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Another Millionaire Spammer Story

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the MMF dept.

Spam 979

An anonymous reader writes "Here's another story about a millionaire spammer who thinks he is doing nothing wrong and can't wait to get his hands on the next generation of spamming software." See also the last installment.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732613)

booyaka-shaka-laka-laka-shak !!!

It's Friday and I'm off out to get hurt !

uhhhhhh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732616)

FP NIGZ

Re:uhhhhhh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732628)

your_post != &fp

All spammers (4, Interesting)

YorkshireONE (307613) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732618)

To me spammers are as disruptive to internet growth and society as virus\trojan etc creators.

MOD THIS DOWN! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732636)

-1, Redundant!

Re:All spammers (5, Insightful)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732659)

They are disruptive in many of the same ways. They take advantage of other people's resources, and naive users are the ones who keep both going.

They cause people to distrust each other. I am very cautious about giving a web site my email address for fear that it will be abused.

They both make email less pleasant.

Their creators all seem to be unremorseful. If only we could send viruses and trojans to them all.

Re:All spammers (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732747)

Nah, spammers actually spur Internet growth.

Think of all the legit system admins who spend hours cleaning out overloaded systems, and programmers who develop anti-spam solutions for both networks and users, and additonal bandwith that needs to be purchased so that legit traffic can move past all the spam.

The fact is, the more spam annoys people, the more they're willing to pay us to make it go away.

Re:All spammers (1)

YorkshireONE (307613) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732836)

Recently my work email address has started to get flooded with spam, about 15-20 a day. This means during the day my notes buddy speaks out stuff like "Increase your penis girth!!!!", "your Viagra order is ready!!!!". The line has been crossed and this man is no better than than the little toad who posts AC mod down posts.

dammit (3, Funny)

i_need_no_nick (577071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732623)

damn spammers :(

I lose more cool email addresses that way...

Great! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732626)

This is a great way to increase spam by showing all these success stories! Keep up the great work! :)

Spammers NEW address now available (3, Interesting)

Jetson (176002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732835)

From the article:

Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

Would anyone care to visit the Oakland County Land Titles Office?

Why does he have to wait? (0, Informative)

President A. Lincoln (600204) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732635)



Slashcode is freely distributable under the terms of the GPL.


Sincerely,
A. Lincoln

Re:Why does he have to wait? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732669)

Mod the parent up, because it makes a good point. However, if spammers switched to slashcode, most spam would contain a link to goatse.cx [goatse.cx] and therefore be way more easy to recognize by mail filters.

damn spammers (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732643)

"Alan Ralsky's brand new 8,000-square-foot luxury home near Halsted and Maple in West Bloomfield has been a busy place this month. Outside, landscapers worked against the November cold to get a sprinkler system installed before the ground freezes. Inside, painters prepared to hang wallpaper."

an angry mob will teach him to stop spamming us

Re:damn spammers (2, Insightful)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732757)

what happened to that million aol discs that was kicking about ? forward em to this guy.

mind u lots of things are morally dodgy yet make lots of money - look at fags'n'booze.

(BTW. all you 'phobic colonists know fag is something different in the uk ? right ?)

spam shark (5, Funny)

ciscoeng (411359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732655)

FTC> *knocking*

Spammer> "Who is it?"

FTC> "Flowers"

Spammer> "What?"

FTC> "Pizza delivery"

Spammer> "Oh. Ok."

Spammer> "Hey, you're that spam shark, aren't you?

love the snl reference (0, Offtopic)

bryanthompson (627923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732735)

too bad SNL's about to dip back into the 80's dark ages again :(

Will Farrell! come back!!!

ethical?? (5, Funny)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732664)

"I don't do any porn or sexual messages," he said, citing a..

can't say I've ever heard of an "ethical" spammer.....

sounds like an oxymoron to me...

Re:ethical?? (5, Funny)

asv108 (141455) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732804)

can't say I've ever heard of an "ethical" spammer....

Sounds like a crack dealer who won't sell to anyone under the age of 18.

More of the same... (5, Insightful)

Cap'n Canuck (622106) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732665)

Yet Another Spammer Story, as if we haven't heard enough.

I recently saw the "Bart gets a job as a bartender for the Mob" episode. The episode ended with
Bart: "I realize now that crime doesn't pay"
Fat Tony: "Yeah, I guess you're right"
At which point Fat Tony and his entourage leave in several strech limos.

