SageWorld

There are three major problems on the Internet. One is junkmail (spam), another is hacking and the last is Internet Psychopaths. Hacking was discussed in the Security Issues document, accessed from the main menu. This page shall deal solely with spam and psychopaths.

Internet Psychopaths.
    This is not an official term but probably quite accurate. There's a group of individuals who come from any walk of life - there's nothing that distinguishes them from anybody else it's possible to meet in the street. They don't look sick. They don't have horns and they don't even carry placards proclaiming their mental problems. It's a very difficult group to recognise instantly. They do, however, follow some general behaviour patterns:

  1. They're online at very strange times (between 1am and 6am). They normally compensate this by getting up very late in the afternoon - usually between midday and 3pm.

  2. Many are alcoholics.

  3. Many seem to be single women with children, no job and an alcohol problem.

  4. Quite a lot seem willing to discuss their deviant sexual preferences online.

  5. They become bosum buddies very quickly. During this stage, they try to learn as much personal information about you as they can, in the hope they can use this against you later.

  6. They take it slowly and build up the friendship with emails that are as regular as clockwork. Usually their emails will all be of similar lengths. Again, they try to learn as many personal details as possible.

  7. They write things in their emails and then deny ever having written them.

  8. They fly off the handle at the slightest remark and blame the sender. During this stage, such people are very dangerous.

  9. Many Internet Psychopaths like to play at diplomacy so they'll show you one face and somebody who might administer your system, a different face. So, they play nice to your administrator and then try to provoke you into a negative reaction.

  10. They'll make unreasonable demands or will offer to help you to do something and refuse to follow through.

  11. They'll be logged on to the Internet almost all the time. They'll be logged on first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evenings. They'll usually be logged in all weekend too.

  12. Many Internet Psychopaths attend "spod groups" or "gaming groups" where they can meet other Internet Psychopaths. There, they talk about the game that they're currently addicted to. Such groups have low opinions of people outside the group and are keen to admit new members.

  13. They believe anything negative about somebody but rarely anything positive.

  14. Their language is usually about what somebody else is doing to them or inflicting on them or how they're going to get revenge on somebody for something (usually trivial).

    Generally, it's all about power. They want angry reactions. They need to see reactions. In normal, everyday life, many have boring and mundane jobs. The Internet (in their warped minds) gives them the means to achieve power. If they can have you thrown off your own system for a situation that they created then they are ecstatic.
    It's not easy to deal with such people. Perhaps that's the answer: ignore them and they'll go away. The best advice is: if somebody seeks a reaction then don't give it to them. If somebody says "I hate Martians" to a Martian then they're expecting the Martian to become very upset. It's natural and human to be upset but Admin on your system won't see your side of the story first. Admin will see theirs first and as every psychologist will say: first impressions are the most important. The important thing is to recognise problems before they appear. Remember the golden rules:

1. If somebody says something that upsets you.

  1. Don't reply immediately. Leave it for a day or two.

  2. Don't reply angrily. Reply with something like "I'm sorry you feel that way. Perhaps it's best that we don't keep in contact".

  3. Do ask questions like "Why do you say such things" or "I didn't understand your message. Could you explain please".

2. If somebody starts asking personal questions:

  1. Ask yourself what they can use the information for and why they need it. If a child is using the computer and they are talking to another child, are they certain that supposed child is a child and not a paedophile?

  2. Maintain a logbook of who has asked which questions. You'll be surprised at the picture you'll build up of your supposed Internet friends.

  3. Consider giving false answers but keep a notebook in case you have to remember the answers. If you do create a false identity, don't exagerate - keep it simple and realistic.

  4. If somebody asks for your photograph, perhaps it would be a good idea to claim that you don't posess a scanner or a digital camera. Alternatively, you could post a picture cut from the local newspaper. Remember - you don't know why they need a picture - only the reason they say they want the picture.

3. If somebody wishes to meet you, that you've been chatting with via the Internet:

  1. The simple and best answer is: "No. I'm sorry, I don't meet people I only know via the Internet".

  2. If you do meet, don't carry anything with your address or car registration details on you, just in case your purse/wallet mysteriously vanishes - it could end up in your "friend's" pocket. Ensure that you meet in the middle of the day and in a busy town centre.

  3. Don't go home with them - not unless you have met them many times and had some of your friends opinions on them.

  4. Don't go into a quiet or lonely place with them.

  5. Take a friend to the first meeting. If they're genuine then this shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem for them then do not meet and hand their details to the police with your suspicions.

