About the Phantom Poster and SMTP (Internet) mail

Subject: About the Phantom Poster and SMTP (Internet) mail
From: Patrick O'Connell <titanide -at- MICRO -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 23:54:07 -0500

Here's what I can say about this from a technical point of view:

It really isn't very difficult to transmit an SMTP mail message under a
false address and "full name" (that which appears for me, at least,
between the <>'s after the raw address in any posting).

If all you have is a UNIX shell account, you must be sufficiently
knowledgeable to "speak" directly to the mail server daemon (constantly
running server process). This is non-trivial. Not just any Joe Blow
(Joe Bloggs, for you folks in the UK, I suppose) could do this.

HOWEVER...any Joe Blow/Bloggs, IF they are using PPP or SLIP rather than a
UNIX shell account, can pretend to be anyone else. This is due to the
highly trusting nature of mail client programs for, at least, Windows.
They simply ask you what your email address and full name are. On a UNIX
system, your email address is foreordained: it's based on your login name
and the name of the system where you have your account. And as a mere
mortal user, you certainly don't have the ability to change that address
at any time!

So basically it's a problem of too much control. My reco re: the Phantom
Mailer is to ignore him/her and s/he will eventually go away. The
absolute WORST thing you can do in a situation like this is pay attention
to what the creep is doing. [was speaking from experience there].

The once-again-employed
titanide -at- micro -dot- org
not to mention
titanide -at- generation -dot- net

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