The only point of posting stories like these seems to be:
1) enraging /. readers to a frenzy
2) proving that crime DOES pay.

Why bother?

Re:More of the same... (1, Offtopic)

Hurga (265993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732820)


The only point of posting stories like these seems to be:
1) enraging /. readers to a frenzy
2) proving that crime DOES pay.

Why bother?


If 1) results in a lynch mob, that would be something, wouldn't it?

Hanno

H my name is Rob (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732670)

And I am hung Like a horse!


Actually, it would be a very very ssmall horse!

Thank You!

May I (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732781)

May I lick it? Pretty please? I don't care about the size, I just care about the taste.



Hmmm... sweet man juices.



-Cowboy Neal.

Right... (5, Insightful)

skirch (126930) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732682)

"I'll never quit," said the 57-year-old master of spam. "I like what I do. This is the greatest business in the world."

I like what I do, even though I have to hide from everyone, use unlisted numbers, and pretend like it's not bothering anyone. It's truly the greatest business in the world. And the dog feces that keep coming in the mail don't bother me that much, either.

Ok, Step # 1 (5, Funny)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732685)

Find that T1 line.

Step #2 hire some blackhats to turn the entire center into a bunch of machines with blank disks.

Step #3 Repeat as necessary

I've got $20 in my hand that I'd give to that effort in a second.

Re:Ok, Step # 1 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732708)

One of the more noble reasons why someone on this site is typing with only one hand... :-)

Two Words: Electromagnetic Pulse. (2, Funny)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732730)

Oh please, can we? Pretty pretty please with cherries on top?

It'd get my vote.

Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732805)

Someone post an IP for this guy, and I am sure there are enough black hats and script kiddies in the audience to shake this guy down a bit.



If someone posts an IP, I will do a quick port scan of some of the most common ports, and see what is open. Maybe someone else could run Nesses(sp?) on it.

what's the exact address? (2)

sugrshack (519761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732686)

why not fill his mailbox and lawn with canned meat product?

Re:what's the exact address? (3, Informative)

cmeans (81143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732748)

The reporter seems to not mind us finding it...

Today, Ralsky says he is trying to keep a lower profile, operating through cell phones and unlisted numbers. Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

Subtle no? ;)

It will continue as long as it works... (5, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732689)

As much as everyone complains about spam, it's not going anywhere. The reason? It works. It's the same problem that all of the new invasive advertising (ads superimposed on football fields during games, etc) has.

As much as everyone complains about it, there are sufficient people who respond to the advertising and buy the products. As long as that happens, spam will continue.

Good to know he has money... (5, Insightful)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732694)

I hope the bastard slips up and get his ass sued off. Or better yet his customers get sued. This guy is a millionaire because spam works for companies who sell this crap and pay him to spam us with it. I imagine I'd have a hard time selling pills to enlarge your penis or free xxx pornsite passwords door to door. In fact I'd probably be arrested, especially after I tried to make the sale to a minor who answered the door. I don't see how e-mail should be any different.

Re:Good to know he has money... (5, Informative)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732762)

He has been sued before [detnews.com] . I don't think it has stoped him at all.

Re:Good to know he has money... (1)

ntp (611354) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732763)

> I imagine I'd have a hard time selling pills to enlarge your penis or free xxx pornsite passwords door to door.

RTFA! If you read the article, you'd know that he doesn't do any of those adverts.

Re:Good to know he has money... (2)

foistboinder (99286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732848)

RTFA! If you read the article, you'd know that he doesn't do any of those adverts.

And we should believe everything he says?

Well, if tech isn't developed.... (3, Insightful)

curtisk (191737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732698)

Hey, they guy is just making a buck right? (actually alot of bucks), would I do this.....probably not. But, until there is software to monitor mass mailings, I say, good for them, make their money while they can....

why hasn't there been software that would watch incoming messages, and say if > 10,000 messages come thru with the same subject line, flip those over to a "suspect" pile for administrator review, yeah yeah I know admins don't have the time to look thru the msgs, but there will either have to be a regulation on spam so its easily identifiable (header) or software to weed them out adequately, there are some out there.....but how well do they work?

otherwise, guys like this will cash in and live large while, we whine about what a scumbag he/she is.... :)

Re:Well, if tech isn't developed.... (2)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732791)

You could do similarity checks on subjects, but spammers already put random characters both in the subject and the body to avoid this kind of filtering.

