The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Getting back at Chinese spammers

The other day I recieved a piece of spam. Nothing spectacular, no jewel cartels, no ex-girlfriends, no marijuana and no pleas for help from timetravellers. Nope, just your ordinary porn spam.

Only it was to my private email address—the one that until now was spam free.

I want to make sure the person that sent this out pays.

So I start tracking headers, and well, it seems to come from China, which means there isn't a whole lot I can do. Or is there? This is what I sent back to the spammer and various upstream providers (including the one in China):

This is unsolicited spam. Please remove me from your list promptly. To the others I have carboned on this message: the user is a spammer and I did not request to receive this email, nor do I wish to receive such email, nor do I want the products advertised herein. A copy of the full email follows.

Thank you.

[headers removed—nothing important here]

Hello I am your Falun Gong instructor.
I am the one you dream About,
I will train you in the ways of Falun Gong, for it is my life,
Love to talk about and any subject.

Falun Gong is my way of life,
Ultimate in exercise.

I am ready for you.

It is not yoru looks but your determination that matters most,
With My teaching skills I can make your dream come true…

Hurry up! call me let me instruct for you…………….

TOLL-FREE: 1-877-451-8336

For phone billing: 1-900-993-2582


Falun Gong being an illegal religion in China. I hope the spammer doesn't mind me changing the message a bit.

The millimeter waves of space

So sweet. Rob lent me his Cisco Airo 340 (a wireless PCMCIA network card) since he's not really using it right now; he was using it at work but they shut down the wireless network there.

I pulled down the latest version of the PCMCIA Linux drivers and started compiling. When loading the Airo module it kept complaining about unresolved symbols. Now, I'm compiling the modules under Linux 2.0 (they compiled fine) but I'm guessing some subtle changes have been made. I found the required symbols (under 2.0.39 they're inline functions), added the include file (<linux/isdnif.h>) to airo.c and that solved that problem.

The next problem: verbosity.

Since my laptop is rather limited in memory, I don't really run much, so any messages the kernel prints gets dumped to the console, and this driver is rather chatty. Annoyingly so. So back to the source code, comment out the messages, and we're good to go.

I had ssh1 installed but since there are issues with it, I decided to go ahead and install OpenSSH (since I already have it compiled for Linux 2.0). That was harder to get working than getting on the network. Regenerated the keys three or four times (on this laptop, that's not a fast operation), installing PAM, playing with configuration files and all it turns out to be is a permission problem on /dev/tty. Sigh. I still have problems with scp (secure copy—I keep getting “protocol error: unexpected <newline>”) but I'll solve that soon enough.

But this wireless network is soooo sweet. The ability to walk anywhere (well, within a few hundred feet) and still be online. So I can now sit out in the courtyard and work, or (like I am now) hanging out with Rob as he sets up a file server for the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere and watching Junkyard Wars and still being online.

But then again, you knew I was a geek to begin with.

Nuke one spammer

I heard back from one of the upstreams on the spam I received: the account has been removed. Score one for me, but I hope that my email address isn't passed on.

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