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The Battle Against Junk Mail and Spyware

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the no-quarter-no-quarter dept.

Spam 312

wildfrontiersman writes "A New York Times editorial by Brent Staples, The Battle Against Junk Mail and Spyware on the Web, laments 'The story of technology is the story of noble aspirations overtaken by a hard-core huckster reality. This process is on vivid display in the debate about electronic junk mail, which makes up more than half of all the e-mail that travels on the Internet.' He criticizes the new spam law, the lack of attention to spyware and how it threatens our beloved internet."

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Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869533)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

You know it's going to be a good year (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869876)




When we start it off with the happy deaths of 133 french citizens. wOOt!

FREE HOMO-PEDO-NECROPHILIA PORN AT ANTI-SLASH.ORG (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869534)

If you are really into a bunch of fat geek guy losers fucking dead boy corpses up what was once a living, functional poop chute, then you'll love all the corpsefucking at Anti-Slash! [anti-slash.org] A website that thinks they can revolutionize Slashdot, but all they end up doing is fucking boy corpses! What a bunch of loser faggots! Watch as they pretend to be better when they are doing nothing but the same shit as Slashdot. Sign up for your account today and pretend you are not a loser!

Re:FREE HOMO-PEDO-NECROPHILIA PORN AT ANTI-SLASH.O (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869573)

you are one sad loser. trying to troll the trolls? what a hero you are.

Re:FREE HOMO-PEDO-NECROPHILIA PORN AT ANTI-SLASH.O (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869588)

Well, they appear to have DoS'd somehow.

Re:FREE HOMO-PEDO-NECROPHILIA PORN AT ANTI-SLASH.O (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869590)

Who is trolling? It is a form of crap flooding, big difference. Maybe it's Taco trying to counter the antislash folk :)

Boring. (2, Informative)

I'm back (737470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869538)

Try this link. However, for what it's worth, the editorial can be summarised to "Congress' new law won't work. Won't somebody think of the children!"

Re:Boring. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869561)

Try this link [nytimes.com] . However, for what it's worth, the editorial can be summarised to "Congress' new law won't work. Won't somebody think of the children!"

From URL: "partner=UmaThurman"... Nice :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869597)

I was expecting goatse. Nice touch on the subtlety.

Re:Boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869628)

Blew the shift on the AC post and the followup you missed the link. Ah, it's getting late. The Uma Thurman ref was nice. Guess they'll take any PARTNER= as long as the other fields are good. Have you tried playing with the other values to see what you get? It's interesting...

Re:Boring. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869642)

For a while I was karmawhoring NYTimes links but with "partner=SLASHDOTSUCKS". Ahh, the good old days...

4th post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869541)

for teh GNAA

-JesuitX

Obligatory Google Link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869549)

for the tin-foil hat crowd, posted AC to avoid Karma-whoring, here. [nytimes.com]

Re:Obligatory Google Link (2, Informative)

Durin_Deathless (668544) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869635)

For when no google link can be had, use this little javascriptlet [tuxserver.ath.cx] , just it to your bookmarks(note that I linked to a document containing the source, just paste it where an URI goes in a bookmark). You usually have to tweak the username and email a little, but that is all. Right now, I am zhfyrw90 on nytimes, but that is only now. I don't even know what the password is....

javascript:function%20getString(len)%7Bvar%20chars =new%20Array('a','b','c','d','e','f','g','h','i',' j','k','l','m','n','o','p','q','r','s','t','u','v' ,'w','x','y','z','A','B','C','D','E','F','G','H',' I','J','K','L','M','N','O','P','Q','R','S','T','U' ,'V','W','X','Y','Z','1','2','3','4','5','6','7',' 8','9','0');var%20str=chars%5BMath.floor(Math.rand om()*52)%5D;for(var%20i=1;i%3Clen;i++)%7Bstr=str+c hars%5BMath.floor(Math.random()*62)%5D%7Dreturn%20 str%7Dfunction%20setFields()%7Bvar%20idx,F=documen t.forms;for(var%20i=0;i%3CF.length;i++)%7Bif(F%5Bi %5D.action.toUpperCase().indexOf('REGI')!=-1)%7Bid x=i;break%7D%7Dvar%20login=getString(Math.floor(Ma th.random()*8)+6);var%20passw=getString(8);var%20e mail=getString(Math.floor(Math.random()*4)+12)+'@' +getString(Math.floor(Math.random()*5)+4)+'.com';d ocument.forms%5Bidx%5D.login.value=login;document. forms%5Bidx%5D.passwd1.value=passw;document.forms% 5Bidx%5D.passwd2.value=passw;document.forms%5Bidx% 5D.email.value=email;document.forms%5Bidx%5D.gende r_check%5B0%5D.checked=true;document.forms%5Bidx%5 D.zip.value='99999';document.forms%5Bidx%5D.birth_ year.value=Math.floor(Math.random()*50)+30;documen t.forms%5Bidx%5D.country.options%5BMath.floor(Math .random()*200)+1%5D.selected=true;document.forms%5 Bidx%5D.income_select.options%5BMath.floor(Math.ra ndom()*10)+1%5D.selected=true;document.forms%5Bidx %5D.industry_select.options%5BMath.floor(Math.rand om()*36)+1%5D.selected=true;document.forms%5Bidx%5 D.title_select.options%5BMath.floor(Math.random()* 36)+1%5D.selected=true;document.forms%5Bidx%5D.fun ction_select.options%5BMath.floor(Math.random()*16 )+1%5D.selected=true;document.forms%5Bidx%5D.paper _select.options%5BMath.floor(Math.random()*4)+1%5D .selected=true%7DsetFields();void(null)

Re:Obligatory Google Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869641)

What we need is a "+1, Whore" moderation that doesn't count towards Karma, like Funny mods do now. Or, if "Whore" it to risque, make it "+1, Beggar" or something.

