Failure to educate a spam-friendly ISP: The case of snet.co.uk
I, Jeffrey Goldberg, report here on an failed attempt
to educate a spam-friendly ISP, snet.co.uk, during the middle of
December 2000. You may wish to jump right to
the mail exchange
instead of reading this over-long page.
- Spam was sent from emailsvr.net. This was
direct to MX spam with no attempt at forgery. Other information
reported from newnet.co.uk indicates that they were spamming at
less than 100,000 recipients per day. So this is relatively small
scale spam, with no forgery or relay abuse involved.
- This is the mini ISP which hosts emailsrv.net.
These are the people I first reported the spam to. These are the
people whom I am calling a spam friendly ISP. Though actually now
they are only a "would-be spam-friendly ISP" as their provider,
newnet.co.uk has compelled snet.co.uk to behave properly once I
brought that matter to the attention of newnet.co.uk
These are the providers for snet.co.uk. They were initially a bit
slow to respond to my report, and were careful in their
investigation. They appear to have been skeptical of the accuracy
of my conclusion and were initially inclined to put some weight to
their customer's denials. However, after they investigated more
thoroughly, they concluded as I did and managed to get snet.co.uk to
cut off emailsvr.net. Although there were some minor technical
hiccoughs which may have reflected a lack of experience in dealing
with spam, newnet.co.uk behaved extremely well and was very helpful.
I would say that their inexperience with dealing with spam reports
is to their credit.
I am a sometime email manager. I routinetly report the spam I receive to the
appropriate parties, but have never been engaged in anything like this
before. You can find out more than you want to know about me by
following links from
Several important facts
- In mail to me (which you will see), snet
repeatedly denied that they are a spam-friendly ISP. The conclusion that
they were indeed a spam friendly ISP is my own and is based not only on
what they did, but on what they have said in the very same email messages
which deny the claim.
- At the time of this writing, snet.co.uk has acted to prevent spam
from their customer I reported. However, they are only doing this
because their provider, newnet.co.uk, has applied pressure to
snet.co.uk to stop the spammer. The spammer in question was emailsvr.net,
an snet.co.uk customer. So now snet is just a
"would-be spam friendly ISP".
- After I sent a notification to snet (and others) that this website
and mail log had been established (but not advertised), I received
a message explaining to me
It seems that a junior administrator has been communicating with
you under my name he has been summiraly dismissed
This message adopted a very conciliatory tone and apologized for
the rudeness of the other messages, but appeared to reconfirm the
overall spam friendly policy. That message, and my response, is
listed in the correspondence published. It also had the same
pattern of punctuation style and spelling as all of the previous
messages. (My spelling is also terrible, but it works somewhat
like a finger print: Everyone who spells correctly, spells the
same way; while each misspeller has their own style.)
- The person I corresponded with at snet has threated to sue me for
calling them a spam-friendly ISP. I believe that the facts speak for
themselvs and that is my primary reason for wishing to post the
mail I've recieved from them on this matter.
- I've also been threatened with legal action if I post this correspondence.
I have done some investigation and have determined that both under
US law and UK law I have the right to do so. As a courtesy, however, I
have removed the address and telephone number (even though these were
likely to be business telephone numbers) of the person I dealt with.
I do list his name (as given in the messages) as he claimed to be the
director of snet. I have also removed some other, possibly personal,
information about him.
- The person at snet has said that he has reported my actions
"to the authorities". I don't know what that is supposed to mean, but I
have not had any contact from any authorities.
- I have posted about this matter on Usenet in the group
news.admin.net-abuse.email. My initial posting,
has had a number of followups. But start with that message ID to
see the ever changing thread.
Why am I posting all this?
- My primary reason is that the mail from snet.co.uk supports my
claim about their spam attitude.
- The ranting an insults that I received deserve retaliation. I choose to
do so by making the sender of them look ridiculous. Quoting him is the
way to achive that.
- For the amusement of all who have had to deal with spammers and there
protectors and apologists.
Why does this page suck?
I never expected to put in so much time to a simple report of spam as
as gone into this one. It is a matter of getting things done at all,
instead of producing a well designed page for this with lots of useful
links. Maybe it will be improved.
Where's the beef?
Read the mail exchange.
Version: $Revision: 1.6 $
Last Modified: $Date: 2002/01/05 17:49:37 $ GMT
First established December 22, 2000