What is Spam?


Why am I getting email that wasn’t addressed to me?

Spammers use lists of email addresses. Specialized programs used to send spam, will take an email list and use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) feature to send to all the addresses on the list, without any of the recipients seeing the addresses, including their own. It’s important to remember that the To:, From:, and other fields of the email that are usually visible when you read a message DO NOT contain the addressing information that is used to deliver email to your mailbox. The address information is contained in the Envelope of the email that is discarded when it arrives at the mail server which then places the message in your mailbox. If it was in your mailbox, it was addressed to you. Seanet does not place unsolicited email in any mailbox for any fee, nor do we condone the abuse of our customers in any way relating to spam.

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Where did the spammer get my email address?

Spammers harvest email addresses in a number of ways:

  • They run programs that collect email addresses out of Usenet posting headers.
  • They cull them from subscriber lists (such as AOL’s Member Profile list).
  • They use web-crawling programs that look for email addresses on web pages.
  • They take them out of online directories.
  • They buy databases of addresses.
  • They take them from you without your knowledge when you visit a web site.
  • They collect member names from online “chat” rooms

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What do I do when I receive spam?

You have a few options when you receive a spam mail. Most people who don’t receive very much spam just delete it. If you receive spam on a regular basis, you may want set stronger spam filters to block them. If you continue to get spam and want to report a message as spam log into webmail and check the messages you wish to report and click the “Spam” button. If you have already downloaded and removed the messages from the server you will not be able to report messages. We are working to create a new email gateway for Spam reporting, but this has not been completed yet. If you have a question or comment that requires a response regarding spam filtering email spamfilter@seanet.com.

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How do I keep my email address away from spammers?

The best way to reduce your chance of being spammed is to keep your email address private. If you trust your address only to close friends and family, you’re less likely to be added to spammer’s lists. Don’t put your email address in “Address Areas&rduo; of Internet programs, online submission forms, or anywhere in a public forum such as newsgroups. Even disguised or “munged” addresses (for example Abuse at Seanet dot Com) that appear to be immune from automated address collecting software are added to lists manually by spammers.

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What should I do if I need to give an email address, but want to keep my Seanet email address private?

Setting up a public address from one of the free email services such as, Gmail is often your best option. In this way you can post an email address when you need to do so without revealing your Seanet email address.

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Does Seanet sell my email address?

In order to ensure your privacy, Seanet does not in any way publicize your email address or any other subscriber information — all such data is kept strictly confidential. This policy is a requirement of federal law.

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Why am I getting spam even though I don’t advertise my email address?

There is a variety of software that allows a bulk emailer to send messages to a large number of recipients at a particular Internet service provider (such as Seanet) whether or not they know their specific addresses. This software attempts to send a message to every address at that domain (often using common usernames), not caring about the number of undeliverable (or bounced) messages that will be generated from incorrect addresses. It is believed that some spammers may then trace which addresses came back as undeliverable and remove those addresses from their lists. These mailing lists are then sold to other spammers. This may explain why sometimes you see spam which appears to be targeted at an alphabetical list of customers or why you receive spam at an address you may not have publicized.

Seanet does have systems in place to catch a great deal of these attempts as they arrive, before the messages reach valid addresses, however, no system such as this is 100% effective and we are constantly working on improving these methods.

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Is there a security problem with your mail server?

No. The security problem extends, unfortunately, to the email protocol itself. Mail administrators are required to return as undeliverable any messages addressed to an invalid address on their network. This opens up the possibility for abuse by spammers running software that attempts to send email to as many different addresses as possible.

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Do cookies have something to do with this?

Cookies are short pieces of text, stored on your computer, which are placed there by web sites that you have visited so that those web sites can remember who you are (or preferences you may have selected) the next time you visit. Although this is convenient if you make frequent trips to the same site, there are also well-known concerns regarding their use.

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Why can’t you filter this stuff?