Re:Obligatory Google Link (-1, Offtopic)

scotch (102596) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869819)

Tired of not being able to express the exact moderation you want? Discouraged by the ancient and inadequate slasdot moderation categories? Well dispair no more, you and your moderating friends can construct the moderation you think a post deserves with these handy moderation recipes:

  • Overrated + Informative = Whore
  • Funny + Flamebait = Sarcastic
  • Funny + Flaemebait + Flaimbait = Asshole
  • Overrated + Redundant = Moron
  • Insightful + Flamebait = Inciteful
  • Troll + Interesting = Kooky
  • Funny + Insightful = Funny-Because-It's-True
  • Funny + Flamebait = Funny-Because-It-Hurts
  • Offtopic + Interesting = Irrelevant
  • Underrated + Overrated + Interesting + Redundant = Ambiguous
  • Flaembait + Troll = Asshat
  • Flamebait + Underrated + Insightful = The-Truth-Hurts
  • Interesting + Interesting + Overrated + Overrated + Overrated = Misinformation
  • Insightful + Insightful + Overrated + Redundant = SlashBorgy
  • Offtopic + Troll + Redundant + Flamebait + Overrated = Evil
  • Insightful + Interesting + Informative = Innovative
  • Informative + Offtopic + Offtopic = Pedantic

Construct your own recipes! It's Offtopic+Interesting=Irrelevant Fun!!!!

(c) 2004 by scotch, all rights waived

Brent Staples the author (2, Informative)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869559)

Is this the black activist Brent Staples? The guy who wrote "Parallel Time"? If it is, then he seems to really be branching out in terms of subject matter. He's not a regular for the NYT, is he?

Re:Brent Staples the author (4, Informative)

Lshmael (603746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869605)

as this biography [pbs.org] (warning, embedded Quicktime!) points out:

Brent Staples is an editorial writer for The New York Times. He holds a PhD in psychology from The University of Chicago. His memoir, Parallel Time: Growing up in Black and White, was the winner of the Anisfield Wolff Book Award, previously won by such writers as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston.

Michael is for freedom? -1 FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869560)

Sure! Thanks Michael, freedom and free speech man extroidereir.

Spyware is getting really bad (5, Interesting)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869562)

A year ago, spyware wasn't nearly as bad as it is now. I was at a friend's house trying to show him some stuff from my gallery on his P4 2.0ghz, and it choked by starting Internet Explorer. 3 toolbars over each other, hard drive spinning like hell because all the ram is eaten up by spyware...

Had to run Spybot, ad-aware, spybot, ad-aware over and over for like 2 hours while rebooting to get rid of everything...

At least the latest Norton Antivirus scans some of it and so does Network Associate's antivirus. I wish Trend Micro's would do it too, it probably will soon...

Re:Spyware is getting really bad (5, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869609)

Yes, I know... I have once been called in for someone that didn't manage to run a (quite old game for the time, The Sims if IIRC) on a P-IV 2.0GHz. Indeed, it was unplayable. Task-manager reported 100% usage in idle situation (Windows XP).

Needless to say: I did like you... Spent hours cleaning the damned thing. Then I did what any sensible person does: download Mozilla, set the skin to IE (so that the idiot users won't notice), enable pop-up blocking, and set it as default browser.

Never heard any complains of that person again, and he can play The Sims now. Sometimes, people need to be forced to use the right software.

Safeguards (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869764)

Switching to Mozilla will protect you from abusive BHOs and toolbars. But those are easy to get rid of. The worst -- most tenacious and disruptive -- spyware uses the stupid little "custom features" hooks that Windows is full of. The only way you can completely avoid those is to never download a shareware or freeware app, ever. Somehow, I doubt such a strategy will catch on.

It doesn't help that spyware databases software databases have gotten so undiscriminating. You run a spyware scanner, and even the best ones raise red flags over stuff that has some of the features of spyware, but simply isn't. These include customer support tools like backweb. Yes, these can be abused, but ultimately anything you install in your system can be abused. It's simply a question of whether you trust whoever provided the software. Gator and Alexa have used up our trust. Backweb and the CS orgs that use it have not.

There's also the cookie issue. Yes, cookies are a grave threat to privacy. But the solution is in your browser: configure it use a good privacy policy, or if you totally hate cookies, not to accept them at all. Scanning the cookie database is a waste of time. Yet all adware scanners insist on doing it.

Re:Safeguards (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869829)

Yes, you are right. Let's take the example of Kazaa. Well, that is part of my explanations about spyware... Use freebies and you're screwed. I explain them my philosophy of a stable computer: identify the needs, install what you need, and keep it that way. If you need anything else, ask me, I'll tell you if you can install it safely.
Yes, this gives me a lot of emails, but it takes 10 minutes to give them a good alternative or give them the "OK".

For Kazaa, I say "No" and point them to Gnucleus. Yes, there is less choice, but if they just want the latest Britney Spears Album it will do. Usually I point them to Opensource Projects that are safe to my knowledge.

I pity no one (2, Insightful)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869645)


I run a Windows XP machine for music editing and I use it online plenty too, and to date I have yet to worry about spyware, or worms. I don't have some ultra fancy shmancy set on the Win machine because I don't care that much about it. Now... I do contracting work at a mid sized Uni from time to time (I work at an ISP), and whenever at the Uni, I would see students' machine flooded with tons of spyware, viruses, you name it they had it. After fixing things for some of these kids while there, a call would come in an hour later, ONE HOUR, same kid, same viruses, same spyware.

See what happens is, people who are using Windows are using it mainly because of ease of use, at least that's my take on it, and it's easy to trick many Windows users to open up stupid mail, get horny guys to open up "Bratney Spears nude!" emails, as well as leechers to swap files a-la kazaa. ... Sorry to say I have no pity on most Windows users. Me I have everything from sparcs to ultras to i386's, and I've NEVER, NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER have gotten spyware, nor a virus. And no... I don't use antivirus software because my home gateway (NetBSD) filters garbage out before it comes in.

