Calling All Spammers
I get a lot of spam, between 1000 and 1500 per day, but I wonder: is that really a lot of spam? I checked the Guinness site and there are no records listed related to spam so that didn't help answer the question. Failing there I decided the only reasonable thing to do at this point was to write a little program, collect some statistics, interpret the facts through a pair of specially designed rose colored glasses, and then draw some questionable conclusions.
Here's the script:
#!/bin/bash set +o posix tmp=$$.tmp trap "rm -f $tmp" EXIT find ~/Maildir/.Junk ~/Maildir/.Spam -type f | \ while read file do grep '^To:' $file done >$tmp cat \ <(grep '^To:' $tmp | grep '<' | sed -e 's/^To: [^<]*<//' -e 's/>.*//') \ <(grep '^To:' $tmp | grep -v '<' | sed -e 's/^To: //') \ | sed -e 's/@.*//' \ | sort --ignore-case | uniq --ignore-case --count | sort --numeric --reverse | head -n 15
This baby looks thru my spam folders (Spam and Junk) and extracts all the To: lines (my account is a bit of a dumping ground for email addresses), it then normalizes the email addresses, sorts them, counts the number going to each address, and finally outputs the top 15.
Here's the result for a low volume day:
LJ has been around for a while and so we can assume that we are a High Value Spam Target (HVST). Continuing with our Assumption OverReach (AOR) lets assume that each address gets spammed only once per day per spammer, meaning that at most there are 140 spammers in the world causing all of these problems?
This is most distressing, only 140 spammers??? Our universities are falling down on the job. Industry is failing to train new spammers. Old spammers are not mentoring new spammers.
This is a call to arms: Spammers of the World Unite! As a first step I'm going to organize a conference, spam me for details.
Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.
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