Saturday, October 15, 2016

What Is Spam Mail

What is spam, where does it come from, and why do I

receive it?

Spam email is a form of commercial advertising which is

economically viable because email is a very cost-

effective medium for the sender. If just a fraction of

the recipients of a spam message purchase the advertised

product, the spammers are making money and the spam

problem is perpetuated.

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Spammers harvest recipient addresses from publicly

accessible sources, use programs to collect addresses on

the web, and simply use dictionaries to make automated

guesses at common usernames at a given domain.

Spamming is politically debated in several countries,

and has been legislated some places with varying

results. Spammers often conceal or forge the origin of

their messages to circumvent laws, service provider

regulations, and anti-spammer lists used by anti-spam


At the present more than 95% of email messages sent

worldwide is believed to be spam, making spam fighting

tools increasingly important to all users of email.

See SpamCop’s spam statistics to see the spam trend over

See Wikipedia for more about spam:
Spam and viruses

Spam is increasingly sent from computers infected by

computer viruses. Virus-makers and spammers are

combining their efforts to compromise innocent computer

users’ systems and converting them into spam-sending

“drones” or “zombies”. These malicious programs spread

rapidly and generate massive amounts of spam pretending

to be sent from legitimate addresses.

It’s important for all computer owners to install and

maintain anti-virus software to avoid having their

computer infected and possibly become a source of spam

without their knowing.

Effects of spam

Aside from the amount of junk arriving in the Inboxes of

millions of innocent email users every day, spam can

have a more indirect and serious effect on email

services and their users.

Runbox has, like most email services, been a victim of

forgery by spammers using specially designed software to

generate false email headers and From addresses. Using

various server names and domains, they confuse domain

administrators, email services, and spam victims,

concealing the true origin of the messages. See

Wikipedia: E-mail_spoofing for more.

Hijacking of real users’ addresses or email accounts is

also common. Typically these messages will have the From

field showing something like “Lisa W Harold”

<>. Please note that such messages have

no actual connection to Runbox (to see what a real

Runbox header looks like, look at this example). Runbox

does not in any way distribute our customers’ email

addresses, and is not a source of spam — directly or


Several email users have been affected by falsified

messages claiming to be from the service’s

administrators, stating that users’ account are closed

and require some action by the user to be reopened. Such

messages often contain viruses and should be ignored or


When hijackers succeed in sending spam via an email

services, it can be temporarily blocked by other

services and private domains who try to protect

themselves. Runbox does everything we can to prevent

this, but it’s important that email users protect their

own account with strong passwords to prevent their

account being hijacked. See Tips for choosing and

protecting passwords for more information.

If you have had email sent from Runbox blocked by the

receiving service, please contact Runbox Support, and

also file a complaint to the postmaster or support desk

of the domain in question. Often, setting your From

address under preferences as or

will circumvent such domain blocks (all Runbox addresses

are synonymous on the .com, .no, and .us top level



An increasingly common phenomenon is “phishing”, where

messages appearing to be sent from e.g. legitimate

financial institutions attempt to trick recipients into

“verifying” sensitive data (such as credit card

information) on fraudulent web sites.

Legitimate services will rarely (if ever) send messages

requesting you to click a link and provide personal or

sensitive information. Be sure to verify the source of

the message before complying with such a request.

If you receive messages claiming to originate with

payment services such as PayPal, eBay, financial

institutions, or even Runbox, please verify that the

message is indeed sent from the service in question:

Look at the links in the message in plain text (not

HTML) view. Verify that the actual link contains the

domain name (e.g. or, and not

another domain name or IP address, by hovering the mouse

pointer over the link while looking at the status bar of

your browser. Remember that links in an HTML message may

be “disguised” and link to a different server than it

appears to do.
Check the message headers. Look at the IP address of the

sending server and verify that it resolves to the

correct domain and country by using a service such as

Falsified messages will rarely address you by name or

provide any personal information about you except your

email address, because the senders do not have access to

such information.
See Wikipedia: Phishing for more information.
In the wake of the increased onslaught of junk clogging

mailboxes, aggravation and frustration has caused some

misguided accusations and misconceptions about how spam

is generated and sent. Runbox is dedicated to fighting

spam as effectively and unintrusively as possible, and

in our Terms of Service strictly prohibits our users

from sending any type of spam through Runbox.

What does Runbox do to fight spam?

Runbox runs restricted access servers only. This means

that it is impossible to send mail from us without

logging in as a registered user, and we can trace every

single mail orginating from our system.
Runbox supports the Sender Policy Framework for

verifying the senders of email messages. See Wikipedia

for more information.
Runbox offers state of the art spam protection to all

our users. It is a unique combination of the renowned

points-based SpamAssassin, and the “intelligent”

statistical spam filter Dspam.
Runbox checks major databases of spam originators such

as the The Spam and Open Relay Blocking System, Spamhaus

Zen Block List and Razor. Users can block senders and

domains themselves using the Block sender button on

mails, or the list directly, under Manager:Filter.
Runbox enforces strict quotas on outgoing email and does

not allow trial users (those who have not yet paid for

their account) to send email to more than 20 recipients

per day.
Complaints about users sent to are

reviewed daily, and a single complaint is enough to shut

down a trial account, or even a subscribed one, if the

submitted email bears the hallmarks of spam, with no

valid disclaimer.
Runbox initially allows legitimate, double opt-in

Internet marketing mailings. However, such email MUST

include full disclaimers and numerous complaints will

still get accounts shut down.
Runbox manually reviews all account registrations

continuously, and we suspend any account that look

suspicious as a preventive measure.
Runbox does not provide “Challenge-Response” anti-spam

filtering, because it isn’t particularly effective, it

misplaces the burden of spam management on the sender

(which is often not the spammer due to forged messages),

and several other problems. See for instance this

article for more information: Challenge-Response Anti-

Spam Systems Considered Harmful.


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