Re:I pity no one (2, Interesting)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869706)

I've NEVER, NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER have gotten spyware, nor a virus.

Have you scanned for spyware? I can tell you that all it takes to get spyware is to follow one of the links on http://news.google.com using IE with ActiveX enabled. Needless to say, I don't do ever do this.

Re:I pity no one (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869724)

You shouldn't pity clueful users that get spyware. You should however help correctly. That is protect them from their own cluenessless.

Typically, this is install adaware to get rid of the junk, and then patch their goddamned systems. Install Mozilla, set it default give it an IE skin, block popups and remove iexplore.exe from their system. Set firewall (of your choice), add an AV ( http://www.grisoft.com for a free as in beer one) and explain the basics. Scare the crap out of them by exaggerating a bit what spyware really does.

I found that this works. People where I pass rarely get viruses and spyware. I have whole bunch of clueless people that I help. Yes, here at home with 4 clueless users, I standardized how they get on the internet (OpenBSD filters the crap) and I have yet to see them get infected with spyware and viruses.

Help the clueless... those who should have a clue get no pity. However, I never encountered anyone with a clue that doesn't know the above.

Re:I pity no one (1)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869771)

In theory, that's an excellent idea. I tried to do just that to a computer-retarded friend who had bloated XP with spyware from certain... sites he commonly goes to. I put on Opera, an IE skin, imported his favorites, and did everything else I could think of to make it as friendly as possible. After two days he called be to give him his precious IE back. Would you believe it was because he couldn't figure out how to use Opera's bookmarks? Some people are truly beyond help.

Re:I pity no one (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869813)

Well.... Okay, there are morons that can't be helped. (Opera wasn't the best choice, a lot of people can't manage it as far as I have seen) However someone that can't use Mozilla, I haven't met yet.

Sometimes a shotgun to the head of the user is the best solution, but at least *try*... For every moron there will be 10 clueless users that will be helped. That is a good track record. Those that are beyond help, well, don't help them anymore.

Re:I pity no one (1)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869729)

Well I never said that PEOPLE weren't a big part of the problem. Some guy at work asked me if we have a "spyware firewall" because he gets spyware at home and not at work, and didn't believe when I told him it was probably because he didn't surf the same kind of stuff at home hehe..

Re:Spyware is getting really bad (2, Informative)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869740)

At least the latest Norton Antivirus scans some of it and so does Network Associate's antivirus. I wish Trend Micro's would do it too, it probably will soon...

Trend Micro's OfficeScan already detects spyware and spyware based javascript, it's been doing it for at least a year now. Unfortunately, it can't always kill the spyware; my logs show it quarrantining the spyware only to have the spyware reinstall itself and repeating this process each morning several times, but the spyware is winning out.

FREE HOMO-PEDO-NECROPHILIA PORN AT ANTI-SLASH.ORG (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869563)

If you are really into a bunch of fat geek guy losers fucking dead boy corpses up what was once a living, functional poop chute, then you'll love all the corpsefucking at Anti-Slash! [anti-slash.org] A website that thinks they can revolutionize Slashdot, but all they end up doing is fucking boy corpses! What a bunch of loser faggots! Watch as they pretend to be better when they are doing nothing but the same shit as Slashdot. Sign up for your account today and pretend you are not a loser! It's nothing but a bunch of pasty loser dorks that couldn't get a date to save their lives just trying to be cool in front of each other! It's so pathetic it's entertaining! Oh, and CRAPFLOOD THEM!

Just what this world needs. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869566)

Another critic. Always with the criticism. Blah.

broken link (-1, Offtopic)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869567)

I tried following the link to the article but instead it sent me to a page full of ads that said:

Welcome to The New York Times on the Web!

For full access to our site, please complete this simple registration form.
As a member, you'll enjoy:
In-depth coverage and analysis of news events from The New York Times FREE
Up-to-the-minute breaking news and developing stories FREE
Exclusive Web-only features, classifieds, tools, multimedia and much, much more FREE

Spam is not that big a problem (-1, Troll)

(gnaa)RKZ (737636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869576)

Whenever there are polls on the issue of spam emails there is a very bi-polar pattern in the results.

What they show is that a small but siginificant number of people (~20%) people get spammed hundreds of times a day, while (~50% -- ~60%) recieve very little spam.

There is hardly anyone in the middle.

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (1)

DFAoBolinho (736714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869611)

I for one have 3 email accounts: a personal one, one for my work and another one where I receive my lists and all the junk, and I do get ALOT OF JUNK. Even though I don't really have any problems with virus or spyware, the spam over email is a real pain in the neck and even though there are many initiatives to strike it, it is (at least for now) still getting the better of us. If it continues like I really can't even think what will become of us all (in the terms of virtual lives and tecnology)

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869638)

This is an obvious troll, but how is it a non-issue if one in 5 prople gets hundreds of spam messages a day and have to wade through all that to find their legitimate mail?

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (1)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869682)

Yes it is an obvious troll. I think that the fact that his nickname includes "gnaa" should be a strong indication. (Every Slashdot reader has come across GNAA, among other troll posts i am afraid)

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869760)

This is an obvious troll, but how is it a non-issue if one in 5 prople gets hundreds of spam messages a day and have to wade through all that to find their legitimate mail?

It isn't a non-issue. The nature of the troll is that the trolling bit about it being a non-issue is in the sig and when people object to it, the poster changes the sig and demands to know what they're talking about. It's rather similar to the ones he does where he switches the linked to contents between goatse and something else.

It's fascinating to watch really, the behaviour depends on the 'troll' not being merely stupid as such, but on a sort of vacancy of any normal thought process at all. It's really quite extraordinary.

Kinda clever (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869794)

As much as I hate to admit it, thats a kinda clever trick. I've changed my preferences to show the "signature dash"

Its amazing how much effort these loser trolls will go through just to have their message out there for a short time before it gets modded down the -1

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (2, Insightful)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869660)

And oh... 20% on one extreme, 50-60% on the other extreme leaves 20-30% in the middle. Not really "hardly anyone" is it?