4. If somebody starts an angry exchange:

  1. Break it off.

  2. Don't reply at all, no matter what subsequent messages say.

  3. Don't read further messages from that person.

  4. Remember that most Email programs can filter emails from problem people into different folders, ready for sending to ISPs as examples of harassment.


    Do remember that if you break or ignore any of these rules, anything can happen. Anything can happen anyway but these rules should make your use of the Internet happier and safer. Above all, remember that if you spend a lot of time on the Internet then there is something very wrong with your social life that needs urgent attention. Simply putting it off will mean you become more addicted to the Internet until finally you become an Internet Psychopath. 

    Generally, the best advice about Internet chatrooms is: keep it friendly (don't swear or abuse others, don't talk about politics or religion, don't post URLs, email addresses, real adresses or phone numbers). Don't believe anything anybody tells you over the Internet (one never believes implicitely everything in the newspapers, so why believe what people say in a chatroom?)

Spam.
    Spam is junk email It can come from almost any source and is very difficult to stop. Spammers (people who send junk emails) have become rather adept at disguising their locations. Whatever else you may do, don't ignore spam. It's a form of Internet terrorism that's disguising itself as Internet commerce. You may choose one of three paths with spam:

  1. You can simply ignore the spam and press the delete key. This will delete the spam but you'll keep getting more. As the spammer finds that your emails don't bounce back as undeliverable then the spammer will pass your email address to other spammers. Thus, you'll end up with an ever increasing quantity of spam. In an average week, in a typical Hotmail account, 120+ junk emails could be received. Only some will be filtered out via the bulk mail filter.

  2. You can use throwaway web-based email accounts. These can be used until the quantity of spam becomes annoying. Then you simply close the account and open another. This is a very effective method but it does mean that all your friends have to remember your new email address.

  3. You can deal with the spammers. This can be a long process. One spammer sent spam and had his account closed down as the result of a spam report so the spammer moved to another ISP and the same process happened. Finally, after he'd had his third account closed, he stopped spamming.

    Spam is easily identified. Many spam mails will have a subject line that offers financial services, sexual services, is blank or has a puzzling subject line such as "Hello Fred" when the recipient's name is not Fred. Many will display a different email address to yours. For example it'll be addressed to X@Y.Com while your address might be Z@A.Net. Ignore this. Similarly many spam mailings will come with fake yahoo, msn or hotmail addresses. Many will also have blank reply addresses.

    What can be done with spam and what must be avoided?

  1. Don't, ever, use the unsubscribe option. This merely alerts the spammer that your account is active.

  2. Do look at the email header. This will look something like the example below. The figures in red are the I/P addresses. The text might be forged but one of the I/P addresses will be genuine. In this example, all would be genuine.

X-From_: mail-robot@somebody.com Sun Sep 09 09:16:56 2001
Envelope-to: recipient@recipient.com
Delivery-date: Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=moutvdom01.someserver.zz)
 by mail7.svr.pol.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 3.13 #0)
 id 15fzlw-0007KK-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=mrvdom00.someserver.zz)
 by moutvdom01.someserver.zz with esmtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlw-0004BL-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:56 +0200
Received: from pd902901a.dip.someserver.net ([111.111.111.111] helo=blackrock.intra.someserver.zz)
 by mrvdom00.someserver.zz with smtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlu-0006rj-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200
To:  Bogus customer <recipient@recipient.com>
From:  Bogus Magazine <mail-robot@somebody.com>
Subject:  A load of old SPAM
Reply-To:  magazin-error@somebody.com
X-Mailer: Perl SendMail Module 1.05
Message-Id: <E15fzlu-0006rj-00@mrvdom00.someserverzz>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200 

Don't complain to your own ISP. Your ISP will merely state that the email came from another server. Only rarely does junkmail come from the same server.

  • Do pass the I/P numbers through SamSpade or pass the whole email through SpamCop. If you use SpamCop, it is essential to use a throwaway account from which to send the email and to register with SpamCop because spammers monitor the site for new email addresses.

  • Don't attempt to reply to the sender with a rude message about what they think they're doing, comments on their parentage etc because it'll be some totally innocent person who'll receive the angry messages if the spammer has used a fake address. Such a recipient would be quite within their right to have your account closed down for sending junkmails.

  • Don't ever use your email address in newsgroups or when you use online registration systems. If you need to be contacted, always supply a throwaway account number.

