Please Teach Aunt Martha What SPAM is.

So the numbers are getting better. According to the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), 80% of Internet users are aware of the botnets and spam in email. They know that there is no national lottery or company that spells their product V1@gra. Still, 20 percent of users are still taking SPAM seriously. That is seriously a bad number and it shows, because the report says we continue to select the spam.

Think about it – There are 305 million in the United States alone. That means sixty-one million people will respond to SPAM. Sixty-one million will be at risk of loosing thousands of dollars and possibly their credit line. Sixty-one million might get malware on their machine, which might enter your machine. Now apply that 20% to the 6.6 Billion from around the world. That means you can market a SPAM campain to 1.2 billion viewers and expect about 120 million to respond (using the 1:100 ratio).

We, as responsible IT reporters, talk about awareness to SPAM. But now I think it’s time for us to start pleading that you need to change your stance from an advocate, to a teacher. Turn your efforts into educating your parents, grandparents, friends, cousins and other people what SPAM, botnets and Malware really is and how to avoid it.

If we became a world with a 95% awareness to SPAM, we might just fight the ongoing problem. I just recorded a segment on my Podcast (Day in Tech History) for March 30th. I talked about how SPAM had creeped back up to where it was just before the MoColo server was taken down. That was noted on March 30th, 2009; 4 months after the server was raided.

Now, granted, 5% of non-aware people is still a big number. About 15 million in the US and 300 million worldwide. However, that number is more palatable than 61 million and 1.2 billion. I would like to believe in 5-10 years we could reach that number naturally. The only problem is that spammers are like everyone else – They learn from their drawbacks.

Sometimes I am impressed with some of the messages received. My curiosity sets in, so I want to take that message a little further. However, I do that in a controlled environment. Never on the production machine, where my email addresses could be mined. Never to a link that looks like it’s this:

(in those cases, I will remove the extra data). Never a short-link in the email (example: If I go to a page with any type of login – especially one that looks like a popular website such as Facebook or Twitter – I stop.

Curiosity may get my cat, but it shouldn’t get yours. That is, unless you take the same amount of precautions. Of course I also do it to make sure I can explain what you need to look out for.

Spam, botnets and Malware can be big business for those who utilize it. They prey on those who don’t know better. They make new tricks to take your hard earned money. The only way to really turn the tables now is to sit down with the kids like you are going to tell them the birds and bees, but in this case, it’s a discussion on how SPAM is bad.

Don’t forget to also sit down with Mom and Dad and have that same discussion.

GNC-2010-03-18 #560 Headed for Texas!

I have had a great week here in Silicon Valley lots of great meetings all headed towards our big announcement in a couple of weeks. I have assignments a plenty in tonights show. I hope you will respond with emails and call into the voice mail hotline. For those coming out see you at 7pm Friday night at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Milipitas at 7pm please RSVP!

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Spammers Survive!
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Possible Shuttle Delay!
ExoPlanet in Habitable Zone?
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IE9 Accolades?
Viacom / YouTube Disclosures!
Ex-Employee Bricks Cars.
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Google Set Top Box!
Wanna see inside a AT&T COW?
No More Screen Protectors.
Google Calendar Re-Scheduler!
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FCC Broadband Plan.
No More Advertising?
Google to Leave China?
YouTube Statement on Viacom Lawsuit.
Is Adobe in Trouble?
Teen Sexting Ruling!
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GNC-2010-02-18 #553 Live in Texas

Probably advisable not to be in the Ustream chat with a pizza handle, I will ban you. He folks hopefully this show encoded ok the last one had some issues. I replaced it but not before about 25,000 of you had downloaded it. Lots of tech tonight and some stimulating questions for you to respond to.

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Show Links:
Sony to end OLED sales in Japan.
Pay for goods on Facebook with Paypal.
Google buys and kills Remail?
School Spied on kids with Laptop Webcams?
Jobs says Flash is to power hungry?
BSOD during last Tuesday patches? You have a Trojan on your PC!
Advanced testing to get kids Graduated by 10th grade?
Don’t spam a Judge!
Australian Copyright Industry has it backwards!
Patent Shell Company Game!
NBC delayed Telecast causes spoilers!
YouTube allows blocking of content to set top boxes?
NY Times $20-30 for iPad edition :)
Your P2P files not subject to search warrant!
What a View!
Next Shuttle mission delayed!
Is that a Wi-Fi signal in your Sim Card?
256gb USB Stick?
NEC does 16gbps USB 3.0 Connection.
Entourage Delayed!
HP Slate to be Cheaper then iPad?
Inside Olympics Mission Control.
Orange Peel = Ethanol
Windows Phone 7 Strategy!
Andromeda Images x3
Should Google Apologize?
Time Warner Pricing out of Site!
Netflix and watch Instantly!
Smartmobs is this not the truth!
iPad Shippments!
WordPress has short outage!
Dumber and Dumber!