I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (3, Insightful)

debest (471937) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732705)

"This is even better," he said. "You don't have to be on a Web site at all. You can just have your computer on, connected to the Internet, reading e-mail or just idling and, bam, this program detects your presence and up pops the message on your screen, past firewalls, past anti-spam programs, past anything.

"Isn't technology great?"


Firstly, can anyone envision what could possibly do this? Does your browser have to be trojoned to accomplish this feat? Could it be an IE-only kind of design bug?

Secondly, if he does manage this, he'd better do a better job of hiding his location, because he's about to piss off a *lot* of people with this stunt!

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732750)

Silly Man.

NetBios or something like that already lets this happen.

You have to disable it in services.

Good luck!

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (5, Informative)

EatHam (597465) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732769)

Firstly, can anyone envision what could possibly do this? Does your browser have to be trojoned to accomplish this feat? Could it be an IE-only kind of design bug?

I can envision what would do this - there's been stories about this already. It's those popup messages that come up from Windows Messenger. Easy enough to turn off and block, but most people don't.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (3, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732777)

Firstly, can anyone envision what could possibly do this?

The MS windows messaging service. With knowledge of an IP, you can send a message a computer that's just sitting on the network, with no software aside from the system + middleware running.

You can turn off the service, use any one of a dozen windows software firewalls, or just uninstall the bugger if you don't use it.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (2)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732780)

Can anyone envision what could possibly do this? Does your browser have to be trojoned to accomplish this feat? Could it be an IE-only kind of design bug?

Either (a) he's been lied to, and has bought into the NET SEND spamware - which certainly won't get through any firewall worthy of the name - or (b) he plans to trojan people. Something like Gator or Cydoor or that lot. He could probably afford to have his malware introduced into the next Kazaa release.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732794)

It's yet another complete absense of any security by default type feature in XP.

Windows has a built in message system that allows messages to be sent from the admin to users. Quite a nice idea, but it also allows everyone else to send you messages.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (1)

krylan (252712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732801)

I was curious about the same thing.

A trojan could do this, but that would first require him to send the trojan and the user to run it. Thats way too much work.

He could be exploiting some type of remote execution bug, but that would be extremely platform dependant.

Another point is that this requires an IP address as opposed to an e-mail address. How is he going to harvest these addresses? Scanning?

The more I think about it, I can't see any legal way of doing it. He's going to get his ass busted thinking these laws are as lax as spam.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (5, Informative)

pbranes (565105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732816)

Here is the entire quote

Ralsky, meanwhile, is looking at new technology. Recently he's been talking to two computer programmers in Romania who have developed what could be called stealth spam. It is intricate computer software, said Ralsky, that can detect computers that are online and then be programmed to flash them a pop-up ad, much like the kind that display whenever a particular Web site is opened. "This is even better," he said. "You don't have to be on a Web site at all. You can just have your computer on, connected to the Internet, reading e-mail or just idling and, bam, this program detects your presence and up pops the message on your screen, past firewalls, past anti-spam programs, past anything.

I seriously doubt that this guy has some new revolutionary technology that will allow him to force ads to pop up no matter what we are doing. This sounds like the typical spyware that comes with kazaa and other similar programs. There is a great cure for this: Ad-Aware [lavasoftusa.com] . This could also be the IE bug that was mentioned on slashdot yesterday [slashdot.org] .

Whatever this guy is talking about, it can be easily defeated by ad-aware, using mozilla, or disabling activex in IE.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (4, Insightful)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732825)

Firstly, can anyone envision what could possibly do this? Does your browser have to be trojoned to accomplish this feat? Could it be an IE-only kind of design bug?

All you need is a certain popular insecure operating system, which has this "feature" turned on by default, so you can see when your network print job finishes, etc.

This is one of the many wonderful reasons why I run OS X and Linux at home.

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (1, Informative)

bryanthompson (627923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732842)

I'm guessing he means This [wangjianshuo.com] . another splurge here [torrez.net] [torrez.net]

Re:I'd like to see if this is *really* possible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732847)

yes this is possible, on windows its very easy if you use the messaging service.

Stealth spamming? (2)

*xpenguin* (306001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732707)

Stealth spamming?

