MAIL ME THIS POSTING!
MY E-MAIL ADDRESS:
For example: homer@lightlink.com

                                            ART MATRIX - LIGHTLINK
                                            PO 880 Ithaca, NY 14851-0880
                                            (607) 277-0959      Voice
                                            (607) 277-8913      Fax
                                            (607) 277-5026      Modems
                                            homer@lightlink.com E-mail
                                            jes@lightlink.com   E-mail
 
                                            12/02/00 3:06pm
 
     SPAM AND FALSE MAIL HEADERS

     Many have asked "Hey Homer, this spam was addressed

     To: sucker@who-knows-where.com

     how come I got it anyhow, is there something wrong with the mail
server?"

     When most of us were kids in High School we were taught the
proper form for writing a business letter.  In the upper left was the
address of who the letter was to, and in the upper right was who the
letter was from, namely ourselves.

     Then we stick the letter in an envelope to provide privacy, and
so again we have to put both addresses on the envelope, in the upper
left is who the letter is from, and in the middle is who it is to.

     So every business letter has *FOUR* addresses, two in the headers
of the letter itself and two on the envelope that contains the letter.

     Notice that the ONLY address that needs to be correct in order
for the letter to actually get where it is going is the To: address on
the envelope.  The return address on the envelope, and the From: and
To: addresses on the letter itself are completely irrelevant, and can
in fact be completely wrong.

     Mail works the same way.  When you compose a message there are a
number of headers that are placed at the beginning of the letter:

     From: homer@lightlink.com
     To: goober@lightlink.com
     Date: Dec 01, 2000
     Message-ID: <lots-of-stuff@lightlink.com>

     But these are on the *LETTER* not on the *ENVELOPE*!

     When the mail is finally sent by most e-mail clients, like
Netscape, Outlook, Eudora etc, the body of the letter, plus its
headers with From: and To: lines are wrapped in another set of lines
called the envelope.  The envelope has a replica of the From: and To:
lines usually taken from the letter itself.

     However when spammers write software to send e-mail, they are
talking directly to the mail servers at the remote ISP's using a
language called SMTP, Simple Mail Transport Protocol.  Anyone can do
this, just 'telnet mx.lightlink.com 25' and type help.

     SMTP demands that first the envelope be entered with the
following commands:

helo there    (notice the one L)
mail from: <goofball@spammers-are-us.com>
rcpt to:   <goober@lightlink.com>        rcpt = recipient

     Then the letter itself is entered including its headers.  The
data command tells SMTP that what follows is the body of the letter
with its headers.  The period at the end tells SMTP that the letter is
done and to send it.

data
From: <president@whitehouse.gov>
To: <everyone@world.com>
Subject: Please buy our junk

     Hi there, you requested this (not), so read it!
.

     Notice the only address that has to be correct is the rcpt to:
<goober@lightlink.com> in the envelope!

     Now when this mail arrives on our system, the envelope To: line
is stripped out because it is redundant as the mail is placed directly
in the users mailbox, in this case goober.

     If goober were to take a direct look at what is in his mailbox,
he would see the remaining envelope line showing who the mail was
'From', and the rest of the letter with its full headers and body.

     But the From line in the envelope can be and often is completely
bogus, and the From: and To: lines in the headers of the mail itself
can also be totally bogus.

     When goober finally reads his mail, the From line of the envelope
is also stripped off leaving only the From: and To: lines in the
headers of the mail, so basically the end user never really gets to
see any part of the envelope that was used to actually send him the
mail.  Goober only sees that the mail was sent to everyone@world.com
and wonders how it got to him.

     Well that's how it got to him!

     Homer