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Shut that Forum down (or clean it up)

Before I got into blogging and podcasting, I ran a few internet forums. It was easy – setup a YABB (Yet Another Bulletin Board System) forum and let the minions have at. I had some pretty interesting forums in my day, and with it, a lot of controversy. Still, I kept things cleaned and tidy. Spammers were dealt with quickly and swiftly.

I still have one forum running. It’s more of a homage to those days, if anything. There are some that still come on to talk, so I keep it going.

Recently I have seen a lot of forums that have not been touched by a human. The story is the same – the forum owner pretty much abandons it, but keeps the registration simple. Within a couple months, the first spammer shows up. Maybe it’s a post about male growth pills. Maybe it’s about meeting up with girls. Nonetheless, it’s a spammer doing what they do best.

Now normally I wouldn’t care two hoots if you left your forum to deteriorate like an old shack in the middle of the woods. However, the spam starts to grow, and with it malware. Links to websites of naked girls are really sites that try to infect your computer. Links to cool videos turn out to be phishing schemes linking to misleading login pages.

Bottom line – you are infecting computers and allowing people to be swindled out of money.

We as a web community should be aware of what we do. After all, if you do own a house, you want to make sure that it is continually stable in it’s structure. When the power goes down, if the roof leaks, if the basement grows mold – you fix it. That should be the same mentality of a website.

Simple checks of your web domain(s) can keep things running smoothly. Forums that have been over run should be shut down or cleaned up. Deleting forum spam is an important part of being a webmaster.

Even newer websites should have some precautions taken. If you have a blog, make it so comments are moderated first. Install Akismet to block some of the malfeasance. Tie down some areas, including the registrations, so people don’t have to read or accidentally get malware or phished.

Part of keeping the bad stuff off the internet is to make sure the hackers and phishers don’t have a place to put their information – on your dime. And if you don’t have the time or energy to maintain a website, then either lock it down and clean it up or shut it off.

It’s ok to loose interest in something. Heck, I do that all the time. However, you should also clean up your mess you left behind. Otherwise, good people could be swindled out of $250,000 because they think they won a lottery. Good people could loose out just trying to find out about the new miracle male enhancement pill. Most important, you might just get blocked by Google, anti-viral programs, reporting services that keep an eye on the web and a lot more.

You never know when someone gets hit with hacking. Heck, it might even be your family or friends that get affected and infected. You don’t want that, do you?

GNC-2009-05-29 #481 I lead off with PowerPress Update

Ok folks we have a Round Table coming up this weekend I hope you will stop by for the show. Details on the blog at Covered a lot of ground on this show ending with some amazing news about a Dutch music organization!

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Phantom Torso back from Space
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Show Topic Notes:
Travel Honey to find your Car!
Palm Pre will Sync with iTunes!
Ultimate Chip Cooling
Party online likes its 1964!
ISS Image from Ground Telescope
Geek Gear!
Look mom no Finger Prints!
Zune HD Video and Overview
Hulu had a reason for putting Boxee in Penalty Box!
Wikipedia blocks Scientology IP’s
Woz amazed at Microsoft’s
The Secret Newspaper Honcho Meeting to retake the world.
What Model of Camera is This?
New Mars Rover Named!
Soyuz off to ISS with 3 more Crew Members!
If you got this Ticket you would be mad.
Closest Supernova in 5 Years!
This is how F111 dumps Fuel
EFF comes up with some Instructional Material.
FCC to deal with Rural Broadband
Spam Levels reaching 90%
Acer Windows Home Server great Price!
Windows 7 SSD Performance.
Scan your Prints when leaving the US.
DNS should remain in US Control?
AT&T CEO says Data Consumption on Mobile Networks Killing Them!
Dutch Music Firm Gamble with Artist Earnings.
Honolulu Electronic Voting results in 6% turn out!