What a retard. Those programmers in Romania sure are smart though.

Dog feces! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732709)

I liked the comment that he's now unlisted because people kept "driving by" and someone left a box of dog feces on his doorstep.

Think of all the good in the world we can do by leaving a simple box of dog feces on all spammer's doorsteps. If enough people leave enough boxes of dog feces, maybe they'll get the hint and STOP IT!!

The more I think about it.... (1)

SledgeHBK (148480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732710)

Can you think of any other job that is more purely evil than working for a mega-spammer?

Jeez, honestly, I almost think I see Bill Gates in a more favorable light.

Re:The more I think about it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732751)


>> Jeez, honestly, I almost think I see Bill
>> Gates in a more favorable light.

Gratuitous Bill Gates comment: -1

file trading okay, spam not okay (0, Troll)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732713)

It always cracks me up when I read Slashdot articles about spam. The exchange of music, movies, and copyrighted software is universally-- well, almost; there are a few dissenters, but we're a minority-- upheld as just fine and dandy, and those who try to put a stop to it are accused of being totalitarian dinosaurs who are rapidly getting left behind by the Internet age.

Spammers, on the other hand, are the lowest form of scum.

This dichotomy amuses me. If you guys want to be free to trade music and movies and whatnot, then it's pretty hard to argue that spammers shouldn't also be free to email out their billions of pieces of junk mail.

Re:file trading okay, spam not okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732827)

I take it you administer a mail server for an ISP?

No?

Dumb fuck.

mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732843)

good point, although I'm afraid you'll end up as -1 Flamebait...

Ha! The Falun Gong thing worked! (5, Funny)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732716)

I remember people mentioning this a few /. articles back when we were talking about an effective way to stop spammers and Bernard Shifman...by reporting them to the Chinese government.

Earlier this month, said Ralsky, somebody told the Chinese government that a Web company from which he leases e-mail servers in Beijing was sending messages critical of Chinese policy.

Police promptly raided the business and confiscated Ralsky's servers. Although they were returned a few days later, Ralsky now tries to cover his tracks better, so opponents won't know what companies and servers he's using.

Linford said he heard of the raid. "It wasn't us that caused it," he said. "But there are a lot of anti-spam activists, and apparently some of them on their own started organizing a campaign to get the Chinese government to think that Ralsky was supporting" the Falun Gong, an outlawed spiritual group the Chinese government considers subversive. "We didn't endorse that, but it shows you how deep the anti-Ralsky feelings are."


If that worked, maybe we can find someone with a much *longer* reach to take him down.

We need to start reporting him as a terrorist to the FBI. We know how pushy they can be. :) As was mentioned in the Buckeye case from last night, they'll steal^H^H^H^H^Hconfiscate all his equipment during the "investigation"...

Re:Ha! The Falun Gong thing worked! (2, Funny)

darketernal (196596) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732802)

As was mentioned in the Buckeye case from last night, they'll steal^H^H^H^H^Hconfiscate all his equipment during the "investigation"...

I bet they have awesome LAN parties.

Is he *trying* to get arrested again? (5, Insightful)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732717)

Ralsky, meanwhile, is looking at new technology. Recently he's been talking to two computer programmers in Romania who have developed what could be called stealth spam.


It is intricate computer software, said Ralsky, that can detect computers that are online and then be programmed to flash them a pop-up ad, much like the kind that display whenever a particular Web site is opened.

"This is even better," he said. "You don't have to be on a Web site at all. You can just have your computer on, connected to the Internet, reading e-mail or just idling and, bam, this program detects your presence and up pops the message on your screen, past firewalls, past anti-spam programs, past anything.

"Isn't technology great?"

First of all no, this is not great. Second, as soon as he talks about intentionally bypassing a firewall, I start thinking that that sounds suspiciously like "circumventing an access control" which, I believe, is no longer legal.

Been there, done that (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732837)

This kind of "stealth spam" he's talking about sounds a lot like the Microsoft Messenger Service spam that we've already seen, and dealt with by closing those ports off to outside traffic.

"Stealth Spam" (1)

huwtj (620443) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732719)

from the end of the article:
Ralsky, meanwhile, is looking at new technology. Recently he's been talking to two computer programmers in Romania who have developed what could be called stealth spam.

