Blank Emails

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by John Gregory, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    sources for no apparent reason. I did note that a number seemed to be
    originating from an edu extension in New York state. I never open then but I
    can tell they're blank from the preview window my Outlook 2003 Inbox. Here's
    the latest I guess this is webmail.

    Any idea what's going on here?
     
    John Gregory, Feb 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. John Gregory

    Chuck Guest

    On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 03:45:05 GMT, "John Gregory" <*email_address_deleted*>
    wrote:

    >Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    >sources for no apparent reason. I did note that a number seemed to be
    >originating from an edu extension in New York state. I never open then but I
    >can tell they're blank from the preview window my Outlook 2003 Inbox. Here's
    >the latest *email_address_deleted* I guess this is webmail.
    >
    >Any idea what's going on here?


    1) They're mapping your domain. With no words in the body, they won't trigger
    a filter.
    2) The spam message was in a picture or other artifact, that got filtered by
    your email system.
    3) The dumb **** spammer forgot to include a message.

    Gravity is a myth;
    The earth sucks!
    http://www.againsttcpa.com/
     
    Chuck, Feb 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    Thanks, Chuck.

    P.S. Like you close: "Gravity is a myth; The earth sucks!"

    "Chuck" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 03:45:05 GMT, "John Gregory" <*email_address_deleted*>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    >>sources for no apparent reason. I did note that a number seemed to be
    >>originating from an edu extension in New York state. I never open then but
    >>I
    >>can tell they're blank from the preview window my Outlook 2003 Inbox.
    >>Here's
    >>the latest *email_address_deleted* I guess this is webmail.
    >>
    >>Any idea what's going on here?

    >
    > 1) They're mapping your domain. With no words in the body, they won't
    > trigger
    > a filter.
    > 2) The spam message was in a picture or other artifact, that got filtered
    > by
    > your email system.
    > 3) The dumb **** spammer forgot to include a message.
    >
    > Gravity is a myth;
    > The earth sucks!
    > http://www.againsttcpa.com/
     
    John Gregory, Feb 9, 2006
    #3
  4. John Gregory

    Moe Trin Guest

    On Thu, 09 Feb 2006, in the Usenet newsgroup alt.computer.security, in article
    <5VyGf.136914$>, John Gregory wrote:

    >Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    >sources for no apparent reason.


    Phonebook or dictionary attack on the mail server. Spammers are using
    zombies to try sending mail to common names or name sequences (such as
    a last name with leading or trailing initial ['jdoe' or 'doej'] or trailing
    number [doe23]) to get current lists of valid usernames. If the mail
    server accepts the mail, the username is valid, and is added to the list
    of valued contacts who want to receive spam. If the username is rejected,
    the name doesn't get added. The list may then be sold to other spammers.

    >I did note that a number seemed to be originating from an edu extension
    >in New York state.


    In theory, you could complain to your ISP. Probably won't do much good.

    >I never open then but I can tell they're blank from the preview window my
    >Outlook 2003 Inbox.


    Get a real mail tool.

    >Here's the latest I guess this is webmail.


    More likely it's just the output of a random character generator and is
    totally meaningless. The "From:" header is part of the contents of the mail,
    which is actually delivered based on what is called the 'envelope sender'.
    You only see that information when looking in the 'Received: header put on
    the mail by your ISP's mail server.

    >Any idea what's going on here?


    Normal spammer activity.

    Old guy
     
    Moe Trin, Feb 9, 2006
    #4
  5. John Gregory

    Ron Lopshire Guest

    John Gregory wrote:

    > Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    > sources for no apparent reason. I did note that a number seemed to be
    > originating from an edu extension in New York state. I never open then but I
    > can tell they're blank from the preview window my Outlook 2003 Inbox. Here's
    > the latest I guess this is webmail.


    John,

    Even Microsoft doesn't have enough resources to keep up with
    Outlook/OE Preview Pane exploits. Don't take this the wrong way, but
    are you nuts? I wouldn't use a preview pane with email from people
    that I know, let alone from the creeps that are sending you email.