GNC-2007-05-29 #271

Lots of great content even for a holiday weekend. Talk real quickly about Final Cut Studio 2as well as my QuickBooks dilemma!

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Sony Screw Prices
Joost Friends Edition
Joost Invites
3 Apple TV’s?
Deadly Delay

Show Notes:
Firefox Cautions
Ban the Bulb
Your Birthday
ISP Video Spoilers
Did not Download It
Japan Culture :)
Marketing all Wrong
Netscape Hacked
Nice Shipping
Firefox Ranking
One Million Zunes Sold
Prescription Glowcaps
PDC Canceled
Vista Update Maps Review
Google Mini Matrix
MillionRSS Overview
Illumio Review
Particls Review Interview
Domain Squatter
PR Pawns?
PR Spam Bloggers
28 New Planets
Wifi Hacks
Security Deposit
Final Days of Google
Beyond the Browser
Google and Yahoo Promoting Domain Squatting
Google Deal under Antitrust Scrutiny

Google Apps for Your Domain!

GoogleappsAs many of you know that listen to my show you have been hearing me complain about the amount of Spam I have been getting. I have been looking all over the net for a solution and those that I found where either too expensive or they were made for people with small volumes of mail.

As I was talking to Angelo he and I decided to try a Google Service that has been around for a while in beta testing. We both have used Gmail quite a bit and I know it is as good or better than the Spam checker we have been running on our own servers. Up to this point we have been using Qmail with Spamd and several others utilities to filter the mail and scan for viruses.

I decided to take the plunge and applied for a couple of domains tonight and within about 20 minutes I had the mail moved over to Google and was down-loading it into outlook like I always do. I logged into the very familiar Gmail interface and instead of a domain I was not on my very own domain.

So I have been watching the filtering here for a couple of hours, and can tell you so far I am very happy, the true test will come in the morning when I down-load my mail as normal, and then cross check on the Google site to see how much Spam it has caught that I have not had to deal with it. If it works out we are going to see if we can move over a few more domains.

What amazed me was how easy it was to setup, Google has done a really good job here, I am sure that some people would be very worried about having Google host their e-mail and I am not a 100% sure how I feel about it yet. One thing for sure,  I feel pretty good that none of it will go missing. []

Judge may ask ICANN to shutdown SPAMHAUS domain!

Spam In what I can only describe as sure stupidity on a judge’s part it seems that one of the organizations that keep a lot of Spam out of your inbox may be in trouble over a recent lawsuit. It seems after being sued by an accused spammer and then not showing up for the court case they lost by default.

Spamhaus is a volunteer group that is well respected but if this judge shuts them down it could spell big trouble for ISP’s worldwide that rely on them to curb the amount of Spam in your inbox. It’s really sad that apparent spammers have more rights to abuse people than those of us that are not abusing the Internet! [Techdirt] [Ambersail]

Spam is out of Control!

We have been using all of the regular stuff you use on ones own dedicated server but I will be honest the Junk mail is killing me. I have started to hunt for a solution out there that will help with the situations. What I would like to use is a service like but there site design is such I cannot even figure out how to sign up with them. Pretty sad when the site is not intuitive enough to figure out how to setup an account.

I also don’t care for how their pricing is tiered I will need more than a thousand inbounds a month but I need a lot less than there next level of service. If you have a good solution that you are using I really would like to here from you as I am about to get a solution that will help me deal with all the junk coming in.

How much of your e-mail is going lost?

I often ponder that exact question when I hit send. The majority of time I think the e-mail makes it but there have been times when e-mail just goes missing. Last night I sent out over a 100 invitations to podcasters I have been following online inviting them to to become content producers on the Podcaster News Network how many of those went missing is unknown but it can be scary.

Next week I send out over 500 e-mail to parties that have been clamoring for information about a new podcast site we are launching called Blubrry I am very concerned that some of those e-mails will just get sucked up and destroyed by Spam filters. But in the case of one company that was bidding on a school contract the school awarded a contract that cost them $250,000 more because a spam filter tagged a inquiry the school had sent out on the bid. Bad news for the contractor, bad news for the taxpayer and with both parties headed to court more money will be lost.

So just how much e-mail is your company loosing? []