Re:Spam is not that big a problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869701)

RKZ = TROLL WANNABE! If you are really into a bunch of fat geek guy losers fucking dead boy corpses up what was once a living, functional poop chute, then you'll love all the corpsefucking at Anti-Slash! [anti-slash.org] A website that thinks they can revolutionize Slashdot, but all they end up doing is fucking boy corpses! What a bunch of loser faggots! Watch as they pretend to be better when they are doing nothing but the same shit as Slashdot. Sign up for your account today and pretend you are not a loser! It's nothing but a bunch of pasty loser dorks that couldn't get a date to save their lives just trying to be cool in front of each other! It's so pathetic it's entertaining! Oh, and CRAPFLOOD THEM!

MOD PARENT DOWN = rkz IS A GNAA TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869707)

AND MAN O MAN DOES HE LIKE TO FUCK THOSE BOY CORPSES!!! If you are really into a bunch of fat geek guy losers fucking dead boy corpses up what was once a living, functional poop chute, then you'll love all the corpsefucking at Anti-Slash! [anti-slash.org] A website that thinks they can revolutionize Slashdot, but all they end up doing is fucking boy corpses! What a bunch of loser faggots! Watch as they pretend to be better when they are doing nothing but the same shit as Slashdot. Sign up for your account today and pretend you are not a loser! It's nothing but a bunch of pasty loser dorks that couldn't get a date to save their lives just trying to be cool in front of each other! It's so pathetic it's entertaining! Oh, and CRAPFLOOD THEM!

flibble (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869579)

flobble

Spyware a necessary evil for some (2, Interesting)

Klatoo55 (726789) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869584)

Even though spyware may be annoying, it's the price that must be paid to allow for a more user-friendly computer. The more we automate our PC's, the less control we have over what runs on them. Or, one could buy a Mac and forget about it entirely...

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869639)

Even though spyware may be annoying, it's the price that must be paid to allow for a more user-friendly computer.

Care to justify that stance?

When visiting someone who asks me to help them with some computer-related task, as my very first action I download and run AdAware. It usually find at least 30-40 scattered chunks of spyware (I've seen in the thousands more than once), with perhaps half a dozen actual fully-functioning programs (the abundance of spyware has the amusingly ironic side effect that they all tend to break one another over time).

After removing all the spyware found, the computer's owner without fail notices the improved responsiveness and reduced desktop and browser clutter. I have not once had someone then ask me annoyedly where their "favorite" browser hijack vanished to; more often, I get a thankful "Oh, you finally got rid of that damn thing... I agreed to it from some website a few months ago, and no matter what I do couldn't make it go away".


So, what part of any of the above do you believe makes a computer more user-friendly?

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869739)

Care to justify that stance?

I can think of one, just ONE example where this is the case. The Google Toolbar [google.com] . It's an incredibly useful thing if you can use it (only works with IE5.5 or better) but it does contain one optional feature what might be classed as "Spyware". Specifically, in return for providing Google with some details of your browsing habits you gain access to some PageRank related features. Google does however provide extensive clickthroughs and documentation that detail just what this entails, which is more than most of the crap out there with a penchant to phone home.

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869674)

I don't understand what you mean? Are you saying that Spyware is useful? You like those idiot toolbars that are added to IE? You like stupid cursors (Comet Cursor)? Weather forcast stuff in the systray?

If anything spyware makes the computer *less* usable. It eats up resources where none should be used, and slows down the machine. I call that a *big* price, for *no* advantage.

To this date, I had no user complain that I removed his spyware infections.... Most of them are puzzeled how I manage to get their computer boot and operate faster. Go figure...
Oh, and I once explained what spyware does to a friend of mine who is a Marketing Major. He was apalled and cursed that this should be illegal...

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (1)

filekutter (617285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869751)

Spyware is there to; take advantage of, spy on, and abuse. It has NO redeeming qualities whatsoever. Spybot, AdAware and Spyblaster should be part of ALL pre-packaged computers with documentation in a special yellow and red folder marked urgent.

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869798)

I think that what you said was my point. If only new OEM machines came fully patched with anti-spyware proggies... Alas, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Luckily for me it means that I get a steady flow of beer (I charge a case of beer for computer help... from changing a shortcut to reinstalling the system... anything costs a case of beer)

Re:Spyware a necessary evil for some (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869852)

"Or, one could buy a Mac and forget about it entirely... "

You can forget about a lot entirely if you go that route. Not saying Mac is unusuable, but computers are general purpose machines, and the more general, the more attractive they are.

From the article.... (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869599)

The new spam law does nothing about the invisible programs that invade our computers as we move from one Web site to the next. These insidious programs -- variously known as adware, spyware and snoopware -- can cause computers to call up aggressive ads or can actually track a user's movements through the Internet for use by marketers later on. The most sinister programs can record everything the user does, whether offline or surfing the Net.

And what the article does not discuss at any length is that we have Microsoft security (or lack thereof) to blame for most of the spyware problems. If Windows had better security, then most of these problems would not be there to the same degree as they currently are.

Re:From the article.... (3, Insightful)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869630)

I think if Windows had better security, it would lose much of its user-friendliness, which is its primary appeal. MS takes a lot of heat over security, but I think they are just delivering what the market wants. If they made Outlook "secure", there would be an immediate uproar by 99.9% of users over the loss of functionality.

Re:From the article.... (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869665)

I think if Windows had better security, it would lose much of its user-friendliness, which is its primary appeal. MS takes a lot of heat over security, but I think they are just delivering what the market wants. If they made Outlook "secure", there would be an immediate uproar by 99.9% of users over the loss of functionality.

You should try OS X [apple.com] and see what you have been missing. You get security with true plug and play compatibility and ease of use.

Re:From the article.... (4, Insightful)

recursiv (324497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869631)

Yes they would be. No operating system security can stop a user from being an admin and installing unintentionally (but intentionally from the perspective of the OS) malware.