  • Do give your normal email address to your friends (people you've actually met) and family.

  • Don't give your normal email address to Internet friends. They might be spammers or might sell your address to spammers.

  • Consider making your normal email address exclusive - if their address isn't in the address-book, their email is deleted from the server.

  • Change your browser so that new internet pages are not opened on demand. Also disable scripting, Some new spam mailings come with html based messages that open a webpage that will read your email address and record the information on the website's server. Thus, the spammer will know that your address is active and will send more spam.

  • Don't reply to adverts on the Internet "Lonely-Hearts" type sites. Some might be genuine. Many more will be spammers and a few will try to get you to visit their country, will rob and leave you or will tell you some hard-luck story and part you from your money.

  • Remember that some spammers can be quite nasty when they get caught spamming. If you don't give out your home address and home phonenumber on your site or via email and use an unregistered mobile phone number then you are untracable. Only your ISP can give the spammer your address and as that would be a violation of the law, a good ISP wouldn't do it. The following response was received from one spammer:

You received 4 issues of our magazine and never tried to unsubscribe. Since you are technically able to do this you have stayed as a subscriber with intend.

Instead of this you have done the following:

- you were afraid to contact us directly

- you listed us as a spam site on various systems

- you put our name as a spam example on your website

- you have blocked our daily mail servers and interfered customer emails and customer support systems
 
 

What we have done:

- we detected your behaviour and deleted your subscription today

- we are in contact with the Open University in Milton Keynes to check if you have used their facilities to disturb our operations 

- we are in contact with the Freeserve Ltd. to ask for removing our names from your website 
 
 

We demand 

- that you contact the sites where you blocked our email servers 

- that you immediately remove our names from your website 

- that you report us the success of your activities

If you do not comply with these demands and report their fulfilment within 2 weeks we will give the case to our London lawyer.You will be made responsible for the damage you have generated.You are old enough to know that your personal fight for security has to be within the laws to be legal.

Yours sincerely

 

       
      

There are three major problems on the Internet. One is junkmail (spam), another is hacking and the last is Internet Psychopaths. Hacking was discussed in the Security Issues document, accessed from the main menu. This page shall deal solely with spam and psychopaths.

Internet Psychopaths.
    This is not an official term but probably quite accurate. There's a group of individuals who come from any walk of life - there's nothing that distinguishes them from anybody else it's possible to meet in the street. They don't look sick. They don't have horns and they don't even carry placards proclaiming their mental problems. It's a very difficult group to recognise instantly. They do, however, follow some general behaviour patterns:

  1. They're online at very strange times (between 1am and 6am). They normally compensate this by getting up very late in the afternoon - usually between midday and 3pm.

  2. Many are alcoholics.

  3. Many seem to be single women with children, no job and an alcohol problem.

  4. Quite a lot seem willing to discuss their deviant sexual preferences online.

  5. They become bosum buddies very quickly. During this stage, they try to learn as much personal information about you as they can, in the hope they can use this against you later.

  6. They take it slowly and build up the friendship with emails that are as regular as clockwork. Usually their emails will all be of similar lengths. Again, they try to learn as many personal details as possible.

  7. They write things in their emails and then deny ever having written them.

  8. They fly off the handle at the slightest remark and blame the sender. During this stage, such people are very dangerous.

  9. Many Internet Psychopaths like to play at diplomacy so they'll show you one face and somebody who might administer your system, a different face. So, they play nice to your administrator and then try to provoke you into a negative reaction.

  10. They'll make unreasonable demands or will offer to help you to do something and refuse to follow through.

  11. They'll be logged on to the Internet almost all the time. They'll be logged on first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evenings. They'll usually be logged in all weekend too.

  12. Many Internet Psychopaths attend "spod groups" or "gaming groups" where they can meet other Internet Psychopaths. There, they talk about the game that they're currently addicted to. Such groups have low opinions of people outside the group and are keen to admit new members.

  13. They believe anything negative about somebody but rarely anything positive.

  14. Their language is usually about what somebody else is doing to them or inflicting on them or how they're going to get revenge on somebody for something (usually trivial).

