Lookout Mentions

Its always fun, although perhaps somewhat narcisistic, to see who is writing about Lookout :-)

Today I ran into a nice mini review of Lookout and other tools. Lookout wins!

And here is another from a guy that uses Lookout + Newsgator.

Another satisfied user says that Lookout “doesn’t suck”, is fast and worth the price.

Scott Waterman wrote this great entry comparing Lookout to Gmail. Nice to be considered among the big boys!

And I guess Scott’s article prompted this nice review too.

Another guy says that “Lookout is [his] best friend”

Here’s one about a guy taking a stroll down memory lane due to all the stuff he can now drudge up via Lookout.

Here is another fan that says he “heartily recommends” Lookout.

And here is one more nice writeup which was just posted today!

And amazingly, all of those are just in June!

Why do I search for all these entries? Well, its partly because its fun to read nice comments about your work. But its also because I’m deadly paranoid that someone out there ran into some wierd problem that I haven’t otherwise heard of yet – and I’m searching for it. But, so far, while I’ve found all these nice, warm-fuzzy reviews, I haven’t seen anyone saying anything bad. Phew!

And I really like this last one, because Lookout was the impetus for his very first blog entry! How flattering!

How much spy mail do you get? Who from?

I’ve been running my no-spy-mail utility for a little over a week now. Its definitely been an interesting experience.

First, a little about my email. My test mailbox is mostly spam – probably 98% spam. Its unfiltered in any way. Since running nospymail, I’ve trapped 313 spymail emails! Holy cow!

Whats going on is that its trapping all the spammer sites that use http images to track their advertising campaigns. Probably the reason I get so much spam is the very fact I haven’t been running nospymail or antispam products. Most of the mail I don’t open, of course. But, each time I accidentally do, or leave the cursor in the wrong spot to open a message, BOOM – the spammer gets a nice little note saying that mike @ belshe.com received and read advertising campaign #38273. His IP address is W.X.Y.Z, he read the email from somewhere in Santa Clara county, and his browser is Internet Explorer 6.0. Thats more info than I care to give those guys. I’m glad its working.

The spammer sites are also just flooding out email. There is one site, sending me mortgage stuff, which sends me about 5-6 spymail messages PER HOUR. Their site is images.dabsaahm.biz. Just a spam company.

Anyway, mildly interesting. I’ve passed NoSpyMail to a couple of friends now. At first they were like, “yeah yeah, spy mail. spy ware. viruses. spam… yuk.” But, once you get your first notification that someone is spying on you, you get *really* curious.

NoSpyMail

My previous posting got me curious enough that I decided to write a program to detect SpyMail in my own email. Not surprisingly, I get a lot. Most of it comes from spammers. But, I have seen a few from msgtag and didtheyreadit, too. Those two have been used in sending email to customer support for some other products I work on, presumably to figure out if customer support actually reads the email. (Which we do, of course!)

So, if you want to try it out – I put it up for free download. It works within Outlook, and requires .NET. It installs as a passive watcher of your email. If it sees SpyMail, it lets you know about it, keeps a hsitory of the spymail, and neutralizes the spy-threat.

Of course, it probably can’t detect everything, but I’ve already found over 20 spymails that were in my mailbox…. Frightening.

Here is where you can get NoSpyMail

Ick. Spymail.

Dan Gilmore wrote last month about a troubling issue where seemlingly legitimate companies are now participating in making more SpyMail. SpyMail isn’t new. Its been used by spammers for a long while. But now some otherwise seemlingly legitimate companies are trying to make businesses out of it….

What is SpyMail? SpyMail is the attempt by hackers, spammers, or unscrupulous people to learn more about your mail reading habits. Some companies claim that there is a legitimate use – so that the sender can know if you read the email or not. But, if its legitimate, why is it covert? Why not use the Read-Receipts feature that the receiver can see explicitly. There is no doubt in my mind that these products are clearly out to do harm. When something is veiled in secrecy, its almost always for illegitimate purposes.

What kinds of information can people collect using SpyMail? Quite a lot, actually. Turns out you can easily get:
– Knowledge of if the recipient read the email or not
– When the recipient read the email
– If the recipient forwarded the email to someone else and to whom
– The operating system of the recipient
– Version information about the recipient’s computer
– The IP address of the recipient
– The location of the recipient (tracked loosely by IP location finding)
– More.

Wow. Thats pretty dangerous. Since I write plugins for Outlook, I just may write a plugin to kill these SpyMail guys.

Outlook 2003 already has a feature to protect you from SpyMail. By default, it doesn’t load HTML images for this very purpose. You have to manually download the images you want. Its a little cumbersome, but at least it works.

Oh yeah – who are the spymailers? Here are the villains that offer these services in the name of “features”. The fact that they would dare build this indicates that they are unscrupulous, greedy, ignorant and shameless. Get the idea?
http://www.didtheyreadit.com/
http://www.msgtag.com/ (a little better because the recipient can see that the message is tagged, but the recipient still doesn’t get a chance to block it before its too late)
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