It is intricate computer software, said Ralsky, that can detect computers that are online and then be programmed to flash them a pop-up ad, much like the kind that display whenever a particular Web site is opened.

"This is even better," he said. "You don't have to be on a Web site at all. You can just have your computer on, connected to the Internet, reading e-mail or just idling and, bam, this program detects your presence and up pops the message on your screen, past firewalls, past anti-spam programs, past anything.


Is this really possible? If so how?

Re:"Stealth Spam" (2)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732819)

>Is this really possible? If so how?

Why, Windows Messaging [mynetwatchman.com] , of course.

But let's get to the heart of the matter. As much as you can hate this guy for what he's doing, the reason he's making money (and the same reason telemarketers stay in buisness) is because they're are idiots [freep.com] out there responding to spam with their wallets. If everyone would adhere to the minimum essential committment to never buy anything as a result of unsolicited commercial advertisements, commercial spam would not exist.

Re:"Stealth Spam" and how it's done (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732833)

I believe he's referring to the Windows Net Messenger "feature". See here [techtv.com] for more info.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if that's what he's talking about. Ralsky is just the kind of guy to think that spamming you with pop-ups that can't be blocked by any kind of firewall or spam protection software is just the best thing in the world.

Of course, he's also the kind of guy to not know that particular "feature" can be disabled... see the techtv link to see how it's done :)

Re:"Stealth Spam" (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732834)

Yes, it's possible. It has been in the news a bit. It uses Windows messenger service, turned on by default. You can turn it off, though. In Win2k you can just disable the relevant service and be done with it. On unix derivatives (including/or MacOS) it won't be a problem.

I don't know how to disable it on Win95 derivatives.

Someone in his county please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732721)

look up his info from county records and publish it on here? I'm sure he'd appreciate some visits :)

Here's his email address and more info (5, Informative)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732723)

Here's more information on this scum bag:
scum bag info [spamhaus.org]
I'm still looking for the physical adress of his *new* home/data center. If anyone finds it as well as his phone number, or his email *he* uses. Post it!

hmm west bloomfield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732724)

30 mins from here...lets go pee on his house

It boils down to (5, Insightful)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732727)

Anyone can be rich, no matter how big an asshole he is.

But this guy is so big an asshole that the goatse.cx guy must be feeling embarASSed.

The poster should be modded -1:troll for posting such goatse-cx like stories to /. !!!

Stop me if you've heard this one... (5, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732728)

A spammer was hit by a bus. He, like all spammers, descended into hell, where he was met by a large, read minataur creature with huge, dripping horns.

"Hi!" the spammer greeted him. "There must have been some mistake. I wasn't supposed to go here. I was expecting to meet Saint Peter and pass through the pearly gates."

"TREMBLE, MORTAL SINNER, BEFORE THE UNHOLY TERROR THAT IS BEELZEBUB, LORD OF THE SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL!" the demon replied. "ABANDON ALL HOPE AS YOU BEGIN TO REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN!"

"Can't I go to heaven?" the spammer asked, quite sure that he had not really done anything worthy of eternal damnation.

"Sure," the demon replied in conversational tones. "But first you have to work off all the spam you sent. Millions and millions of emails, right?"

The spammer nodded, happy that he wasn't going to be confined to darkness and torment for all time. "What do I have to do?"

"These," the demon said, pointing to a endless field of paper stacked yards tall, "are printouts off all the spam you've ever sent. You must dispose of it all before you can leave this place."

"How do I dispose of it?" the spammer asked, somehwhat apprehensive about his task.

"I'll show you," the dmeon replied. "Bend over and pull your pants down..."

"nothing wrong" my ass . . . (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732729)

Here's another story about a millionaire spammer who thinks he is doing nothing wrong...

He knows exactly what he's doing, and that it's wrong. He just values money over what he knows is right. He's already been convicted twice for un-spam-related fraud.

There are few if any things in this world that someone is not willing to do for enough money.

How to fight spam? (2, Insightful)

livio (583002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732731)

No, really, think about it... Is passing laws, creating "intelligent filters", or any other security mechanism, an efficient way to really end spam?

In my humble opinion: No.

Possibly, spammers will continue to be creative and get across filters, security, etc. I think that a really effective way to fight spam is simply ignore it. By that I mean, never, ever answer a spam propaganda. Or even better, it would be very useful to "blacklist" all the companies which use spam as a means of advertising. Consumers in our capitalist society have to vote with their pocket... I see no other way.