    Generally, it's all about power. They want angry reactions. They need to see reactions. In normal, everyday life, many have boring and mundane jobs. The Internet (in their warped minds) gives them the means to achieve power. If they can have you thrown off your own system for a situation that they created then they are ecstatic.
    It's not easy to deal with such people. Perhaps that's the answer: ignore them and they'll go away. The best advice is: if somebody seeks a reaction then don't give it to them. If somebody says "I hate Martians" to a Martian then they're expecting the Martian to become very upset. It's natural and human to be upset but Admin on your system won't see your side of the story first. Admin will see theirs first and as every psychologist will say: first impressions are the most important. The important thing is to recognise problems before they appear. Remember the golden rules:

1. If somebody says something that upsets you.

  1. Don't reply immediately. Leave it for a day or two.

  2. Don't reply angrily. Reply with something like "I'm sorry you feel that way. Perhaps it's best that we don't keep in contact".

  3. Do ask questions like "Why do you say such things" or "I didn't understand your message. Could you explain please".

2. If somebody starts asking personal questions:

  1. Ask yourself what they can use the information for and why they need it. If a child is using the computer and they are talking to another child, are they certain that supposed child is a child and not a paedophile?

  2. Maintain a logbook of who has asked which questions. You'll be surprised at the picture you'll build up of your supposed Internet friends.

  3. Consider giving false answers but keep a notebook in case you have to remember the answers. If you do create a false identity, don't exagerate - keep it simple and realistic.

  4. If somebody asks for your photograph, perhaps it would be a good idea to claim that you don't posess a scanner or a digital camera. Alternatively, you could post a picture cut from the local newspaper. Remember - you don't know why they need a picture - only the reason they say they want the picture.

3. If somebody wishes to meet you, that you've been chatting with via the Internet:

  1. The simple and best answer is: "No. I'm sorry, I don't meet people I only know via the Internet".

  2. If you do meet, don't carry anything with your address or car registration details on you, just in case your purse/wallet mysteriously vanishes - it could end up in your "friend's" pocket. Ensure that you meet in the middle of the day and in a busy town centre.

  3. Don't go home with them - not unless you have met them many times and had some of your friends opinions on them.

  4. Don't go into a quiet or lonely place with them.

  5. Take a friend to the first meeting. If they're genuine then this shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem for them then do not meet and hand their details to the police with your suspicions.

4. If somebody starts an angry exchange:

  1. Break it off.

  2. Don't reply at all, no matter what subsequent messages say.

  3. Don't read further messages from that person.

  4. Remember that most Email programs can filter emails from problem people into different folders, ready for sending to ISPs as examples of harassment.


    Do remember that if you break or ignore any of these rules, anything can happen. Anything can happen anyway but these rules should make your use of the Internet happier and safer. Above all, remember that if you spend a lot of time on the Internet then there is something very wrong with your social life that needs urgent attention. Simply putting it off will mean you become more addicted to the Internet until finally you become an Internet Psychopath. 

    Generally, the best advice about Internet chatrooms is: keep it friendly (don't swear or abuse others, don't talk about politics or religion, don't post URLs, email addresses, real adresses or phone numbers). Don't believe anything anybody tells you over the Internet (one never believes implicitely everything in the newspapers, so why believe what people say in a chatroom?)

Spam.
    Spam is junk email It can come from almost any source and is very difficult to stop. Spammers (people who send junk emails) have become rather adept at disguising their locations. Whatever else you may do, don't ignore spam. It's a form of Internet terrorism that's disguising itself as Internet commerce. You may choose one of three paths with spam:

  1. You can simply ignore the spam and press the delete key. This will delete the spam but you'll keep getting more. As the spammer finds that your emails don't bounce back as undeliverable then the spammer will pass your email address to other spammers. Thus, you'll end up with an ever increasing quantity of spam. In an average week, in a typical Hotmail account, 120+ junk emails could be received. Only some will be filtered out via the bulk mail filter.

  2. You can use throwaway web-based email accounts. These can be used until the quantity of spam becomes annoying. Then you simply close the account and open another. This is a very effective method but it does mean that all your friends have to remember your new email address.

  3. You can deal with the spammers. This can be a long process. One spammer sent spam and had his account closed down as the result of a spam report so the spammer moved to another ISP and the same process happened. Finally, after he'd had his third account closed, he stopped spamming.

    Spam is easily identified. Many spam mails will have a subject line that offers financial services, sexual services, is blank or has a puzzling subject line such as "Hello Fred" when the recipient's name is not Fred. Many will display a different email address to yours. For example it'll be addressed to X@Y.Com while your address might be Z@A.Net. Ignore this. Similarly many spam mailings will come with fake yahoo, msn or hotmail addresses. Many will also have blank reply addresses.

