Spam Cop Instructions / Description
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Spam Cop will parse the headers of unwanted email and (if all goes well) phrase a complaint to the sysadmin responsible for the spammer's internet access. This complaint will be addressed "from" you. You will have a chance to review and edit the complaint before it's sent. You are free to leave your email address blank, however, you will not see the reply from the administrator if you do this - sometimes a confirmation that the spammer has been deleted..

Of course, I will not use your address for any kind of marketing, although I do keep it in a log. If Spam Cop can't find the responsible party or has trouble decoding your email headers, the data will be recorded and I will figure out what the problem is. Many of Spam Cop's features were added in this way including the parsing of non-standard header formats (Netscape, AOL) as well as many small tuning changes.


Spam Cop is a unique solution to the problem of spam (unsolicted email). Most systems concentrate on filtering a user's email, rejecting email that meets certain parameters. Spam Cop takes a different, active approach. Spam Cop parses your undesireable email and sends a complaint to the network administrator who gave the spammer access to the internet in the first place.

Network administrators are usually not aware that a spammer is abusing their network, nor should they be expected to. However most administrators are interested to learn of abuse and they will often take action against the people responsible. This is usually no more severe punishment than yanking the user's account.

Unfortunately, it is usually too difficult to figure out who was responsible for any one email, particularly with the advanced techniques that savy spammers use. However, the key to this puzzle is the combination of the IP address of the sender and the time and date at which the mail was sent. These two pieces of information can lead an administrator back to the user who actually sent the mail. Both pieces of information are in your email header.

Spam Cop uses a combination of Unix utilities (dig, nslookup, finger) to cross-check all the information in an email header and find the email address of the administrator on the network where the email originated, then formulates a polite request for discipline including all the information the admin needs to track down the user responsible.

For more technical details and spam-fighting techniques, check out Elsop's Anti-Spam Page or The Anti-Spam Campaign page. And don't forget to visit the official hormel spam page