Re:From the article.... (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869684)

Yes they would be. No operating system security can stop a user from being an admin and installing unintentionally (but intentionally from the perspective of the OS) malware.

No they would not be (and they are not). Operating systems should not allow root access or even administrator access for certain functions (like installing software) without explicitly notifying the user of said installation and requiring an administrative password or phrase.

Re:From the article.... (1)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869769)

No they would not be (and they are not). Operating systems should not allow root access or even administrator access for certain functions (like installing software) without explicitly notifying the user of said installation and requiring an administrative password or phrase.

Unfortunately, spyware is smarter than Microsoft. The spyware installs even if the user has NO administrative rights. What makes it even harder is that to remove the spyware, you do need administrative rights, thus you can't have users clean the system themselves. Real PITA.

Re:From the article.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869797)

Spyware typically does explicitly notify the user. They just happily click on "Next" or "Agree" along with all the other license agreements to get to their neat new free program which came with bundled spyware.

It's not a security problem; the users explicitly asked for the spyware to be installed. They just didn't understand what they were really in for.

Re:From the article.... (4, Insightful)

Lshmael (603746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869650)

The spyware problem is not a Windows security problem so much as an Internet Explorer security problem. While the insecurity of the operating system is a problem that aids malware in general, having a more secure browser would help this. The improvements to Internet Explorer [microsoft.com] due to appear in Service Pack 2 should help stop the spread of spyware somewhat.

Re:From the article.... (2, Interesting)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869742)

Thanks for the link - that is interesting. For those that didn't read it, the binaries with SP2 are going to be recompiled with protection to prevent buffer overruns. But what I'm curious about is this - closing ports except when they are in use, How are they going to know what services you want to have listening and which ones you want shut down? And it they don't mean listening services, then isn't the port closed when it isn't in use anyway?

Re:From the article.... (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869767)

The spyware problem is not a Windows security problem so much as an Internet Explorer security problem. While the insecurity of the operating system is a problem that aids malware in general, having a more secure browser would help this.

The point you make is valid, but applications should not have the degree of uncontrolled access to the OS as they currently do in Windows.

The improvements to Internet Explorer due to appear in Service Pack 2 should help stop the spread of spyware somewhat.

However, this is the approach that will continue getting Microsoft into trouble. The current Windows is built on faulty security. They are on a treadmill of security and bug fixes that will always leave them behind the curve. What it will take to fix the problem is what Microsoft is doing with Longhorn (due tenatively in 2006) by starting at the ground up and re-engineering Windows to be a more secure OS.

So, rather than constantly having to update the security by downloading patch after patch that may or may not cause secondary or tertiary problems with other code (which may or may not be immediately apparent), I would much rather have an OS that I can depend upon for security and that will not require me to spend lots of money and time on administration. My computer should be a tool with which to accomplish work easily and efficiently without getting in my way. Right now that means my computer systems are running OS X. When the next version of Windows comes along (Longhorn), I will reconsider my options.

Re:From the article.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869734)

Absolutely not the fault of MS. How can you blame a company for allowing people to use its product as they wish? I have had exactly ZERo spyware/spamware/adware whatever products on my computers. None are in my office and none are on my local friends computers. All it takes is simple education. You cannot blame anyone except for the stupid user who said yeah I will install this random program that pops up when I go to a porn site or whatever.

The problem is the end user. Education keeps a computer clean. Linux isn't clean because it has super security, it is clean because it's users are educated (and cus no one writes anything for Linux users as well...I know).

Security has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH SPYWARE. Spyware is installed when people install other crap and simply don't pay attention. Blame your stupid friends and their stupid parents for wanting to install that dorky little game or download files off of Kazaa. Don't blame Gator and MS. They are just making money off of uneducated people.

How that post can be modded insightful is beyond me...how about flamebait.

Re:From the article.... (5, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869738)

To be fair, it is not specifically a Windows problem. If Macs had even 25% of the market, someone would write mac centered spyware. A certain number of users would voluntarily install the new code, some may even type in thier password to give the code access to thier systems,and the games would be on.

Of course, such code would not have the luxury of tailoring itself to outlook/IE. It would have to learn to work with mail/Safari, neither of which are as instrusive as the MS counterparts.

I leave it as an excersise to the reader as to whether Safari is as much annoyware as IE, or if the OSS base of Safari gives it an edge.

One way to solve it - stop buying (5, Interesting)

mr_lithic (563105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869607)

I assume that spam is one of the last places where people believe that an ad driven business model will survive.

In most other forms of media, it seems that advertising has had its day. Television is no longer able to subject us to ads and is threatened, Radio ads in internet radio are able to be skipped. So we only have to deal with the advertisements that arrive in our inbox.

There are a variety of ways of dealing with this detritus, the easiest one is make it a social stigma to admit to buying anything from spam.

Have any enlargements or pharmaceuticals ever been sold using this method? Has anyone ever received one of these messages and replied and then eagerly waited for their postie to drop by with their delivery of "Hot Teens"?

Turn Spam purchasing into the Venereal Disease of the new century and it will cost these folks more to send the messages than is returned in sales.

Legislation is pointless in an area where geography is no longer a method of control.

Re:One way to solve it - stop buying (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869654)

Yeah, kinda like how the shameful stigma of buying or watching porn has made it difficult to obtain and rarely advertised in our society.

Re:One way to solve it - stop buying (1)

Lshmael (603746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869677)

I do not think that if you are buying "enlargement pills" or "hot teens," you are going to admit to it, regardless of whether you bought it from a spam message or searched it out yourself.

Re:One way to solve it - stop buying (4, Funny)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869689)

There are a variety of ways of dealing with this detritus, the easiest one is make it a social stigma to admit to buying anything from spam.

-Hey, nice pecker stretcher, and those pictures of the guy with the goat are really cool. Where'd you get 'em?

-I ordered them from a spam ad.

