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Getting Support : For the Geeks

On attacking back at the spammers

from bobo - Tuesday, December 31, 2002
accessed 1112 times

There's a few things you can do.

Win32News tip of the week - Using Windows Command-Line Networking Tools for Online Sleuthing
There's a lot of things going on that you don't see when you connect to a website. DNS resolution, IP routing, and other gibberish that's usually best left ignored. Sometimes though, we like to peek behind the curtain and see what's going on.

Here are a few tools that come with the Windows operating system you can run to find out a little bit about what information your computer is sending and receiving from the outside world. To run these, just open up a command window by selecting "Run" from the "Start" menu and typing "Command". When the window opens, just type in the command you want to run.

Tracert (or Trace Route)
When you bring up a website in a browser, you connect to a number of servers to get to the server that the site is on. Tracert will tell you the address of every server that you pass through to get to that server. There are programs like VisualRoute that use Tracert to show a geographical map of each server. You can watch as your request for a site in Iowa goes through New York, California, and Washington. Although rarely used, it can be very interesting to see the results.


If you are unsure if you're Internet connection is down or maybe just slow, you can send a Ping command as a quick test instead of waiting around for the site to show up. When you ping a server, it will return how long it took to reach that server by sending the smallest amount of information possible. Helpful to see how fast sites are and how fast your own connection is.


Netstat can be a very useful tool and it can also make you into a paranoid schizophrenic. When you run Netstat it will display every server your computer is connected to. Very helpful test to see if adware or spyware is installed on your machine. If your computer is connecting to a server that you don't know about, you can start to wonder about the security of your system.

netstat -a

There are a number of others tools, and other uses for these tools, but these three make for a good introduction to network detective work.

Find Out Who is Spamming You
Even with current filtering software, junk mail can still slip through. If you receive some and want to fight the powers that be for sending it, here's what you can do.

First off, find the address of the domain the email came from. The address listed as the "From" or "Reply-to" are usually fake, but you can find the real name of the originating address in the hidden code for that email. Most email programs have a "View Source" or a "Show All Headers" selection under the "View" menu. Once that's selected, you should be able to see the "Message-ID" item. The part of the email address after the "@" sign is what you want.

With the domain of the offending spammer in hand, you can go to Internic and look up the owner's information for that server. It will list the legitimate email address for the company and the company's ISP.

From here there are a few choices of what you can do. You can send an email to the ISP to complain about their tactics. If the originating email is a Hotmail or Yahoo address, you can forward the spam to the postmaster at that company and they will disable the account. If the email is offering fraudulent claims or deceptive advertising, they can be reported to the FTC by forwarding the email here.

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