unsubscribe.com - Who are they, are they for real? Anti spam organistaion?


Hello,

This is a question for anti spammer experts.

My spam mail has finally become a problem to the extent that I want to do something about it.

While trying to unsubscribe from a few places that I had actually signed up for ( yeah, I know! ) I was somehow redirected to a site which is called UNSUBSCRIBE.COM or similar name. The URl is : http://www.un-sub.net/?link=&clicktrade= .

What they have written on their web site is brief and limited but it sounds like it is a real anti spam attempt.

I have emailed them for more info though and they have failed to respond which makes me immediately suspicious as does their URL. They also don't have any help on " how to " issues on their site. Could be that is because they are new and understaffed, who knows.

I don't want to slur any genuine attempt to stop spam but equally, if they are not for real, I want to make others aware of it

So my question is in two parts :

. Are they for real and do they really help, or are they just another way for dumbos like me to actually give away live email addresses, and

. What is the best site, if any, that actually does what this site says it does.

My points will be awarded to the first answer that can resolve both of these questions. I'm willing to award nearly all my points to get expert help on this. I won't do this immediately though as the best answer may not be the first that sounds right. Answer 3,4 or 5 may give the best overall reply/answer. So I'll wait about 1 week as a balance between speedy awarding of points and the best info. I won't let it hang for eons of time as some questions seem to.

I do not want any advice as to how to stop spam as I do the right thing. I have a real email address for real business and personal matters and never use this for subscribing, entering competitions, answering surveys etc.

I use several hotmail accounts for comps, surveys and so on where my interest has been attracted.

I use all the free hotmail facilities for sorting and deleting junk mail.

I use outlook express to block etc where needed.

I have several free programs which will filter junk mail from real addresses if needed.

Thanks to any who respond.

Centore
centoreAsked:
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Hello There


Am unsure on your firs point, but while your waiting for an answer here is some more info for you :0)

Find out who is spamming you

***Here is some info for you

http://www.private.org.il/harvest.html

***How do I find the spammer's ISP?

You need to open up the email header and find the spammer's IP address.

***How Do I find the Spammers IP address?

Where's that IP address?
Some spammers think they can safely hide behind an IP address (an address in the form of 123.123.123.123). Not so! you can look up owners of IP addresses at the following sites:

American Registry for Internet Number
European IP Address allocations
Asia Pacific IP Address allocations

Now, opposite to domain names, IP addresses are bound to a physical location. If you cannot figure out easily where your IP address is, try all three look-ups.
Also in most cases you can do a so-called reverse DNS (or rDNS) lookup, you give the IP address and the DNS server returns with the appropriate name. However, often more than one web site is hosted on the same IP number. so takecare you don't start writing tothe wrong guy.
When you have the spammer's IP address, search the whois databases of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). For information on how to use the Whois database, refer to: Using the Whois database to find the spammer/hacker's network

***How Do I find IP addresses in the EMAIL?

This depends on your software see here for the info you need

http://spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/19.html

***Now I know the IP address or the Domain name what do I Do?

To find IP addresses from a domain name
http://www.apnic.net/search/index.html

***What do I do Next

Go here http://www.activatormail.com/fastreport.htm

***Ive got stuck - What can I do now?

Go here http://www.samspade.org/
And here www.spamcop.com 

***How do I stop it happening again?
Try this http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=930
PeteL

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centoreAuthor Commented:

Just to clarify. For some reason the words " business " and " account " have been displayed in my question as links to things I know nothing about. So please don't follow these links they were added by this site.

Centore
SunBowCommented:
PeteLong> Some spammers think they can safely hide behind an IP address (an address in the form of 123.123.123.123). Not so!

Not so! (not necessarily so) You are missing the point of a spat of worms, that permit first the harvesting of addresses to make up mailing lists for both the from and the to, the ability to spoof, relays, with the ability of even taking over a part of user machine, such that the true origin of a spam is an individual who is likely ignorant of the process.

centore,
You might have done better to post Q in the eMail or Security TA. As I read the newsies, the privacy organizations are vehemently opposed to having anti-spam lists, similar to lists of phone #'s to not call, as being ineffectual, a distraction leading to undue presumption of additional protection, misue of effort, and even counterproductive.

Consider how easily, for example, people seem to be consistently able to mass-collect address lists, credit card numbers, and more from "secured servers". Lately in news, someone posted the social security numbers of high US gov't officials. I don't have it handy, but I think it included head of justice "privacy-protector" Ashcroft, chief spook of CIA, national security, and key security advisors to US President, including their home address in case you want to physically leave a spam note upon their very door.

Anywhere there is a list of addresses will be a chief target of a harvestor, who's sole goal is to validate eMail addresses as being currently in use. And there are many ways to get it.

A better goal would be to reduce the possibilities for spammers to cloak themselves in anonymity. Many laws are passed, such as including prefix for subject of "ADV: " (similar to fwd:, re:, fyi:, etc) but that is only partially ok, as it only impacts spammers who want to go legit, or at least to appear to be legitimate. Penalty for non-compliance can be actual damage or a token of $10 - $750 per email to the individual receiving it - a small claims court issue. Or enormously higher for the gov't actions or ISP actions or mailserver operator actions or others, but that again are more for the ones where the individual mass-spammers identify themselves, for justifying their funds and by leaving enough traces such as indicated by Pete above.

