Merit Network
Can't find what you're looking for? Search the Mail Archives.
  About Merit   Services   Network   Resources & Support   Network Research   News   Events   Home

Discussion Communities: Merit Network Email List Archives

North American Network Operators Group

Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical

Re: smurf reporting

  • From: Doug McLaren
  • Date: Wed Jun 10 00:37:57 1998

On Mon, Jun 08, 1998 at 09:38:41AM +0200, Mikael Abrahamsson wrote:

| To report smurfs in a more automated fashion we need a utility that'll
| take an IP number as input and then return email adresses from the
| arin/ripe whois database. I guess this can be done an an hour or five :)
| but I wonder if someone already has done this and would consider posting
| it here or to me privately?

ipw.  I love it.

Return-Path: <owner-spam-l@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
X-Copyright: (c) 1997 Ronald F. Guilmette; All rights reserved.
Message-ID:  <4546.895266008@monkeys.com>
Date:         Fri, 15 May 1998 14:00:08 -0700
Reply-To: rfg@monkeys.com
Sender: Spam Prevention Discussion List <SPAM-L@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: "Ronald F. Guilmette" <spam-l@monkeys.com>
Subject:      SPAM COMPLAINERS TOOL: IPW v1.2 released (web interface also
              available)
To: SPAM-L@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Status: RO
Content-Length: 8398
Lines: 149

I have created a small utility program which can be a useful aid whenever
you are attempting to find the ARIN/RIPE/APNIC registration record for a
given IP address.  In particular, this program, called `ipw' (IP whois) may
be particularly useful when trying to find the E-mail addresses of the regis-
tered owners/administrators of a given IP address which contains either the
original source IP address of a given spam message or the IP address of some
mail server through which a spam message has been relayed or the IP address
of a spammed-for web site.

Finding the correct E-mail address to send a complaint to which relates to
a given IP address used to be a rather time-consuming task, because you would
often have to look at all three of the IP address registration data bases
(i.e. ARIN, RIPE, APNIC) and/or you would have to perform multiple queries
on the ARIN data base in order to get the complete record for just the
specific IP address block of interest.  The `ipw' utility greatly simplifies
the task of finding the most relevant (i.e. smallest containing) IP address
block registration record for a given IP address by automating the otherwise
tedious search process.  ipw will make queries on the ARIN, RIPE, and APNIC
data bases, as necessary (and may perhaps make multiple queries in the case
of the ARIN data base) in order to find the more relevant IP address regis-
tration record for the IP address you give it as a command line argument.

(Note that the registration record, once found, will usually contain one or
more E-mail addresses corresponding to the registered owner(s) of the IP
address block in question, and complaints about spammish activities relating
to that IP address block can be, and probably should be sent to those ad-
dresses.)

ANSI/ISO C source code for the ipw.c program may be found in the directory:

        http://www.e-scrub.com/ipw/

along with a suitable Makefile for the program.  (Note that the program is
really only designed to run on UNIX, so if you want to port it to some other
operating system, I will wish you luck but I will also tell you that you are
basically on your own.)

Following the initial release of the 1.0 version of ipw, many fatal bugs were
found and fixed, and the current version number is 1.2.

Marty Bower <marty@mjhb.com> was kind enough to put put a nice friendly web-
based interface to my `ipw' program, and it can be found at:

        http://mjhb.marina-del-rey.ca.us/cgi-bin/ipw.pl

Please try it out.  Both Marty and I believe that you will find it quite
useful when trying to find appropriate E-mail addresses to send spam com-
plaints to.

One final note... Styles and methods of complaining about spam vary widely,
however I think it is worth a minute or two to explain why this program in
particular should be used by all persons who regularly complain about spam.

The primary reason for using this program to find E-mail addresses to com-
plain to is that it will help you to find some address to send complaints
to where the recipients might actually give a damn about your complaint.

Many people who complain about spam do so in a rather naive and misguided
fashion.  They get a spam from (for example) `mail.porno-king.com' or else
they get a spam promoting the web site `www.porno-king.com' and they promptly
proceed to send a spam complaint nastygram to <postmaster@porno-king.com>.

