Very interesting SPAM question, can you help?!

  OK Computer 10:05 23 Jul 2004

Bit of an interesting scenario that I'm after some people’s opinion on.

To give you a brief background, I work on an I.T helpdesk (with about 300 users all with email). I recently received a complaint from one user that they were receiving around 80-100 pornographic SPAM emails everyday. The user demanded something to be done to stop the SPAM. I replied hinting that this was a specific problem with this user and not a company wide problem. Basically I was stating that I felt that the user had put there email address around on the internet and this was the reason the user was receiving such excessive SPAM, since no other users were having any problems with SPAM at all.

A day later I started receiving around about 40 spam emails per day. The emails all had a common subject: "y.ou.nng blah blah blah". I setup an Outlook filter to permanently delete emails with this in the subject and I'm no longer receiving the adult SPAM.

This is the interesting part! I then checked the users mailbox and she is receiving the EXACT same SPAM that I was.

Is it just me or is this just too coincidental? No other users onsite are receiving these emails?

Your thoughts please!

  richard-232101 10:09 23 Jul 2004

have you upset someone lately??

  OK Computer 10:11 23 Jul 2004

So its not just me being paraniod!

Surely the chances of us both receiving the exact same SPAM are remote!?!

  Gaz 25 10:16 23 Jul 2004


These spammers sit on there computers writing sofwtare that automatically sends it to any e-mail address it can...

Its most likely running checks on random names on your domain.

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

etc and so on...

  OK Computer 10:22 23 Jul 2004

but surely with 300+ email users it would hit more than me and this one other particular user?

especially taking into account the circumstances running up to me receiving this particular SPAM

  Big Elf 11:08 23 Jul 2004

I've had 2 thoughts but not being an expert will probably be totally wrong.

Did she forward a sample of the emails to you and did you open it? Could it be possible that code is activated which has picked up your address?

Maybe she has something on her system that's picking up her contacts in her address book like a trojan or virus?

  OK Computer 11:15 23 Jul 2004

Thanks for the reply

No she did not forward any of the SPAM to me

yes I am in her contact list, but again along with 300+ other users...

  spuds 11:19 23 Jul 2004

When you were contacted, a bug [possibly the one she is complaining about]took a journey from her address book and linked onto your site. Your filter may not have picked this up on the first instance, due to the bugs set-up. The people who send this type of spam, have many of the 'back door' methods of entry well worked out.

  Ironman556 11:43 23 Jul 2004

Two things I always disable in outlook are the preview pane and "read reciepts" that way when you open an email it is harder to confirm to the spammer that your email exists because a read reciept isn't sent back.

If they've latched onto your domain (now knowing it's active) and are sending emails out to generated addresses @your-domain.whatever then out of 300 people it's likely that some will recieve these emails. It probably works by putting commomn names and/or words together, hence people with the more common names, eg. Dave Robinson, will get hit first.

I don't know how practical this would be, but if the emails are all coming from the same domain name I'd block that domain across the whole network.

  jz 19:38 23 Jul 2004

How do you do that?

  Ironman556 01:31 24 Jul 2004

As I said I don't know if it's a practical idea, I don't run a network and filter my mail manually on my two PC's using mail washer, not practical for a 300 user network though.

Maybe run scripts when users log on to update the settings in their email clients? A filter that all mail passes through before going to it's specified user?

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