-You PIG!!!

rj

Re:One way to solve it - stop buying (1)

BroncoInCalifornia (605476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869744)

The SPAM will work if only one person in 10,000 si dumb enough to buy it. We whould be lucky if only one person in ten is clueless. Getting to where only 0.01% of the population is clueless is impossible.

Re:One way to solve it - stop the sellers (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869776)

It would work better to go after the sellers than the buyers. DDoS them, harass them, whatever. This would require a little investigation, i.e. who exactly is trying to sell me this organ enlarger, but it wouldn't be to long before the e-stores got the message.

Re:One way to solve it - stop buying (3, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869784)

You really have a point!.
I Allways say that tech control won't work. All the server-side control methods just doesn't work, not only for spam, but for anything. And when i say server side, i actually mean sender-side. For example: A Law that controls SPAM, the m$ idea that there only exists exchanger servers out there, while most of us are at sendmail or postfix, so they try to imposs a server side resitiction based on the false premise that people can modifiy software, and that everyone uses THEIR software. The same with anti-spam laws, a law in one country won't control people outside that country, and since inside the net there are no nationalitys, that won't affect even people in that country, because, again a technical problem, there is no way to control that!.
So, going to the point: the more effective control is in the client-side:

1) Anti-spam soft (call it spamassasin, popfile, etc,etc)
2) Black Lists of Open Relays, known spam senders, etc,etc.

And, the more important ones, DON'T HELP CREATE MORE SPAM:

1) Don't use vulnerable software, like outlook.
2) Don't use software that helps spam or any other kind of e-abuse, fo example: propietary soft that has spyware)
3) Don't register to comercial sites/soft/whatever; since they objective IS to make money, they, or some employee there, will trade with your data for sure.
4) Don't answer surveys that has any relation with commerce.
5) As the parent writer said, DONT BUY from spam, or from sites/people that has any relation with it.
6) DON'T SPAM. This may sound stupid, but many people spam everyday, specially hotmail lusers, when you fordward that stupid joke to all the other assholes on your buddy list, you are:
a) Distributing lists of addresses that man get to
some spammer address.
b) What you send is UNSOLICITED BULK EMAIL, if you want, SPAM.

Age-Old Solutions (4, Funny)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869615)

At least for the moment, a medium that was hailed as the ultimate venue for education and self-improvement is mired in the age-old conflict between the salesman who wants his foot in the door, no matter what, and the angry person who wants nothing more than to be left alone.

Both problems, the spammer and the salesman, can be solved with the use of a good 12-gauge shotgun.

Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.

Re:Age-Old Solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869688)

The Ted Kachinsky method has its merits. :)

hats off to "solutions" (0)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869725)

how will you shoot these spammers? bullet over ip?

It's getting sad (5, Insightful)

hodet (620484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869621)

I used to help out friends and family all the time removing viruses and ad-ware but I have put a stop to it unless they specifically ask for help and bring me their computer. The stuff is getting ridiculous and the average user couldn't care less.

I was visiting my parents when they got their Dell and out of the box it required over 20Mb of security fixes and had a virus scanner (Mcafee) that was set to explode after 90 days if they didn't subscribe and the firewall off by default. Oh and of course their account that they setup with the instructions made them an administrator. We got that patched up and hardened quickly but your average Joe who buys a system and plugs it in is just a sitting duck and he has no clue. It's pathetic that companies like Dell can't harden the things a little before shipping them out.

Re:It's getting sad (1)

CaptKilljoy (687808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869695)

It's unavoidable though. Regardless of what OS is used, end-users still aren't going to know to keep up to date on their patches as new exploits are discovered over time. The only solution I can envision is something like a form of Windows Update that can't be turned off for all OS distributions aimed at consumers.

Can't we just let the economics sort this out? (3, Interesting)

Gldm (600518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869623)

Given what it's costing companies to reduce spam, and what they're paying in network bandwidth, wouldn't it be more economical to just hire people to track down the major spamers and then just post 10 million dollar international bounties on each head? I bet it'd cut the spam level alot more effectively for alot less money.

As for spyware, maybe it's just me, but how about say, not letting files download onto your local disk and set up with executable permissions? You'd think that maybe a modern OS would have some kind of setting to disable this kind of thing? Maybe even just lock out c:\program files\ from being able to create new directories? Yeah I didn't think so. I'm sure the new "security focused" development has better things to secure than the filesystem from malicious executables, because we all know this is a new and infrequent problem right?

One of these days I'll run into someone who gives you these "free offers to improve your life" and talks about how beneficial they are. Then I'll give them some nice theraputic blows to the face to increase the supply of oxygen giving blood to the skin. Look, it works! I can see it turning purple with extra blood now. You should thank me for preemptivly solving a case of skin irritation from lack of bloodflow. How about I remove some of those teeth so you're protected from dangerous cavities too?

Re:Can't we just let the economics sort this out? (0)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869737)

but how about say, not letting files download onto your local disk and set up with executable permissions? You'd think that maybe a modern OS would have some kind of setting to disable this kind of thing?

if linux is modern, then yes, a modern OS does have that setting.

Let /. again genuflect to NY Times fluff (0)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869624)

author also notes there is a terrible conspiracy for the sun to rise in the east and set in the west! When will the madness end!!! The problem of spam is lately being overshadowed by the subject of spam saturating the media.

Well, I have one idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869649)

[Internet Service Providers] understand that keeping users online and happy will require a vastly improved fly swatter: a technical fix that allows people to screen out more junk mail and to protect themselves from covert programs that shadow them on the Net.

I guess the author has never heard of the Mozilla project?

Re:Well, I have one idea... (1)

filekutter (617285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869792)

Sooooo rite !!! I've been touting Mozilla (and Firebird) for quite a while now... I also don't use Opera... too much spyware games there.. IE still has a lock on some webservices, but I have managed to do some downloads with Mozillla at M$'s site heehee.. take that gates...