In conclusion don't blame the spammer, blame the companies using spamming services. I would bet that spam would die a short death if all these unethical companies simply lost their businesses.

Re:How to fight spam? (2, Interesting)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732817)

"Possibly, spammers will continue to be creative and get across filters, security, etc."

Aaah. But here's the catch. These things he's talking about getting past in the article (firewalls, security patches etc) are what can be generally termed 'Access Controls'. Which all of a sudden will make him a bona fide criminal, worthy of serious jail time.

The DMCA: Not All Bad.

slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

denisonbigred (611860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732733)

/. time: 11 minutes

wow

it's an al qaeda plot (1)

scientistguy (627346) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732736)

This guy's a menace. Wouldn't it be nice if DARPA put just a bit of money into stopping spam originating from outside the US rather than considering using "eDNA" (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/22/politics/22TRAC .html [nytimes.com] ) within the US? At least this would be consistent with Homeland Defense.

Spammer's address (5, Funny)

phritz (623753) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732739)

I hope everyone noticed that, although the author promised not to give out the spammer's address, he conveniently told us exactly how to find it.

But, you know, it sure would be a shame if some /.er in the Oakland area were to go get that address. . . and a real shame if s/he decided to post that address here. I mean, what good could that possibly serve?

Oh the humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732743)

Ralsky used to be easy to locate, with a listed address and phone number. But his attorney, Robert Harrison of Bloomfield Hills, said Ralsky is so hated by anti-spammers that he's had to be less visible. [...] "Someone even left a package of what appeared to be dog feces." Today, Ralsky says he is trying to keep a lower profile, operating through cell phones and unlisted numbers. Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

You have to love the irony...a spam king going to great lengths to avoid what is essentially spam from anti-spammers.

You get the feeling... (5, Informative)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732744)

That the reporter doesn't really like spammers either, don't you? Consider this quote:

Today, Ralsky says he is trying to keep a lower profile, operating through cell phones and unlisted numbers. Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

Or, in other words, "I promised not to reveal the address, but if you want to look it up, here's how to do so..."

What a crook (5, Interesting)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732752)

This guy's obviously a crook. Kicked out of his previous profession for illegal behaviour. Sorry, what he does is not legal -- its stealing. He steals MY bandwidth, which I paid good money for. I have to download his crap mail wasting MY TIME and MY BANDWIDTH. But the solution to this is simple: make a comprehensive e-mail address list of all people you know, and have your e-mail program delete (or download only the header of) anything which isn't from someone you know.

As for pop-up ads and other crap, you can prevent that by a host file. I currently have images.slashdot.org on my hostfile, along with the locations of other sites that slashdot banners come from. I see no ads on Yahoo, CNET, DOWNLOAD.com, WSJ.com, MSN.com, etc. Other things to do are to disable playing sounds or animations, and to remove Flash from you're computer. As a last resort, you can just disable images altogether.

The technology that this crook described which would flash pop-ups to people connected to the internet is also illegal -- it steals MY resources (my RAM, my CPU time, my GPU power, etc). The way to stop that is to refuse non-requested pop-ups or other such information, to close off ports, and to install a firewall.

What a moron... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732756)

courtesy of switchboard:

Ralsky, Alan M
5016 Patrick Rd,
West Bloomfield, MI48322-1543
(248)661-3355

Re:What a moron... (5, Funny)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732844)

I'm afraid to actually check that out. Because if that is truely his address and phone number I feel really sorry for him. For sure latter tonight he'll hear:
"Hello, Alan, Have you heard the sad news? Steven King is dead at 54! Apparently he..."

As well as, "First Phone Call!"

And of course, "Hey, I've 1) Called you. 2) Uhhh... 3) PROFIT!!!! BTW, FreeBSD/Linux/etc are dying!"

But not before, "Hey Ralsky ol buddy. I think this call just might be one of several beowulf of phone calls!"

Address? (1)

jaredcoleman (616268) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732758)

What was that address?

No I wouldn't do THAT, but that would be a good place to mail all of your AOL cd's to.

Great Reporting! (3, Funny)

ictatha (201773) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732761)

You gotta love this reporter... From the article:

"Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records."