    What can be done with spam and what must be avoided?

  1. Don't, ever, use the unsubscribe option. This merely alerts the spammer that your account is active.

  2. Do look at the email header. This will look something like the example below. The figures in red are the I/P addresses. The text might be forged but one of the I/P addresses will be genuine. In this example, all would be genuine.

X-From_: mail-robot@somebody.com Sun Sep 09 09:16:56 2001
Envelope-to: recipient@recipient.com
Delivery-date: Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=moutvdom01.someserver.zz)
 by mail7.svr.pol.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 3.13 #0)
 id 15fzlw-0007KK-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=mrvdom00.someserver.zz)
 by moutvdom01.someserver.zz with esmtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlw-0004BL-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:56 +0200
Received: from pd902901a.dip.someserver.net ([111.111.111.111] helo=blackrock.intra.someserver.zz)
 by mrvdom00.someserver.zz with smtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlu-0006rj-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200
To:  Bogus customer <recipient@recipient.com>
From:  Bogus Magazine <mail-robot@somebody.com>
Subject:  A load of old SPAM
Reply-To:  magazin-error@somebody.com
X-Mailer: Perl SendMail Module 1.05
Message-Id: <E15fzlu-0006rj-00@mrvdom00.someserverzz>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200 

Don't complain to your own ISP. Your ISP will merely state that the email came from another server. Only rarely does junkmail come from the same server.

  • Do pass the I/P numbers through SamSpade or pass the whole email through SpamCop. If you use SpamCop, it is essential to use a throwaway account from which to send the email and to register with SpamCop because spammers monitor the site for new email addresses.

  • Don't attempt to reply to the sender with a rude message about what they think they're doing, comments on their parentage etc because it'll be some totally innocent person who'll receive the angry messages if the spammer has used a fake address. Such a recipient would be quite within their right to have your account closed down for sending junkmails.

  • Don't ever use your email address in newsgroups or when you use online registration systems. If you need to be contacted, always supply a throwaway account number.

  • Do give your normal email address to your friends (people you've actually met) and family.

  • Don't give your normal email address to Internet friends. They might be spammers or might sell your address to spammers.

  • Consider making your normal email address exclusive - if their address isn't in the address-book, their email is deleted from the server.

  • Change your browser so that new internet pages are not opened on demand. Also disable scripting, Some new spam mailings come with html based messages that open a webpage that will read your email address and record the information on the website's server. Thus, the spammer will know that your address is active and will send more spam.

  • Don't reply to adverts on the Internet "Lonely-Hearts" type sites. Some might be genuine. Many more will be spammers and a few will try to get you to visit their country, will rob and leave you or will tell you some hard-luck story and part you from your money.

  • Remember that some spammers can be quite nasty when they get caught spamming. If you don't give out your home address and home phonenumber on your site or via email and use an unregistered mobile phone number then you are untracable. Only your ISP can give the spammer your address and as that would be a violation of the law, a good ISP wouldn't do it. The following response was received from one spammer:

You received 4 issues of our magazine and never tried to unsubscribe. Since you are technically able to do this you have stayed as a subscriber with intend.

Instead of this you have done the following:

- you were afraid to contact us directly

- you listed us as a spam site on various systems

- you put our name as a spam example on your website

- you have blocked our daily mail servers and interfered customer emails and customer support systems
 
 

What we have done:

- we detected your behaviour and deleted your subscription today

- we are in contact with the Open University in Milton Keynes to check if you have used their facilities to disturb our operations 

- we are in contact with the Freeserve Ltd. to ask for removing our names from your website 
 
 

We demand 

- that you contact the sites where you blocked our email servers 

- that you immediately remove our names from your website 

- that you report us the success of your activities

If you do not comply with these demands and report their fulfilment within 2 weeks we will give the case to our London lawyer.You will be made responsible for the damage you have generated.You are old enough to know that your personal fight for security has to be within the laws to be legal.