The story of technology... (4, Insightful)

NoData (9132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869656)

From article:
The story of technology is the story of noble aspirations overtaken by a hard-core huckster reality.

I think that's a little too narrow of a generalization to make about all of technology. But it is a symptom of a larger truth about technology. The story of technology is the story of technical progress outpacing social progress. We have not, as a society, come to a consesus on privacy, security, information as property, and who should regulate these matters. Similar, perhaps tougher, problems in biotech. This characteristic of technology driving questions about social morality is something I don't think was ever seen before the 20th century.

spywhat? spamwhat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869690)

this is stupid - this doesn't threaten the internet, the only thing it threatens is windows users.

is any of this a problem on any platform?

i thought so.

See it all the time- (4, Interesting)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869705)

I do tech support for ~10,000+ clients. When Windows 98 was common, the biggest problems were stability and trying to keep it that way.

Now that win2k (and winxp) is out, the stability issue has been resolved. Now the most common thing I see is tons of spyware slowing the PC down to a crawl (obligatory slashdot humor: The difference between a PC infested with spyware that crawls, and Windows XP hogging all the resources making the PC crawl, is sometimes hard to discern.)

And of course lovely viruses from that oh-so-wonderful default-installed e.mail program, Outlook Express.

Most (nearly all) the *major* spyware issues stem from PEBKAC, a little knowledge (on the end-users part) would go a long way, but much of the spyware out there cloaks itself in "official" looking popups, all happily Verisigned, which can sometimes even trip up sys admins.

The next version of windows is rumored to fix this (to what extent is unknown) but undoubtedly will introduce a ton of new spyware.

Now isn't it nice that we BeOS and *nix users are immune to all that crap? I know I'm glad I use BeOS.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869857)

Now isn't it nice that we BeOS and *nix users are immune to all that crap? I know I'm glad I use BeOS.

It's been a few years since I've used BeOS, but I recall that packages would install files wherever the package maintainer wanted to, and were installed by you just clicking on the package without any kind of dialog. It seemed like a serious lack of security with the only saving grace being that nobody ran BeOS so nobody would waste their time writing trojans for it.

Unix not immune.. Just not a target (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869862)

Why do you say you are immune? Ever hear of installing a program as a user, in your home directory?

Sure, it wont effect other users directly, but it will still slow down the machine and waste bandwidth...

Sure, *nix users arent targeted yet so we are safe for now. But we cant *just* sit back and laugh...

But the Solution to Spyware is ... (1)

Elgreco1 (714955) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869709)

But the Solution to Spyware is fairly simple. Make the sender pay, like normail post. That is why I don't get hundreds of posts in my physical mailbox. (and the fact I don't participate in competitions every chance I get) Simply put, for somebody to send me email they have to perform a task. Say calculate the first five primes that end in five. For one persons computer this will be trivial. But for somebody mailing out millions of posts it becomes impossible. In fact I can increase the computation difficulty depending on what I want to filter out. I might not mind some major retailers who are happy to spend money sending out mailouts, so they have to do their home work, and target me from my opt in options and stuff. They end up with a computation that will cost the 50c per posts. I guess the algorythim for the computation should have some method showing how much it will cost the mailer to be fair. All is fair, and the fat lady can start her song Giorgis PS: Hmm, I think there is only one prime tha ends in 5

We should get the Iron Chefs in on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869717)

BATTLE SPAM!

Congress's misunderstanding (3, Interesting)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869723)

Most acts detrimental to the free state, such as murder, can be solved to within an acceptable degree by simply illegalizing it. Deterrence acts on would-be offenders, and the number of murders in the country is small enough that it generally does not disrupt life for most of us.

Spam works by entirely different rules. It is not enough to deter MOST spammers. It takes only a sufficiently capable handful to bring the mail systems of the entire country to their knees. The economies don't work in the same way: a typical murderer affects the lives of anywhere between one and a hundred people; a spammer affects between one and a hundred MILLION every week.

So relying on a citizen to be rational -- to realize that it's not in his best interest to spam, given the consequences -- will not work. There are more irrational actors than it takes for spamming to remain alive and well. There must be some sort of technological barrier in place -- with the support of the law, I believe -- to ensure that even these irrational actors are incapable of spamming.

What are some examples? Require by law that all ISPs -- be they mom and pop shops, tremendous corporations, or colleges and universities -- provide information in an email sufficient to identify the sender. Then prosecute the ISP harshly if it allows a user to spam; hopefully, ISPs can be deterred more consistently than individuals. Overseas ISPs are obviously beyond this jurisdiction, but the FCC might take it upon itself to publish a list of overseas ISPs that comply, and recommend blocking all that don't.

Alternatively, institute a microcharge on email -- be it monetary or computational -- to disrupt the economies of scale. When a user receives an email from an address not on his whitelist, his computer (or the ISP's) responds with an NP-hard computation problem that the sender's computer must solve before the email is delivered. Solving one -- or one hundred -- such problems would be no problem for a user's computer, but solving one to one hundred million would be much harder. Spamming would require computation like Japan's Earth Simulator to pull off, and the amount of computation might scale each year according to Moore's Law.

stealing computer time (4, Interesting)

PeepSquat (120181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869728)

mayebe I dont remember the law very well, but wasn't there some type of law back like 20 or more years that made it illegal to steal computer time. This applied mainly to mainframes. Couldn't this be applied to spyware,adware, and snoopware, stealing computer time on pc's?

Re:stealing computer time (1)

admbws (600017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869754)

Regardless of whether there is or there isn't, the problem is, you generally agree to the "stealing" of your computer time in some obscure clause in the user agreement that you accept when you install a spyware-infested program. Always read the agreement throughly!

I still think people have the wrong attitude (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869750)

Ok, I understand if your a network provider you might have a legit beef with spammers and spyware makers, but end users are just being lazy jerks.