So he *didn't* publish the address, just told you where to find it. Good stuff! I don't know what this says about the reporter's integrity, but in this case I think we can let that go. :)

Ye cats (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732766)

" The computers in Ralsky's basement control 190 e-mail servers -- 110 located in Southfield, 50 in Dallas and 30 more in Canada, China, Russia and India. Each computer, he said, is capable of sending out 650,000 messages every hour -- more than a billion a day -- routed through overseas Internet companies Ralsky said are eager to sell him bandwidth."

I knew our dear friend Mr. Ralsky was pushing some major data, but that's just mind bogling. One can only hope that Michigan's former attorney general, and soon-to-be governor, Jennifer Granholm, may get the power to do something about him.

A Serious Question... (1)

kentyman (568826) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732768)

How in the fark do spammers make this money. I mean really, who the hell clicks this shite. Not even my Mom falls for this.

If I saw a sweet-ass product on TV, hopped on the computer to buy it, and noticed a spam for this product, I wouldn't buy it in a million years.

Maybe it's because I don't need/want a penile enlargement, breast augmentation, or a mail-order university diploma (or bride, for that matter).

-kentyman

If you didn't hate the guy before, read this... (1)

Wampus Aurelius (627669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732772)

Ralsky, meanwhile, is looking at new technology. Recently he's been talking to two computer programmers in Romania who have developed what could be called stealth spam.

It is intricate computer software, said Ralsky, that can detect computers that are online and then be programmed to flash them a pop-up ad, much like the kind that display whenever a particular Web site is opened.

"This is even better," he said. "You don't have to be on a Web site at all. You can just have your computer on, connected to the Internet, reading e-mail or just idling and, bam, this program detects your presence and up pops the message on your screen, past firewalls, past anti-spam programs, past anything.

"Isn't technology great?"


>=|

my 2 cents (1)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732773)

My thinking is that they may be making money now, with the thousands of new internet users starting daily, and not knowing any better. But eventually, won't the number of suckers decrease as the average net use per person goes up? The longer people are exposed to the spam, the more and more they just ignore it. Much like regular junk snail mail. Then what form of ultra-annoying advertising will they use? I personally never read the emails, and would never consider buying from a company that sinks that low. Just my honest opinion

So... (2, Funny)

darketernal (196596) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732774)

Does Rasky delete the spam he gets?

Expensive House != Net Worth (5, Insightful)

asv108 (141455) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732779)

Just because someone has an expensive house or drives a nice car, doesn't mean they have a net worth of a million dollars. One can have very little in the way of assets but can still get mortgages and auto loans. Generally, people who emphasize how much their possessions cost, are the type of people who bought everything on credit. Considering this guy has filed for personal bankruptcy before, he is probably highly leveraged.

Spam is obviously a profitable activity and the writer of the article is trying to emphasize the "millionaire" aspect, but I doubt this guy is a true millionaire.

Re:Expensive House != Net Worth (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732829)

Just because someone has an expensive house or drives a nice car, doesn't mean they have a net worth of a million dollars. One can have very little in the way of assets but can still get mortgages and auto loans.

Yes, Ralsky's been bankrupt and has a terrible credit rating. But he refinanced and got a good deal on a mortgage loan, and now he makes $$$ in a profitable home business.

Directed attacks on spammers idea (5, Interesting)

SnoooBob2k (620644) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732787)

Has anyone ever considered organizing a directed attack on known spammers? It seems to me that if I have to spend time deleting penis enlargement spam emails and forwarding them onto ucef@ftc.gov, I am losing productivity which in turn costs money.

Considering that that govt in the US is condsidering allowing recording companies to infect P2P networks legally, why shouldn't the same rights be given to a coalition of ordinary people to do directed attacks on spammers and their ISPs who little about the problem?

Get the impression the reporter doesnt like Alan? (1)

vendull (4435) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732788)

Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

In other words, I wont print the address, but here is where you can easily find it :).