Seanet does filter for spam and viruses when being sent to @seanet.com, @premier1.net, @ncia.com and @hurricane.net. It can also be configured to filter for spam and viruses for personal domains for a low monthly fee. For more information on what kind of filtering Seanet provides please see our Spam Filter page.

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Are there ways that I can filter this stuff from my mailbox myself?

Yes. Please review the setup guide for your email and spam settings here. Depending on the email program you’re using, you may also be able to control which messages are visible in your Inbox through the use of “filters” and the email client’s own spam settings.

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Can you block all email messages not addressed to me?

Seanet could prevent any email without a legitimate To: header from reaching our customers at all. However, the downside of this plan is the potential for much legitimate email to be lost (for instance, mailing list messages addressed to “mailing list recipients” rather than a specific Seanet address). Furthermore, programming our mail servers to scan through every incoming email message and verify that its “To” header matches that of its intended recipient would significantly degrade the overall performance of those servers. Our top priority is that none of our customers’ lose legitimate email simply because an automated process considered it to be spam. Unfortunately, this also means that illegitimate email will reach our customers.

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I got spam that says it “complies with federal requirements.” Is spamming illegal?

At this time there is no federal legislation either supporting or prohibiting the sending of unsolicited email messages. However, you may have noticed that some spam includes the following language (or something similar):

This message complies with the proposed United States Federal requirements for commercial email. For additional information see http://www.senate.gov/~murkowski/commercialemail/EMailAmendText.html


Current information on the status, text, and summary of Title 3 of S. 1618 and H.R. 3888, its companion bill, can be found by using Thomas, the legislative information system run by the Library of Congress.

Although this all sounds rather intimidating, it is also misleading since it implies that the spammer has acted within federal law in sending you their message. The bill to which these spammers refer (commonly called the “Murkowski bill”) would have legalized the sending of unsolicited commercial email provided certain requirements were met. However, although this bill passed the Senate, it died in conference committee and never passed the House. Therefore, it never became law.

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Isn’t it illegal to send spam to Washington State residents?

A Washington law passed in 1998 and upheld by the state Supreme Court in 2001 makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial email that has been addressed in a false or misleading way. This type of spam is especially troubling because it can cheat consumers out of their money, undermine consumer confidence in online commerce and harm legitimate Internet marketers. One example of illegal spam purports to come from reputable business firms and is intended to harass those firms or to elicit personal information from recipients.

In 2003, the federal government also passed an anti-spam law, called the CAN Spam Act. Among other regulations, the CAN Spam Act requires that unsolicited commercial email be clearly identified as such and that consumers be able to opt-out of receiving more emails. The Federal Trade Commission is also charged with investigating the viability of a do-not-spam registry, similar to the do-not-call registry already in place.

In order to take advantage of the law, you must register your email address as a Washington State address at the WAISP Registry Page .

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I’ve been spammed, now what?

You have a few different options:

  • Delete the spam and not give any more thought to it.
  • Create email filters in your email client to remove the spam.
  • Find the originating network of the spam and send a complaint to the administrators of that network. If you choose to do this, be sure that the complaint is sent to the proper address.

One thing you should never do is respond to spam, either by replying to the email, sending email to the “Remove” email address since doing so verifies to spammers that your email address is a valid one. You should also refrain from retaliating against such email by flaming, mail-bombing, or using other equally abusive tactics to get back at the spammer. Not only will you leave yourself open for retribution from the spammer (in some cases this means legal action), but you will also be in violation of Seanet’s Acceptable Use Policy which could result in your account being disabled or terminated.

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I’ve followed all of your suggestions, but I keep getting spam every day. What can you do to help?

If nothing seems to help, Seanet can change your username. This will change your email address and web site address (if you have one). This is a last resort since it means changing settings on your computer and informing everyone who emails you of the change in your address and, unfortunately, is no guarantee that you’ll never receive spam again. For more information on changing your username, contact Seanet customer service.

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