I am in the blogging mood today. Mainly, because I had the day off to reflect on a lot. Nothing really important. Mainly, just how I am going to clean the garage before my adoption case worker gets here to inspect our house. Needless to say, the garage is clean, and the house inspection passed.
During my cleaning escapade, I was thinking about security. Really, I was just listening to the radio, but I was thinking security too. See, a couple weeks ago, I had to opportunity to give a informative speech about email security to a fairly small audience. I talked mainly about encryption and digital signatures. It went well. Now, I get another opportunity to give a persuasive speech in a few more weeks to the same audience, and I have just been thinking that I think I will continue the email security topic. However, my goal will be to not only inform, but persuade people to start thinking about email security. But first, I need to thank my manager at work for pointing this nifty service out.
It’s time to fight back against email spam. It has been long overdue. So far, our tools have included defensive tactics. Antivirus, spyware, filters and more. These software programs may or may not be installed on your machine. But rarely, if ever, have we as a collective whole, taken an aggressive stance against email spam. At this point, may I introduce Blue Security.
First, Blue Security offers a wide array of tools beyond just email security. I won’t be discussing those. Rather, I want to talk about Blue Frog. Blue Frog is a program that you install on your computer in any possible combination of three different ways. You can install it as an extension in Firefox and Thunderbird, or as a stand alone program on your computer. What the program does is extraordinary.
First, a Do Not Intrude Registry (DNIR) has been created. Members sign up their email inboxes to this DNIR. Then, when spam is received, the message is relayed back to the spammer to quit sending the spam. Now, one person alone most likely won’t have an effect, but a community can have extraordinary effects. See, if one person sends a message to the originating spam server to knock it off, the spammers most likely won’t comply, but will probably send more. However, when you have hundreds, thousands, even millions of people sending these messages, most of which happen at the same time, an attack is created which could most likely cripple the spam server, similar to a Denial Of Service (DoS) attack. Either the spammers begin to comply with the message, or their servers, as well as their ISP, get constantly bombarded with requests to stop sending the spam, thus increasing their bandwidth and hardware costs. The ball is back in their court.
The best thing? It is completely ethical and 100% legal. By law in the United States, spammers must include an option in the spam message to “unsubscribe” to the message/mailing list. If the unsubscription fails or does not appear in the message, legal action can occur. However, one person versus an ISP and the spamming they employ/protect could be costly and ineffective. Instead, a whole community complains, forcing the ISP and the spammer to reduce it’s volume. As you can see, there is strength in numbers.
So how about the software? How does it work? Well, as mentioned, there are three options, all of which can be employed. First, the Firefox extension. When installed, and yes, it works on Windows and Linux, whenever you visit your web-based email inbox, the program automatically launches, giving you the option to flag your entire spam folder, if you have one. The messages flagged are sent to Blue Security and analyzed. After being analyzed, a message is sent to the ISP and the spammer to quit sending the messages. When you are at any other site, the program disappears allowing you to surf without you even realizing that the extension is even installed. For Thunderbird, you can report the messages as they appear in the inbox. When reporting, a default template message is created, allowing you to customize the message before sending it off. The offending messages are added as attachments, then sent to Blue Security.
As far as the program for your OS is concerned, it keeps your stats and settings on board, so you never have to visit your account on the Blue Security site. This is nice as I can see how many messages I have sent, and what my ranking is compared to other Blue Frog DNIR community users. And, of course, the program is available on both major OS platforms- Windows and Linux.
So, how has it been personally for me, after using it for a week? Actually, I am beginning the see the results, even if they are faint so far. Normally, I receive anywhere from 80-100 spam messages a day in my Gmail inbox. After using Blue Frog, it has decreased to 75-90. Small percentage thus far, but I believe after a few months, I don’t think spam will be a big issue anymore. And because I have installed all three options, it isn’t an inconvenience for me to report the messages.
Yup. I think I found my topic for the persuasive speech I need to give.