At Indra’s Net, we know that the deluge of unsolicited bulk email (or “spam”) undermines everyone’s productivity and enjoyment on the Internet, and we are committed to taking every possible measure to shield our customers from it. In this section, we answer common questions about what Indra’s Net does to protect you from unwanted email, as well as general inquiries about the nature of spam and what measures are being taken to put an end to it once and for all.
What Does Indra’s Net Do About Spam?
On August 5, 2003, we unveiled the Indra’s Net Spam Controller, a server-wide spam blocking utility based on the Internet-wide anti-spam initiative DCC (Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse). Unlike many common spam filters you may be familiar with, DCC does not attempt to ascertain whether or not the content of an email message qualifies it as spam. Rather, through a system of over 150 servers around the Internet, it counts the number of times it sees a particular message. This is a remarkably effective way of identifying bulk email: if the exact same message is seen many times being mailed to a large number of different people, it’s quite likely to be spam.
Internal testing of the Indra’s Net Spam Controller was very successful, and went live on August 20, 2003. Current Indra’s Net customers are invited and encouraged to familiarize themselves with the interface, customize their settings, and monitor their Rejected Mail Log, since messages are blocked at the server level and will therefore affect everyone (although anyone can opt-out of the Spam Controller at any time). Any messages that are being rejected that you would prefer to receive can be marked, or “whitelisted” for future successful delivery. (Because of how the Spam Controller works, people who are subscribed to any mailing lists in particular need to carefully monitor their Rejected Mail Log to ensure that messages from their mailing lists are being delivered as intended.) The Spam Controller saves all rejected messages for a period of one week, so that you have the opportunity to go back and review even rejected messages.
Current Indra’s Net customers can access the Indra’s Net Spam Controller on our secure server using their login name and password.
Even though it is expected that the Spam Controller will catch most of the spam that plagues us, we take the following additional measures to control unwanted email:
- We do lookups on all incoming mail, and block email coming from bogus domains.
- We block email from known spam offenders.
- We subscribe to the Open Relay Data Base, ORDB.org.
- We monitor all reports of spam sent to our help or abuse email addresses and report the offenders to their ISPs requesting that their accounts be closed. We then take the senders’ IP addresses and submit them to the ORDB.org database.
What Else Can I Do About Spam?
In general, it is very hard to personally cut down on the spam you receive without help from your ISP and/or spam filtering software. The longer you have your address, the more likely it has been harvested by spammers, and the more spam will be sent to you. Following these simple guidelines can help minimize the proliferation of your email address onto spammers’ lists.
- Never respond to spam, UCE (unsolicited commercial email), or any other type of junk email. If spam contains removal or opt-out offers, never accept them. More often than not, these are simply attempts to get you to verify that your address is being actively read. This information will be sold to others and you will receive that much more spam.
- Set up filtering on your inbox. The current versions of the most popular email programs all support highly configurable email filters which can automatically move unwanted mail out of your inbox, or simply delete it.
- Let us know about particularly annoying or offensive spam. We will do our best to track down the source and keep at least that one offender from bothering you further. When informing us about a spammer, forward the offending message (with all original headers intact – this is critical in helping us to determine the source) to email@example.com.
What Is ORDB?
ORDB stands for the Open Relay DataBase. ORDB is a non-profit organization which stores a list of machines which have open relays. An open relay is a misconfigured mail server, and it contributes to the spam problem by allowing unverified email to pass through it. ORDB blocks between 15 and 30 thousand messages a day, which would otherwise get passed on to unsuspecting Internet users.
Indra’s Net uses ORDB because it works. It is estimated that up to 80% of all junk mail is sent through open relays, so that the senders can remain hidden, and so that the bounced messages, as well as the complaints, will not come back to haunt them.
For more information, check out the ORDB.org Web site at http://www.ordb.org.
Feel free to email any additional questions concerning unsolicited email to firstname.lastname@example.org.