At risk of repetition I'll post some old links I've bookmarked, with no comment on whether any have a value.

http://www.cauce.org/
CAUCE, The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email is an ad hoc, ...

http://www.spam.com/
(the original product)

http://spamsites.org/
See the main list of 363 live spamware sites and the list of 7081 dead/reformed sites.

http://combat.uxn.com/
(lookups. may have parts under construction)

http://www.geektools.com/whois.php
(whois)

http://spamcop.net/
"started in 1998 and remains the premier spam reporting service. ..."

http://www.abuse.net/
"place to report abusive activity varies from one system to another, we're trying to keep a master database of reporting addresses for users throughout the net to use."

http://www.elsop.com/wrc/nospam.htm
Spam: How to Fight it (more links)
OWASP: Threats Fundamentals

Learn the top ten threats that are present in modern web-application development and how to protect your business from them.

centoreAuthor Commented:
Hey,

Thanks for the info so far. I appreciate it and will obviously be doing some reading at the sites you have referred.

For Sunbow. Yes, worms are a huge issue and I certainly see your point about more central points of live email addresses. Defeats the purpose doesn't it, bringing it back to the individual level?

Thanks for the advice about the correct forum. However maybe I posted it in the right place as not too many will respond. You have both given me plenty to follow up on as it is!! Thanks for that ( I think ).

Whilst I appreciate the links, they aren't of much value to me if I don't have your opinion on them. That is what I am looking for, opinions about what works and what doesn't. Equally I can't see any point to me checking out links you may have found unsatisfactory or deficient in their purpose. Are you able to comment on these links at all or maybe point me to posts where you have previously done this. I'd check them all myself but it would help to know what others think or have found before me.

Thanks for your efforts already

Best

Centore

HeadIdiotCommented:
I am not too sure about unsubscribe.com....
I listed my email address with them about two years ago...and the floodgates opened.
I don't know if they are:
1) Spammers in disguise - using a unique method to get real email addresses,  or
2) Not very good at what they purport to do.

I ended up abandoning a truly beloved email address because the spam situation got so bad.
(500-600 per day)

These days I don't give out my email address...and have so strictly filtered my email client that only about six people can send mail to it.

All the spam I get at work goes to spamcop (duly noted above).
Mike McCrackenSenior ConsultantCommented:
I have found that some of the unsubscribe links are really used to verify they found a live address.  Click the link and they may go away but now they know they have a real live address to use and sell.

Many spammers also have numerous mail acounts which a simple variations on their real account.  In this way you can block one message but they simply use another address and bingo it comes.

I also had an account I really liked but the spam situation is so bad I have almost abandoned it several times.  Rather than that I simply use it for anywhere that requires an email address that I don't knw or trust.  I check it periodically and look through quickly for anything important.  I then validate that address so it can come through.  The rest just goes to a junk mail file which I delete daily.  Generally I have 50 - 100 to delete.  Since normally I don't want anything from most of the places I simply make a quick scan and delete the rest.

mlmcc
andyalderCommented:
Protect yourself from spam by submitting you email address here...

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. You didn't really enter your email address on that form did you?
centoreAuthor Commented:
For Andy,

Haven't you got anything better to do?

For Head,

Is the one your signed up with the same as the link I showed above? So far I've had only a decrease in email to that address but that may be because I unsubribed to a few of the major ones which all came from putting in my real address in error. Fingers crossed. I still have no idea how I got to that site in the first place. If it does become a problem I'll know it is them ( unsub.com ) and hopefully use the info I get from you people to add them to the right list as an email address collector.


For Mimcc,

I think you are right. Some of those unsubscribes are definitely collectors. It's hard to tell the difference isn't it. I unsubscribe to those that I know I subscribed to in the above mentioned accident ( what a dumbo ).

Foryunately my ISP provides extra email aliases so I can easily drop this one if need be.


Thanks except for Andy.

Centore
andyalderCommented:
***edited by CS***

pigpogmCommented:
Hi - just a brief comment - not quite directly answering the question, but might be useful.

I've been using a prog called MailWasher for quite a while now, and have found it very good.  It gets the headers from your POP3 mailbox, checks through for spam, and gives you the list to check.  It then goes off and deletes all the spam messages from the server, so when you then do a send/recieve with your mail prog, it doesn't have to waste time downloading all the spam.

It also bounces the spams, pretending your address is invalid.  I didn't expect it to have much effect, but i used to get around 30-50 spams a day - after using it for a while, i now only get maybe 5-10, so it does *seem* to work pretty well.  It was free ('donation-ware') when i first got it.  Now, i think it's free for a version that only checks one POP3 account, commercial for the 'pro' version.

Worth trying out, although it does add an extra step to getting your mail.
centoreAuthor Commented:
Most points for Pete who gave a detailed process which has been very helpful.

20 for Sunbow for the effort but I have no interest in solutions which are not recommended by the submitter.

20 each for others, mainly for the effort and participation. I appreciate all those comments. Of course, none for Andy. Perhaps Andy you might appreciate it if I choose to make comments about any questions you may enter along the same lines you did. And perhaps not.

No one really answered half my question but Pete's advice allowed me to reach my own conclusion.

Thanks

Centore
HeadIdiotCommented:
Thanks for the points, but I think we answered both parts:
1) does unsubscribe.com work?  No
2) which one does? spamcop.net
Mike McCrackenSenior ConsultantCommented:
Thanks.  Glad i could help

mlmcc
pigpogmCommented:
Thanks.  Just to add to the whole spamcop thing - i did use them for a while, with assistance from a couple of little utilities linked from their site, and i was fairly sure the amout of spam i got fell after a while.  Eventually, i gave up on it, though, as taking the time to report each bit of spam just took more time than i had.  If you can spare the time/effort, though, spamcop is great because it actually *achieves* something for everyone - getting the spammers' accounts cancelled.  MailWasher might help you, but doesn't do anything for anyone else.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
ThanQ
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