! And this being McAfee, I don't think that they would worry about slowdowns much (can't read TFA it doesn't want to load or is Slashdotted) because it seems that any computer with McAfee/Norton/any other commercial AV, is slow, really slow. Even on XP with newer hardware it still is slow.

Re:Slowdowns (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023291)

That's exactly why I run AV manually... about once a month. I noticed that if I let the services run in the background while I try to play any games I get random framerate drops and all kinds of other weird happenings.

Re:Slowdowns (1)

commodore73 (967172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023293)

I agree that McAfee and Symantec both really slow down a PC, and I've worked for both of those vendors. I don't think ESET NOD32 makes my computer significantly slower, though you have to turn off the annoyances (outlook rescan and toolbar, splash screen, other junk). I am not sure about TrendMicro.

Re:Slowdowns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023331)

Try Antivir. I've been using it for years and I haven't noticed any slowdowns, not even with the on-access scanner enabled. Because frankly if you have a dozen virusses, you've got other things to worry about besides slowdowns.

Slow Server! (4, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023019)

[Article Text]

For Tracy Mooney, a married mother of three in Naperville, Ill., the decision to abandon cyber-sense and invite e-mail spam into her life for a month by participating in a McAfee experiment was a bit of a lark.

The idea of the Spammed Persistently All Month (S.P.A.M.) experiment which fittingly started on April Fool's Day was to have 50 volunteers from around the world answer every spam message and pop-up ad on their PC.

What would be the experience in 10 countries when everyday people, armed with a PC and e-mail account McAfee provided for the Global S.P.A.M. Diaries project, clicked through the spam and chronicled the results?

Mooney who had observed the family's PC crippled just before Christmas by a virus was game, especially because McAfee was giving a free PC to all participants. She was selected to be among the 50 volunteers picked by McAfee out of 2,000 people who applied to be part of the adventure.

By the time it was all over, after every bank-account phishing scam, Nigerian bank scheme, and offer for medication, adult content and just plain free stuff had been pursued. "I was horrified," says Mooney, a realtor by profession. "It's all snake oil. I'm amazed at what true junk is out there when you're clicking through on e-mail."

McAfee is releasing the results Tuesday of its free-wheeling month-long S.P.A.M. experiment, done largely to illustrate if you didn't know already how spam is connected to malware and criminal activity, not to mention some of the slimiest marketing ever devised.

Each S.P.A.M. volunteer saw an average of 70 spam messages arrive in their in-box each day, with men receiving about 15 more per day than women. That was a lot to answer, but "Penelope Retch" the alias that Mooney chose for her S.P.A.M. adventure answered every single message.

In her guise as Penelope Retch, Mooney answered the e-mail that came into her account. "I'd see an interactive spam, open it, click on it and asked to be removed. That would only make it worse," she says. "They'd say 'no.'"

Whether trying to win an iPod online, get free travel brochures, weight-loss tea or Maybelline eyeliner, the effect of entering a home address was extreme. Immediately, a deluge of mail landed at her doorstep, directed to the attention of Penelope Retch.

"One of the mail offers I got was a $7,500 credit card for Penelope Retch," Mooney says, noting that the sudden upsurge in junk mail left the neighborhood postman somewhat aghast. "It grew exponentially, so I stopped giving out my home address," she says, adding, "I am concerned about the environment."

Mooney clicked through on the phishing e-mails for fake Wells Fargo and other bank sites, sat back as the supposed government of Nigeria sought to give her an inheritance, and watched a foreign IP address go after a dummy PayPal account that had been set up as part of the S.P.A.M. experiment.

Overall, the most obvious result of the S.P.A.M. experiment was that the PC that McAfee had provided for the project noticeably slowed down, clogged up with spyware, Mooney says.

According to McAfee, which selected five participants from each of 10 countries for the S.P.A.M. experiment, the five U.S. participants received the most spam: 23,233 messages over the course of the month.

Brazil and Italy were in the 15,000-plus category, and Mexico and United Kingdom above 10,000. Australia, The Netherlands and Spain were in the 5,000 to 9,000-plus spam range. The S.P.A.M. volunteers in France and Germany got the least, less than 3,000 for the month. McAfee didn't even include what it calls "grey mail" (e-mail that arrived after participants signed up for a newsletter, for example) in this count.

Phishing e-mail accounted for 22% of the spam received by the Italian volunteers and 18% of the U.S. ones. In general, spam appears to still largely be delivered in English; French- and German-language spam were the only non-English spam to amount to more than 10% of spam received by the participants in France and Germany respectively.

Some oddball facts that emerged from the experiment are that fake Chase.com was the most common phishing e-mail spotted during the project, and that the British volunteers received the most Nigerian scam e-mail.

In addition to Mooney, the other S.P.A.M. participants also kept a blog about the experience, which some found amusing and others disturbing. One participant in Australia named Marika wrote, "I don't know whether I would feel safe to surf to that extent again. I tried to sign up for jobs that would generate an at-home income with what seemed like respectable sites, however these sites led to massive amounts of spam."

English rules (3, Interesting)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023035)

The article mentioned that far the majority of spam, even to countries where the official language is not English, was in English.


There are lots of ways to interpret this, including that English speakers are idiots, but whatever else the spammers aren't being politically correct. They're using English because that is the way to reach people, and for the most part it doesn't pay to translate the same message into another language, even though that can't be very expensive.

Re:English rules (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023079)

or the most plausable answer... the machines were zombies, just spitting out whatever spam the zombie master wanted

She must be very patient (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023097)

I think many/most of us groan at the very thought of more junky emails in the inbox.

OMG!!11One (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24023189)

Frost Pits

Point: "Reply" doesn't mean "Hit the reply button" (1)

RexDevious (321791) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023199)

The "From" and "Reply To" fields of spam are invariably fake, or spoofed. If two people use a program like BoxTrap, and one of them gets a spam using the other's email address, they'll either automatically white list each other, or create an endless challenge response loop.

I wrote a program which replies to all suspected spam (modified challenge-response), and the only thing that happened was I got my webhost black listed and they temporarily suspended the account. I dropped it to 2 accounts, and reset the chron job to run every 5 minutes instead of every 1 minute, and there hasn't been a problem since.

Though looking at the spam trap, I am still getting a good 400 spams a day. The only way I've found to reduce it is to send a bounce *and* a challenge response. Spammers will knock off bounces, but real people will ignore them if there's also a challenge response. But I haven't taken the time to figure out how to do that with PHP on a reseller account yet.

Practical Value? (2, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 6 years ago | (#24023279)

It'd be nice if the experiment had taken a more practical approach.

For instance, the experiment would have been potentially useful if Penelope Retch had a few honeypot credit cards and bank accounts to give out to spammers and phishing websites.

Also of interest (at least to /.ers), the address I formerly used in my usenet sig still gets a TON of pornographic spam, promising some rather graphic scenery... and apparently I'm not all that uncommon. Did any of her volunteers reply to the pr0n spam? Did they get a deluge of pornographic material on their doorsteps?

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