    I have both Outlook and Outlook Express, but would never use them.
    Every month I patch them, though, since MS has been kind enough to
    embed them into WinXP and the Office Suite. I don't think that I can
    remember a month in the past year where one or the other or both
    didn't require some kind of fix, in many cases a critical fix. Here is
    an advance notice of next week's fixes:

    (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/advance.mspx)

    Look here for all of the recent Outlook/OE exploits:

    (http://secunia.com/)
    (http://www.us-cert.gov/)
    (http://isc.sans.org/)

    And then do a Google for Preview Pane exploits and see if you can find
    a knowledgeable person not affiliated with MS who thinks that the
    indiscriminate use of the Preview Pane in Outlook/OE is a good idea.

    ,-----quote------

    Preview pane is just as safe as opening a message (actually a bit
    safer, as it can't run as much active content as an opened message),
    especially in newer versions with all of the current windows and
    Outlook patches installed.

    ,-----endquote---

    This is from an MS Outlook MVP. Sounds reassuring as hell, doesn't it?
    Is there any security professional in the world who recommends opening
    mail from unknown sources? Beam me up, Scottie! Please!

    Ron :)
     
    Ron Lopshire, Feb 10, 2006
    #5
  6. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    Well, Ron... you've obviously got an opinion about a few of Microsoft's
    products. I've simply been a heavy computer user for about 20 years. I made
    a point to remain as Microsoft aligned as possible because they were the big
    guys, were lots smarter than me in this area, and I could shove a complaint
    down their throat if I had to and expect resolution in a reasonable length
    of time. Haven't had many occasions to test that with MS. Things seem to get
    resolved - the few there have been - quickly. If I were more of a
    technician, I'd probably be brave enough to venture into other areas with
    lesser-knows; a mistake could be corrected without the vendor's aid.
    Unfortunately... I'm at everyone's mercy. Although I'm not a green
    user...I'm still just ... a user.

    My link to the net come via cable to a router then a switch which services
    three machines in my home. They have their own firewalls and all run virus
    software. I've never had an incident. But I'm always concerned and always
    trying to stay as protected as...well... practical, for just a user.

    If there's a better email reader that makes sense to use, that blends nicely
    into MS Office Professional 2003, I'm all ears.Seriously!

    As for the numerous updates...they must be done automatically. The machine
    I'm using right now is about two years old. I know I've seen flash notices
    on my screen that some Microsoft piece has just been updated but I could
    count them on one hand. That's not to say there haven't been more; I just
    haven't seen them. That's one of the reasons I'm a Microsoft user; they seem
    to do all the work and fix it when it needs to be fixed for someone like me.

    I'm sure a guru wouldn't have this same attitude. They probably know all the
    overhead MS has to care 'cause it serves people like me. A lot of time and
    money is spent by them just protect me from myself. They even try to make
    the operating system dumb-proof; it fixes itself in many cases.

    We're a tad off topic but anyway... I appreciate what you've told me. And
    I'd like to know what other email readers I should be looking at.


    "Ron Lopshire" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > John Gregory wrote:
    >
    >> Over the past week or two, I've begun receiving blank emails from unknown
    >> sources for no apparent reason. I did note that a number seemed to be
    >> originating from an edu extension in New York state. I never open then
    >> but I can tell they're blank from the preview window my Outlook 2003
    >> Inbox. Here's the latest I guess this is webmail.

    >
    > John,
    >
    > Even Microsoft doesn't have enough resources to keep up with Outlook/OE
    > Preview Pane exploits. Don't take this the wrong way, but are you nuts? I
    > wouldn't use a preview pane with email from people that I know, let alone
    > from the creeps that are sending you email.
    >
    > I have both Outlook and Outlook Express, but would never use them. Every
    > month I patch them, though, since MS has been kind enough to embed them
    > into WinXP and the Office Suite. I don't think that I can remember a month
    > in the past year where one or the other or both didn't require some kind
    > of fix, in many cases a critical fix. Here is an advance notice of next
    > week's fixes:
    >
    > (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/advance.mspx)
    >
    > Look here for all of the recent Outlook/OE exploits:
    >
    > (http://secunia.com/)
    > (http://www.us-cert.gov/)
    > (http://isc.sans.org/)
    >
    > And then do a Google for Preview Pane exploits and see if you can find a
    > knowledgeable person not affiliated with MS who thinks that the
    > indiscriminate use of the Preview Pane in Outlook/OE is a good idea.
    >
    > ,-----quote------
    >
    > Preview pane is just as safe as opening a message (actually a bit safer,
    > as it can't run as much active content as an opened message), especially
    > in newer versions with all of the current windows and Outlook patches
    > installed.
    >
    > ,-----endquote---
    >
    > This is from an MS Outlook MVP. Sounds reassuring as hell, doesn't it? Is
    > there any security professional in the world who recommends opening mail
    > from unknown sources? Beam me up, Scottie! Please!
    >
    > Ron :)
     
