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Living like an Irvanian in a universe filled with Dweasels

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Bloody Vikings…

March 23, 2007

Okay, I admit it. I’m not exactly the most prolific or timely blogger out there. Now, finally, after years of minor annoyance, the spammers have done me a favor: they’ve given me something to write a blog entry about.

I mentioned on my contact info page that I had to change the contact e-mail address on my web site because the old address was inundated with hundreds of spam messages every day. Then, shortly after I launched this blog and the Irvania discussion board last month, I noticed that somebody was attempting to use the new discussion board to send spam. I swatted the nuisances down as they popped up. Then somebody tried it on the new guestbook [now disabled]. Just yesterday, somebody tried sending spam in the form of comments attached to my last blog entry.

Dealing with the spammers is easy. They’re not the sharpest computer users around (otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time and energy sending spam) and wiping out their daily efforts before anything is seen by the public is generally just a few keystrokes and a few seconds of my time each day. It would be a minor annoyance in my daily routine if I didn’t enjoy squashing them so.

Still, all this spam raises two questions in my mind: who is doing it, and why?

The first question: why. Who knows? A deliberate attempt to pester people who run blogs and online forums? Hardly seems like a reason to waste hours every day. A need to annoy people who read blogs and forums? Can’t be. Financial reward? You gotta be kidding me… does anyone actually make any money sending spam? Does anyone really buy the stuff they pretend to be selling?

The second question: who. Okay, I haven’t bothered tracing back the inept attempts at IP spoofing and the bogus free e-mail accounts to figure out exactly who it is, but it’s pretty obvious from the tracks left in the mud that it’s one person doing almost all of it. The subject matter is pretty juvenile, the writing is sophomoric, and the whole thing looks like it comes from someone who doesn’t speak English as a first, or even second, language. Based on all that, my first guess was that it was coming from a kid with lots of time on his hands, probably in Russia based on some of the net path.

But then I got thinking… what if it’s not just some 11-year-old punk in Kiev with a lot of time on his hands? My mind started racing over the options… could it be that Russian hacker who got into the system four or five years ago? No, the Mossad took him out. Could it be a rival game designer? No, they’re all literate. Could it be that it’s that irate person who e-mailed me years ago who was really angry because he’d done a “really complicated” web search and ended up at my lame web site and couldn’t figure out how to get back out again? No, he wouldn’t be able to find this blog.

Then it hit me: hey, wait a minute.

Whoever is doing this is spending hours every day, week after week, specifically trying to harrass me, even though all evidence should be telling them they’re getting nowhere. Not only can’t they spell, they can’t put a sentence together to save their life. They’re wasting lots of time doing something pointless when they should be out looking for a job. They’re involved in illegal activities and they have no problem with using other peoples’ stuff without permission. Hmmm…

Could it be? Could the real-life Dweasels be back?

Stay tuned.


Thomo the Lost left this comment:

Unfortunately there is no loss of time for the spammers, their processes are mostly automated. And whilst me and thee would never consider the need for what they are flogging, it only takes a really small percentage (like maybe 0.0001%) to respond for them to make money.

Some of the SPAM doesn’t even have a link on it - for example, all the SPAM related to the penny stocks.

As for the poor language, that is deliberate most of the time, as in the early days of SPAM, SPAM filter used to assess the textual content of messages. Spelling and grammar errors are a way around some of those checks.

The origin of the SPAM is difficult to assess as well. Popular opinion puts it in China and Russia (amongst other places) but tracking back a sample that came into my inbox (you can do it if you have the time and know which areas of the header to actually look at) has shown a good percentage of it seems to originate in the US. The problem is that most folks do not notice this as all they see is server or reply-to address outside the US. There is, however, a large SPAM community in Florida, for example, judging from the IP addresses carried on the messages.

Also need to consider the money flow here. Penny Stock sales, for example, only seem to matter in the States, for example.

In any case, know that the frustration is shared - and after living in Mongolia for a couple of years, I now get one piece of Mongolian Language SPAM a month, and about 30 pieces of Russian Language SPAM a month, along with my nearly 100 English Language SPAM messages daily :-(

And now, back to missing my little ships :-)

... Thomo added this thought a few minutes later:

I should have mentioned as well - I am presuming that you have switched Akismet on in Wordpress … or a similar plug-in. That filters out pretty much all of the SPAM comments that come into Thomo’s Hole which I now run under WordPress.

This article was filed under:
March 2007 articles
Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content on this page was written: March 23, 2007
Last updated: June 11, 2016