Yours sincerely

 

        Obviously, it's not a very nice email but then spammers are not very nice people. The best thing to do with trash like this is to send it straight through SpamCop back to his ISP. In this instance, it was yet another dial-up account. Regarding threats of legal action: those that threaten legal action are very rarely liable to come through with it. This particular spammer went through my website with an email harvester and harvested all 3 email addresses that were shown and spammed them all with this email. In the unlikely event that he actually did dare show his face in court, it would be very interesting to see how he accounts for numerous invitations to view paedophilic websites - especially since those invitations ceased as soon as his bogus magazine was put out of action! The trick with such people is to be more reasonable and nicer than they are (that's not hard). Regarding the spammer's claims - they're all poppycock as can be seen by viewing this website! Just don't let them win by spoiling your day. A recent comment by a friend about the above email was: "You should post this in NANAE (news.admin.net-abuse.email)  We like cartooney threats over there." and another comment was: "Remind them of your inflexible rule (you have one, don't you?) that you never EVER UNsubscribe from anything you didn't subscribe to.  Ever."

    Above all, remember the word SECURITY. If you don't take security seriously now then when will you? After you've have 10 spam mails, 100 spam mails, 1,000 spam mails, 1,000,000 spam mails? After you've had your credit cards stolen, been mugged and murdered by an Internet friend? Too late then - always think SECURITY!

There are three major problems on the Internet. One is junkmail (spam), another is hacking and the last is Internet Psychopaths. Hacking was discussed in the Security Issues document, accessed from the main menu. This page shall deal solely with spam and psychopaths.

Internet Psychopaths.
    This is not an official term but probably quite accurate. There's a group of individuals who come from any walk of life - there's nothing that distinguishes them from anybody else it's possible to meet in the street. They don't look sick. They don't have horns and they don't even carry placards proclaiming their mental problems. It's a very difficult group to recognise instantly. They do, however, follow some general behaviour patterns:

  1. They're online at very strange times (between 1am and 6am). They normally compensate this by getting up very late in the afternoon - usually between midday and 3pm.

  2. Many are alcoholics.

  3. Many seem to be single women with children, no job and an alcohol problem.

  4. Quite a lot seem willing to discuss their deviant sexual preferences online.

  5. They become bosum buddies very quickly. During this stage, they try to learn as much personal information about you as they can, in the hope they can use this against you later.

  6. They take it slowly and build up the friendship with emails that are as regular as clockwork. Usually their emails will all be of similar lengths. Again, they try to learn as many personal details as possible.

  7. They write things in their emails and then deny ever having written them.

  8. They fly off the handle at the slightest remark and blame the sender. During this stage, such people are very dangerous.

  9. Many Internet Psychopaths like to play at diplomacy so they'll show you one face and somebody who might administer your system, a different face. So, they play nice to your administrator and then try to provoke you into a negative reaction.

  10. They'll make unreasonable demands or will offer to help you to do something and refuse to follow through.

  11. They'll be logged on to the Internet almost all the time. They'll be logged on first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evenings. They'll usually be logged in all weekend too.

  12. Many Internet Psychopaths attend "spod groups" or "gaming groups" where they can meet other Internet Psychopaths. There, they talk about the game that they're currently addicted to. Such groups have low opinions of people outside the group and are keen to admit new members.

  13. They believe anything negative about somebody but rarely anything positive.

  14. Their language is usually about what somebody else is doing to them or inflicting on them or how they're going to get revenge on somebody for something (usually trivial).

    Generally, it's all about power. They want angry reactions. They need to see reactions. In normal, everyday life, many have boring and mundane jobs. The Internet (in their warped minds) gives them the means to achieve power. If they can have you thrown off your own system for a situation that they created then they are ecstatic.
    It's not easy to deal with such people. Perhaps that's the answer: ignore them and they'll go away. The best advice is: if somebody seeks a reaction then don't give it to them. If somebody says "I hate Martians" to a Martian then they're expecting the Martian to become very upset. It's natural and human to be upset but Admin on your system won't see your side of the story first. Admin will see theirs first and as every psychologist will say: first impressions are the most important. The important thing is to recognise problems before they appear. Remember the golden rules:

1. If somebody says something that upsets you.

  1. Don't reply immediately. Leave it for a day or two.

  2. Don't reply angrily. Reply with something like "I'm sorry you feel that way. Perhaps it's best that we don't keep in contact".

  3. Do ask questions like "Why do you say such things" or "I didn't understand your message. Could you explain please".

2. If somebody starts asking personal questions:

  1. Ask yourself what they can use the information for and why they need it. If a child is using the computer and they are talking to another child, are they certain that supposed child is a child and not a paedophile?

  2. Maintain a logbook of who has asked which questions. You'll be surprised at the picture you'll build up of your supposed Internet friends.