    John Gregory, Feb 12, 2006
    #6
  7. John Gregory

    Ron Lopshire Guest

    John Gregory wrote:

    >
    > If there's a better email reader that makes sense to use, that blends nicely
    > into MS Office Professional 2003, I'm all ears.Seriously!
    >
    > As for the numerous updates...they must be done automatically. The machine
    > I'm using right now is about two years old. I know I've seen flash notices
    > on my screen that some Microsoft piece has just been updated but I could
    > count them on one hand. That's not to say there haven't been more; I just
    > haven't seen them. That's one of the reasons I'm a Microsoft user; they seem
    > to do all the work and fix it when it needs to be fixed for someone like me.
    >


    John,

    I also own MS Office Professional 2003, as I need and use Excel and
    Access. I am not an MS basher (no M$ here), and I think that Excel is
    a great program, or at least it was until the idiots added ActiveX
    controls. I don't use Outlook, though, as I don't want my data
    anywhere near an internet client. My wife uses, and swears at, Outlook
    all the time as her company is hell-bent on using anything that MS
    thinks is a good idea. That's what happens when you send your IT
    department to Redmond for training.

    My point about Outlook/OE Preview Pane is this. I don't see the need
    for it, and I don't understand why anyone would use it. Ever.

    1) If I receive an email from someone that I don't know (through 3
    spam filters) or as a result of a spoofing/phishing attempt, I don't
    want to read it or preview it. I just delete it.

    2) If I receive an email from someone that I do know, why preview it?
    I am going to open it anyway. To prescreen such email, IMO, would seem
    to me to be rude. <g>

    And the quote from the MS Outlook MVP is absolutely astounding. I do
    dangerous things like drive a car all of the time. They are worth the
    risk due to the benefit. But using a Preview Pane? IMHO, there is no
    benefit whatsoever regardless of whether the risk is real or even
    miniscule.

    All that said, if you like sending email from MS Word or any other
    Office program, I would think that Outlook or OE is probably the
    ticket. Go for it.

    Ron :)
     
    Ron Lopshire, Feb 12, 2006
    #7
  8. John Gregory

    Bob Furtaw Guest

    "Ron Lopshire" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > John Gregory wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> If there's a better email reader that makes sense to use, that blends
    >> nicely into MS Office Professional 2003, I'm all ears.Seriously!

    >
    > John,
    >
    > I also own MS Office Professional 2003, as I need and use Excel and
    > Access. I am not an MS basher (no M$ here), and I think that Excel is a
    > great program, or at least it was until the idiots added ActiveX controls.
    > I don't use Outlook, though, as I don't want my data anywhere near an
    > internet client. My wife uses, and swears at, Outlook


    I swear "at" it sometimes also, but I think you mean "swear by". :) Bob

    > all the time as her company is hell-bent on using anything that MS thinks
    > is a good idea. That's what happens when you send your IT department to
    > Redmond for training.
    >
    >
    > Ron :)
     
    Bob Furtaw, Feb 12, 2006
    #8
  9. John Gregory

    Ron Lopshire Guest

    Bob Furtaw wrote:

    > "Ron Lopshire" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>
    >>I also own MS Office Professional 2003, as I need and use Excel and
    >>Access. I am not an MS basher (no M$ here), and I think that Excel is a
    >>great program, or at least it was until the idiots added ActiveX controls.
    >>I don't use Outlook, though, as I don't want my data anywhere near an
    >>internet client. My wife uses, and swears at, Outlook

    >
    >
    > I swear "at" it sometimes also, but I think you mean "swear by". :) Bob
    >
    >
    >>all the time as her company is hell-bent on using anything that MS thinks
    >>is a good idea. That's what happens when you send your IT department to
    >>Redmond for training.


    No. Actually, I meant swear at. If she is using her computer (laptop)
    at home, and I hear a few choice words about something not going as
    expected, there is a >90% probability that she is checking her email
    and has a problem with Outlook. The other 10% is usually reserved for
    Acrobat Reader. <g>

    Ron :)
     
    Ron Lopshire, Feb 14, 2006
    #9
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