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Fwd: FC: Impotence, cat litter spam floods Hong Kong email box

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>From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
>To: politech@vorlon.mit.edu
>Subject: FC: Impotence, cat litter spam floods Hong Kong email box
>Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 20:25:19 -0700 (PDT)
>Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.980409202136.12237D-100000@well.com>


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 11:16:42 +0800
From: Gren Manuel <gren@scmp.com>
To: 'Declan McCullagh ' <declan@well.com>
Subject: email address hijacked

Impotence-cure e-mail floods hijacked HK address
A Hong Kong businessman has received more than half a million junk
e-mail messages after an impotence cures salesman hijacked his Internet
 "I gave up counting when I reached 561,848," said John Sanders of
 Last night the junk electronic mail was still pouring into his office
after the salesman switched products to a replacement for cat litter.
 "The first thing I knew about it was Saturday when I logged on and I
had 1,000 e-mails," Mr Sanders said.
 Checks showed they were "bounced" messages from America Online, the
world's largest Internet firm.
 It later became clear a salesman had sent millions of long, badly
written messages to America Online's customers entitled "New Drug
GAURANTEES [sic] Male Sexual Performance!!" offering a secret to curing
impotence to those sending US$20 (HK$154.80) to an address in Los
Angeles. It added: "This drug belongs in every man's medicine
 However, the bulk e-mailer - or "spammer" - did not want the torrent of
abuse that such mailings can generate. And he did not want the messages
which are returned - or "bounced" - by Internet firms after users have
closed their accounts.
 So he altered the control data to make all returned mail arrive at the
address used by Mr Sanders' business, The EDI Shop, a consultancy on
electronic trading.
 "I really don't know why he chose it," Mr Sanders said. "Maybe because
it has got the word 'shop' in it."
 By the end of last weekend the e-mail was flooding Mr Sanders' e-mail
address. It was mostly bounced mail, but included hate mail from
opponents of electronic advertising and messages from impotent men.
 After a lull, the second batch arrived after a message entitled "NEVER
Use Cat Litter Again!!", including one which had been bounced off an
account used by United States talkshow host Oprah Winfrey. Attempts to
track down the spammer have proved fruitless.
 "There is nothing I can do," said Mr Sanders. "They are covering their
tracks and moving very quickly."
 Robert Cailliau, one of the World Wide Web's founding fathers who is
attending a University of Hong Kong conference, said he had never heard
of any junk mail problem that serious. Advertising was the biggest
problem facing the Web, he added.
 "This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It can only be solved
by a law," he said.

(c) South China Morning Post 1998
Note from Gren Manuel: When I spoke to this guy in the middle of the
week his email was arriving at the rate of 500 in 5 minutes. He can
filter out the bounced mail, but the flames and the genuine replies he
wants to reply to individually in an an attempt to explain that he is
not a spammer.

I can't think of anything he can do to prevent this keep happening. The
spammer has covered their tracks quite effectively and could choose
anyone's email address for their next spam. Any ideas?

It could be worse. In China, many Internet users pay for each incoming
international email.....


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