  3. Consider giving false answers but keep a notebook in case you have to remember the answers. If you do create a false identity, don't exagerate - keep it simple and realistic.

  4. If somebody asks for your photograph, perhaps it would be a good idea to claim that you don't posess a scanner or a digital camera. Alternatively, you could post a picture cut from the local newspaper. Remember - you don't know why they need a picture - only the reason they say they want the picture.

3. If somebody wishes to meet you, that you've been chatting with via the Internet:

  1. The simple and best answer is: "No. I'm sorry, I don't meet people I only know via the Internet".

  2. If you do meet, don't carry anything with your address or car registration details on you, just in case your purse/wallet mysteriously vanishes - it could end up in your "friend's" pocket. Ensure that you meet in the middle of the day and in a busy town centre.

  3. Don't go home with them - not unless you have met them many times and had some of your friends opinions on them.

  4. Don't go into a quiet or lonely place with them.

  5. Take a friend to the first meeting. If they're genuine then this shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem for them then do not meet and hand their details to the police with your suspicions.

4. If somebody starts an angry exchange:

  1. Break it off.

  2. Don't reply at all, no matter what subsequent messages say.

  3. Don't read further messages from that person.

  4. Remember that most Email programs can filter emails from problem people into different folders, ready for sending to ISPs as examples of harassment.


    Do remember that if you break or ignore any of these rules, anything can happen. Anything can happen anyway but these rules should make your use of the Internet happier and safer. Above all, remember that if you spend a lot of time on the Internet then there is something very wrong with your social life that needs urgent attention. Simply putting it off will mean you become more addicted to the Internet until finally you become an Internet Psychopath. 

    Generally, the best advice about Internet chatrooms is: keep it friendly (don't swear or abuse others, don't talk about politics or religion, don't post URLs, email addresses, real adresses or phone numbers). Don't believe anything anybody tells you over the Internet (one never believes implicitely everything in the newspapers, so why believe what people say in a chatroom?)

Spam.
    Spam is junk email It can come from almost any source and is very difficult to stop. Spammers (people who send junk emails) have become rather adept at disguising their locations. Whatever else you may do, don't ignore spam. It's a form of Internet terrorism that's disguising itself as Internet commerce. You may choose one of three paths with spam:

  1. You can simply ignore the spam and press the delete key. This will delete the spam but you'll keep getting more. As the spammer finds that your emails don't bounce back as undeliverable then the spammer will pass your email address to other spammers. Thus, you'll end up with an ever increasing quantity of spam. In an average week, in a typical Hotmail account, 120+ junk emails could be received. Only some will be filtered out via the bulk mail filter.

  2. You can use throwaway web-based email accounts. These can be used until the quantity of spam becomes annoying. Then you simply close the account and open another. This is a very effective method but it does mean that all your friends have to remember your new email address.

  3. You can deal with the spammers. This can be a long process. One spammer sent spam and had his account closed down as the result of a spam report so the spammer moved to another ISP and the same process happened. Finally, after he'd had his third account closed, he stopped spamming.

    Spam is easily identified. Many spam mails will have a subject line that offers financial services, sexual services, is blank or has a puzzling subject line such as "Hello Fred" when the recipient's name is not Fred. Many will display a different email address to yours. For example it'll be addressed to X@Y.Com while your address might be Z@A.Net. Ignore this. Similarly many spam mailings will come with fake yahoo, msn or hotmail addresses. Many will also have blank reply addresses.

    What can be done with spam and what must be avoided?

  1. Don't, ever, use the unsubscribe option. This merely alerts the spammer that your account is active.

  2. Do look at the email header. This will look something like the example below. The figures in red are the I/P addresses. The text might be forged but one of the I/P addresses will be genuine. In this example, all would be genuine.

X-From_: mail-robot@somebody.com Sun Sep 09 09:16:56 2001
Envelope-to: recipient@recipient.com
Delivery-date: Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=moutvdom01.someserver.zz)
 by mail7.svr.pol.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 3.13 #0)
 id 15fzlw-0007KK-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 09 Sep 2001 09:16:56 +0100
Received: from [111.111.111.111] (helo=mrvdom00.someserver.zz)
 by moutvdom01.someserver.zz with esmtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlw-0004BL-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:56 +0200
Received: from pd902901a.dip.someserver.net ([111.111.111.111] helo=blackrock.intra.someserver.zz)
 by mrvdom00.someserver.zz with smtp (Exim 2.12 #2)
 id 15fzlu-0006rj-00
 for recipient@recipient.com; Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200
To:  Bogus customer <recipient@recipient.com>
From:  Bogus Magazine <mail-robot@somebody.com>
Subject:  A load of old SPAM
Reply-To:  magazin-error@somebody.com
X-Mailer: Perl SendMail Module 1.05
Message-Id: <E15fzlu-0006rj-00@mrvdom00.someserverzz>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 10:16:55 +0200 

Don't complain to your own ISP. Your ISP will merely state that the email came from another server. Only rarely does junkmail come from the same server.