Computers are no different then cars. If you drive a car recklessly sooner or later you wrek the car. Everyone acepts they have to learn the controlls of their car, dive at safe speeds, and pay attention, and that to do otherwise is to take their chances. The computer is no different you should take the time to disable activeX and set the other security settings related to cookies and stuff appropriatly. You should look at the subjects and the senders before opening those e-mails especially those with attachments. Read that SSL cert before selecting alwats trust XXXXX. Think about where you are posting your e-mail address. Ask questions like "who made this CD?" before you put it in the drive and let autoplay do its thing. You should consider running a more secure operating system. The list goes on. I take just the most basic precaution and care and I do just fine without shelling out big bucks for anti-spamm/spayware/virus. For anyone who has taken the time to read the docs follow the recomendations and is basicly careful this stuff is not a problem. Its the Lusers that have all the trouble, and its thier own damn fault. All of this type of stuff is no different then the bag of nails in the road which fell off the truck, slow down watch what you're doing and go around it.

Junk mail isn't a new problem. (3, Interesting)

Samuel Duncan (737527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869765)

I still remember the stories of my grandfather who worked at the federal post office how the amount of advertisment letter rised with the introduction of railway post transport.
Before that messengers on horses of coaches had to be used. This had the effects that letter where relatively expensive and traveled very slow (4 months from east to west coast). And it was insecure due to hostile natives.
However all this changed with railway post transport. And so the amount of advertisment letter increased greatly. It even delayed the transport of legit letters, so that the post office had to use special (more expensive) rates for advertisment transport to keep to flood under control. Note that hiding advertisment letters as normal ones didn't work: the post offices clerk were allowed to open every letter and check which they really did regulary.

Help us identify spam sources (5, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869781)

If you know what you're doing with email, and use a statistical filter such as spamprobe [sourceforge.net] (or SA/other bayesian) from procmail, consider joining the community wpbl experiment [pc9.org] . This is essentially an IP blocklist built automatically, in real-time, from many statistical filters (no manual user action ). IPs from mail are automatically extracted, classified as spam or good by your bayesian filter, then reported to the central server 24 hours a day. This is not like spamcop.

Re:Help us identify spam sources (1)

qtp (461286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869848)

Thanks.

I like this approach, and will likely participate, but I do wonder how the project can avoid malicious data poisoning using zombie submitters and forged examples.

Good perspective... (3, Insightful)

qtp (461286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869783)

It's seldom that a well reasoned analysis of the spam debacle makes it to the pages of the mainstream press, but the discussed article is well reasoned and quite to the point in emphisizing that this issue (unwanted advertising) is nothing new.

As for how widespread the spam problem is, I cannot really opine as to whether the problem deserves the kind of attention that it is getting, as I have had the same email address for well over three years, it is visible on several mailing lists and usenet, and "I have yet to recieve the floods of spam that I so poften see described here on /.

I'm not claiming to get no spam, as I do recieve two to three unsolicited comercial email adverts per month at my account, sometimes a few more (I once recieved six in one week), and this leads me to believe that there is probably something about one's user habits that either does or does not attract spam.

I'm also sure that one's email provider has an effect on how attractive that address is to spammers. I'm sure that GMX's anti-spam measures do make thier users less attractive to spammers (If you were a spammer, would you put much energy into spamming a domain of email users if you were certain that the domain admins were likely to adjust thier filters before your ad run was complete? or would you concentrate on those domains that left it up to thier users to face the onnslaught alone?)

Email providers would take common sense measures to protect thier users from the most obvious spam with poorly forged headers, email originating from unsecured proxies and open relays, large numbers of identical meassages targeting alphabet blocks of obviously generated addresses, and emails originating from known spam source IPs (not netblocks), as well as applying "learning" filters (Beyesian and/or whatever), allowing users to submit examples, but apparently few providers do this.

Why do people continue to use thier services?

Has anyone here abandoned an email address after it became such a spam magnet as to be nearly unusable?

Human-oriented tasks as a way to fight spam. (1)

vvdd2 (703532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869785)

I think the way to go in fighting SPAM is to make person sending a message to perform some task, which is easy for humans and is hard for computers. The approaches (like 10 secs CPU intensive task proposed by Microsoft Research) or micropayment system does not distinguish between humans and computers. An example of such approach would be to modify SMTP protocol in a way that during a process of sending e-mail mail server would show you some image which and await a response from mail client of the same thing typed as text.

I think the key to fight SPAM is to distinguish messages sent by humans and generated automatically.

We must spot it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869786)

We can work [bmezine.com] together!

A Creative Solution to Spyware (3, Interesting)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869790)

If there is spyware sending out packets, one could presumably see what IP address they are going to and maybe even reverse engineer their data format. Then someone could write a program which sends their servers spy packets containing meaningless or misleading information, thereby screwing up whatever market research they are trying to do. Maybe we can create some fake correlations between unrelated items, after all, unlikely correlations come up often enough in real life, like diapers and beer [google.com] , that they may not catch on until long after their databases are completely cluttered with meaningless crap.

Irony (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7869853)

The irony is that at the end of the NYT article, if one inspects the source code, there is this little gem of javascript code from:

http://www.nytimes.com/js/s_code_remote_sampling .j s

This fetches a few pieces of data and sends it back to 2o7.net in the form of a URL for a 1x1 gif.

Anyone care to reverse engineer this code and see what it's reporting back?

Hola (-1, Troll)

FiendBeast (461063) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869858)

Buenas Noches,

Soy estudiante Ingles (Frances e Historia a la universidad de Warwick) y quiero entender el punto de vista oficial de la republica Cuba sobre su existencia y su tratamiento por el mundo occidental, especialmente por los estados unidos. He aprehendido el Espanol por algunos anos pero no suficientes para entenderlo totalmente. Existe un sitio Internet para que los extranjeros que no hablan el espanol puedan estudiar para que exista el estado cubano actual?

Oh noes!!!1 (-1, Offtopic)

pummer (637413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7869860)

I have no idea how to use an email filter! someone help me!!!!!1`1`1!~!`1`1
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