A security consultant has designed a free program to hit back at companies that send junk email.
Steve Harris of Net Services has devised a program called Spam Hater, which works with several email packages including those using Microsoft Explorer and Netscape browsers.
?It is based on a tool I was developing to help make add-ons and plug-ins accessible to different types of email,? he said.
The program analyses the message headers to produce a likely list of addresses that are sending junk mail. It also generates a WHOIS query to track down the perpetrator. It then prepares a reply to the junk message, with a choice of legal threats, insults or a jokey personal flame. One of the replies is a message that junk email is illegal in America. ?What we have found is that people who have used the program have either had apologies from the spammer or from the ISP, which was angry that it was being used by a spammer,? Harris said.
A number of spammers had lost their accounts with ISPs because people had complained about their activities, he added.
?There is no doubt that the amount of junk mail being sent out is ramping up. In some cases it is causing users a real problem,? he said. ?Some of the junk mail even includes programs to sell more junk mail."
Spam Hater can be downloaded from www.compulink.co.uk/~net-services/spam/
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