Perhaps he should talk to Laura (1)

NoWhereMan (3539) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732789)

Looks like I should add another email address to my SPAMMERS list. They like to dish the stuff out but complain when people return it. They are clueless leeches who are abusing the system and it is easy to call their bluff. I got an email after I started forwarding the SPAM QUEEN this junk. Their complaining made much more sense when her mailbox clogged up a few days later and I got the following response:

The original message was received at Sun, 17 Nov 2002 14:00:27 -0500
from root@localhost

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
steve
(reason: can't create (user) output file)
(expanded from: <info@dataresourceconsulting.com>)
<laura@datares ourceconsulting.com>
(reason: can't create (user) output file)

----- Transcript of session follows -----
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/steve.lock"
procmail: Quota exceeded while writing "/var/spool/mail/steve"
550 5.0.0 steve... Can't create output
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/laura.lock"
procmail: Quota exceeded while writing "/var/spool/mail/laura"
550 5.0.0 <laura@dataresourceconsulting.com>... Can't create output

Stealth Spam (-1)

halik (301618) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732797)

i think what he is refering to is netbios spam. You know the "net send" messages that you can send to windows machines with open shares. The only problem i can see with it, is that thers no html support so the uses would have to cut and paste the links. Plus its only simple ascii, no editing or anything

So why isn't this fellow being ostracized? (5, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732803)

There's always a bit of a lag as law catches up to society. Sure, some people are duped by email, but some people would also like to burn black people on giant crosses for the crime of being born with a certain skin colour.

We have laws against the burning of people based on skin colour, why aren't there laws stopping spammers yet? Just because you can do something, even to the point of making money at it, it does not mean that it is ethical or moral to do!

This guys address (2, Interesting)

ntp (611354) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732809)

To all you people saying "I wish I had his address," RTFA.

>Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

The author tells where to get the address.

This would all go away if (1)

saider (177166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732815)

This would all go away if we stopped responding to the emails.

But I guess people will always need a cellphone while refinancing their house and getting their penis enlarged.

PAYBACK TIME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732818)

I live about 10 miles from him. >:)

I like this part (2, Redundant)

russianspy (523929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732831)

Ralsky agreed to this interview and the tour of his operation only if I promised not to print the address of his new home, which I found in Oakland County real estate records.

Allright. Soo... I promised not to print his new address, but If someone were to check this place out..... I mean, its not like the information is not publically available. It is all PERFECTLY LEGAL ;-)

I've decided SPAM isn't that bad... (5, Insightful)

airrage (514164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4732832)

I'm starting to think real hard about Spam. Inspired, much to my chagrin, by the recent articles concerning AOLs CD spamming campaign. I firmly believe when we wipe ourselves from this rock, and our ruined civilization is discovered, that alien archeologists will assume that an AOL CD is a religious artifact. But I keep thinking about this article, trying to determine why am I really angry. Partly, I'm upset because this person is making alot of money while I'm at work. Partly it's jealousy. I'm conflicted, that hell yes, if you can make 200K+ a year spamming then count me in; and yet, I've been on the net for a while now, before it got really popular, and I also have some of that old code of ethics with me.

But at least I have to hand it to this person, at least he's got some morals, or so he says. And at least Spam is environmentally friendly -- it doesn't affect the groundwater or the air I breathe.

And that's a big point. It reminds me that yes, it's upsetting, but at least it's not a lingering mess, environmentally. It's not a SuperFund site.

I'm reminded of Air-Mail delivery in this country. Airplanes were paid by the pound for mail, so more often than not, they would stuff the US mail bags with rocks to make more money. That's the essence of the point: we realize that there is money to be made in bulk. Pay by the pound, all-you-can-eat, spam-o-rama, and hope that just one sucker is out there.

The other point this article brings to light for me is the fact that, for the most part, we humans are actually brighter than I thought. The spam rate is horrendous. Something like 2 in a big-freaking-number. So Spam is casting a very wide net to catch a few sardines. I think that is quite a boost to our combined egos. We aren't as dumb as we behave in traffic.

I know many will make the point that it's clogging routers, servers, and generally a waste of time, but it's a grey area whether that's hard or soft dollars. What's the cost of one more email?

But we can change this. Why can't email be like instant messaging where only those on my buddy list can email me. The Spammer would have to guess my email address and some complicated guid to send me email.

So for me, at least until they change the SMTP/POP RFC to allow for end-user authentication, I'm okay with spam ... and frankly that scares me.

You're a mean one, Mr. Ralsky... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732845)

I live about 60 miles west of this guy. I wonder what I should get him for Christmas now, because the poop-on-the-doorstep thing has already been done.

Alan Ralsky uses ICQ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4732846)

Check him out at:

150652777

Or just search for "Alan Ralsky" in the ICQ white pages.
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