Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Thursday, April 24, 2003

 

Dear Microsoft Consumer...


Got me a virus email today. The letter got on my wrong side from the opening phrase, and went downhill from there. It started off:

Microsoft Consumer:


I am not a consumer!!!

I practice safe hex. I'm too scared to install and use a mail-reader program on Microsoft products. I use old non-user-friendly standbys - ssh - and pine. I yearn for some of the organizational features of modern mail clients - but on the other hand, I've got an email collection that goes back five years, and I've never had it destroyed due to an email virus/worm.

In the good old days, before we drowned in spam, there was an easy way, a standard way, to notify the manager of the system that it was being abused. You simply sent mail to postmaster@whereever. It was part of the internet social contract. I still read my postmaster mail. Paul Vixie still reads his. As for everyone else... well "abuse" and "security" are two good aliases to try... some providers just have web forms... some have no policies at all.

Here's what the mail looked like - I've noted in red the indications that this message contained a virus:



This message came via AT&T broadband. They're probably drowning in virus reports, and have policies and procedures for handing it... published somewhere ... aha (10 minutes of searching later) - oh, yea... abuse@attbi.com...

Let's forward that little evil message along to the right people. f,[paste],enter, Y, enter....

Ahh... Being a responsible netizen has obligations. Sometimes they are both easy and satisfying to fulfill. If more netizens took a few minutes out of their day to trace back and report abuse it would be a kinder, gentler metaverse.
 
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