Well guess what folks?  9 times out of 10, <postmaster@porno-king.com> *is*
the spammer, and he will just throw your complaint into the bit-bucket, or
worse, he will wait until late Fraday night when all of the system admini-
strators have left for the weekend and then he will mailbomb the hell out
of you in retaliation for you having had the audacity to complain about his
spamming.

The essence of intelligent spam complaining is to find someone who might
actually behave responsibly when sent a spam complaint.  Finding such people
is actually rather easy.  You just need to find someone who has more than
a trivial/modest investment in his/her Internet resources.  A spammer who
has one little old Windoze box on one IP address and who has one domain name
(e.g. porno-king.com) has almost no real investment in his setup and he can
pull up his stakes and move on to greener pastures at a moment's notice.
Not so for people who own entire IP address blocks of at least 256 addresses
or more.  These people tend to be the responsible ones and the ones who really
don't like it when they find out that one of their customers is spamming.

That is where the `ipw' utility comes in.  It lets you find the E-mail address
of the person who is responsible for the entire containing IP address block.
Often, when the postmaster of the offending domain is unresponsive, the
postmaster or registered contain address for the relevant IP address block
*will* be responsive and *will* take action.  So just to be on the safe
side, I for one _always_ complain _both_ to the postmaster and registered
contact addresses for the offending domain _and_ also to the postmaster and
registered contact addresses for the IP address block which contains the IP
address of the offending machine.  Doing both gives me pretty good kill
statistics, and I hope it will do so for you also.

Two other notes...

First, although ipw's job is really only to looking registration records for
specific *IP addresses* it _will_ allow you to input a domain name as the
search key.  But don't be confused!  When and if you do this, ipw will just
do the equivalent of an `nslookup' on the domain name you give it (thus find-
ing the corresponding IP address for that domain name) and then it will just
do what it normally does, i.e. looking up the *IP address registration* for
that IP address.  Remember that there is a whole separate and parallel uni-
verse of ``name oriented'' registration records (mostly stored in the Internic
data base) that you can (and should) do lookups on also when trying to find
places to complain about spam.  A good place to do _these_ ``name oriented''
lookups is:

                http://www.allwhois.com/

Someday I hope to build something similar to the serach facility that is
already available at www.allwhois.com (but with a simpler interface) but
that is quite a ways off yet.

My final note about the `ipw' utility is that in its current incarnation it
makes no real efforts to tell you the exactly right place to send a complant,
i.e. the place where you might have the greatest hope of getting a favorable
response/outcome.  In particular, there are still several big-time spamming
companies on the net (e.g. Harris Marketing, Digital Intertainment, Ameriweb
aka Linkus) that have their own IP address blocks and so if you do lookups
using `ipw', the printed results may sometimes just show you the registration
recoords for one of these annoying parasites.  I hope to fix that in a later
version of `ipw' but you will have to just struggle along for now and keep
abrest of where and who the current well-known big-time spammers are.

Aw heck... I just remembered one more important footnote about ipw.

The output of ipw comes in two different formats... one format if the regis-
tration records is found in the ARIN data base and a totally different format
if the registration record is found in the RIPE or APNIC data bases.

In the latter case, the records printed may show a whole lot of different
E-mail addresses, *but* you will only be interested in the ones that appear
on lines prefixed by the string "e-mail:".  Those are the only ones that
definitely belong to the people who own the relevant IP address block.
Other E-mail addresses may appear in the registration record, but you should
ignore those because they may just belong to whoever last modified the record
in the data base, and that might have been someone unrelated to the actual
owner of the IP address block in question.

That's all.  I hope you all make good use of this utility.  Go yea forth and
get those spammers!


P.S. My sincere thanks to Marty Bower for putting together the web-based in-
terface for ipw.  That really makes it might more accessible for the general
online public.


-- Ron Guilmette, Roseville, California ---------- E-Scrub Technologies, Inc.
-- Deadbolt(tm) Personal E-Mail Filter demo: http://www.e-scrub.com/deadbolt/
-- Wpoison (web harvester poisoning) - demo: http://www.e-scrub.com/wpoison/





Discussion Communities


About Merit | Services | Network | Resources & Support | Network Research
News | Events | Contact | Site Map | Merit Network Home


Merit Network, Inc.