  • Do pass the I/P numbers through SamSpade or pass the whole email through SpamCop. If you use SpamCop, it is essential to use a throwaway account from which to send the email and to register with SpamCop because spammers monitor the site for new email addresses.

  • Don't attempt to reply to the sender with a rude message about what they think they're doing, comments on their parentage etc because it'll be some totally innocent person who'll receive the angry messages if the spammer has used a fake address. Such a recipient would be quite within their right to have your account closed down for sending junkmails.

  • Don't ever use your email address in newsgroups or when you use online registration systems. If you need to be contacted, always supply a throwaway account number.

  • Do give your normal email address to your friends (people you've actually met) and family.

  • Don't give your normal email address to Internet friends. They might be spammers or might sell your address to spammers.

  • Consider making your normal email address exclusive - if their address isn't in the address-book, their email is deleted from the server.

  • Change your browser so that new internet pages are not opened on demand. Also disable scripting, Some new spam mailings come with html based messages that open a webpage that will read your email address and record the information on the website's server. Thus, the spammer will know that your address is active and will send more spam.

  • Don't reply to adverts on the Internet "Lonely-Hearts" type sites. Some might be genuine. Many more will be spammers and a few will try to get you to visit their country, will rob and leave you or will tell you some hard-luck story and part you from your money.

  • Remember that some spammers can be quite nasty when they get caught spamming. If you don't give out your home address and home phonenumber on your site or via email and use an unregistered mobile phone number then you are untracable. Only your ISP can give the spammer your address and as that would be a violation of the law, a good ISP wouldn't do it. The following response was received from one spammer:

You received 4 issues of our magazine and never tried to unsubscribe. Since you are technically able to do this you have stayed as a subscriber with intend.

Instead of this you have done the following:

- you were afraid to contact us directly

- you listed us as a spam site on various systems

- you put our name as a spam example on your website

- you have blocked our daily mail servers and interfered customer emails and customer support systems
 
 

What we have done:

- we detected your behaviour and deleted your subscription today

- we are in contact with the Open University in Milton Keynes to check if you have used their facilities to disturb our operations 

- we are in contact with the Freeserve Ltd. to ask for removing our names from your website 
 
 

We demand 

- that you contact the sites where you blocked our email servers 

- that you immediately remove our names from your website 

- that you report us the success of your activities

If you do not comply with these demands and report their fulfilment within 2 weeks we will give the case to our London lawyer.You will be made responsible for the damage you have generated.You are old enough to know that your personal fight for security has to be within the laws to be legal.

Yours sincerely

 


 
    Obviously, it's not a very nice email but then spammers are not very nice people. The best thing to do with trash like this is to send it straight through SpamCop back to his ISP. In this instance, it was yet another dial-up account. Regarding threats of legal action: those that threaten legal action are very rarely liable to come through with it. This particular spammer went through my website with an email harvester and harvested all 3 email addresses that were shown and spammed them all with this email. In the unlikely event that he actually did dare show his face in court, it would be very interesting to see how he accounts for numerous invitations to view paedophilic websites - especially since those invitations ceased as soon as his bogus magazine was put out of action! The trick with such people is to be more reasonable and nicer than they are (that's not hard). Regarding the spammer's claims - they're all poppycock as can be seen by viewing this website! Just don't let them win by spoiling your day. A recent comment by a friend about the above email was: "You should post this in NANAE (news.admin.net-abuse.email)  We like cartooney threats over there." and another comment was: "Remind them of your inflexible rule (you have one, don't you?) that you never EVER UNsubscribe from anything you didn't subscribe to.  Ever."

    Above all, remember the word SECURITY. If you don't take security seriously now then when will you? After you've have 10 spam mails, 100 spam mails, 1,000 spam mails, 1,000,000 spam mails? After you've had your credit cards stolen, been mugged and murdered by an Internet friend? Too late then - always think SECURITY!