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The Carmine Email Spam

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Last night (Monday) an event occured that was beyond the belief of AVSIM staff. User "Carmine" decided that he would go through our forums and pick out email address from messages posted here, and then email those users with an invite to visit his website. AVSIM has received dozens of letters directed at us in response, and many of those senders thought that either we had generated the email and/or that Carmine had somehow breached our security and had gotten his hands on our forum member's email addresses. To set the record straight:[ul][li]Carmine manually harvested each address directly from forum messages[li] Though Carmine invokes the name of AVSIM in a couple of places, AVSIM was not aware of this email coming, nor was it done with our approval.[li] Carmine claims that this was not an attempt to spam. My response? BS. Classic spam.[li] Carmine has subsequently been banned.[/ul]Carmine, in a single stroke, called into question our reputation with our readers, inconvenienced dozens, if not hundreds of our readers, used one of the slimiest approaches I could ever imagine to get folks to come to his site, and basically destroyed whatever goodwill he might of had with potential visitors to the site that he was attempting to entice you to.The only way we can prevent this type of thing from happening in the future is to put forth very stringent rules that will be enforced immediately; that is, a user here who does that will be immediately banned forever. The only other thing you can do, is to NOT place your email anywhere in the body of your messages and turn off the email option in your user account settings.One dummy can ruin it all, and we have had our share of those in the last couple of days. I hope everyone understands our position on this and that AVSIM was just as much an innocent victim as all the recipients.EDIT: Please remember - you should only receive an email via the forum system from AVSIM Staff, and we do that very rarely. If you do not wish to receive bulk mailings from AVSIM, you can turn that off in your user settings.

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Thanks Tom.Its not your fault, as you rightly said it is a bit of a slimey approach... thanks for the explanation. I just picked up the mail and hoped it would be mentioned.some people huh!:-)Pete

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As Tom pointed out, Carmine didn't hack into AVSIM to get email addresses. If you received his spam via email, your preferences are set to allow people to email you directly. To turn that feature off and limit direct communications to private forum messages only, do the following:1. On the main forum page, click the User Menu link in the toolbar below the current time and date2. Click Edit your preference3. For the option Allow other registered users to send you emails?, select "No".4. For the option Use private messaging system?, select "Yes" to be able to receive private messages via your AVSIM inbox (not your personal email inbox); or select "No" to prevent any AVSIM user from contacting you directly. 5. Click the Update button.

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Tom,Thanks for the quick action. I know you folks were not involved in any way. Since I am an FDC Team Member, and have agreed to assist Dave March on the FDC forum by answering user questions, I plan to leave my home e-mail available to legitimate posters. Those who have questions that I can assist with, but who wish to contact me direct for extended discussion following their first post, are welcome to e-mail me. Although I might get more spam in the future, from someone using "Carmine's" methods, it is a risk I will take, since I feel the good outweighs the bad in this case. Besides, letting "one dummy" ruin it for everyone gives the "dummies" a victory of sorts, and no way is this grouchy old man going to concede that to them. :-)Regards,Paul

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My outlook has a simple big X button on the top, and I just delete them. Spam is something we have to live with.And it will happen again..Johan[A HREF=http://www.phoenix-simulation.co.uk]Phoenix Simulation Software[/A]Unofficial PSS website:www.people.zeelandnet.nl/johd

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BRAVO to you and AVSIM for supporting and actively enforcing a stringent anti-spam policy. If so many others would follow your practices, spam would NOT have the grip on us that it does today. Only with proactive policies such as yours can spam finally be dealt with (and new long overdue laws of course). Spam CAN be crushed, it just takes the will (and enough frustrated and active voices) to do so.Again, BRAVO AVSIM. http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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Tom,I thought the latest version of DC Forums 6.23 had a special Email Utility that wouldn't display the address, but uses a similar page as the message post. Users can also use the Private message function as well.We are using the DCForum 6.23 at PFG.Thanks for all your hard work.Brent

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Yup, you are right Brent. What Carmine did was to go through and invoke that function and use copy and paste to send email to everyone. He did not literally "harvest" the email addresses as far as we can tell. Although in the throws of the battle last night, we were not quite sure what he did (or at least I wasn't, but Scott seemed to be on top of things), but we did know that he had not gotten to the core email list database.

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The reason I was asking is that now you can click on the email button and Outlook Express pops up with the email address. When the new forum went into effect, it had a more secure email system that I mentioned above.Under the old forum, there was a REMOVE THIS in the address.Brent

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Hi Tom,Just wanted to join the ranks in reassuring you that I never gave a thought to Avsim or any of its staff being involved in Carmine's fiasco. These things happen from time to time, and we just have to watch each others backs (just as you did last night).Thanks for handling the matter so quickly,

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Just wanted to show you how it all transpired at my end: (Read from the bottom message up, I removed the original message he/she sent)Carmine:UCE laws apply to the country that the recipient resides in. In my case, Bill C-6 is the one most applicable. I shall quote from the Privacy Commisioner of Canada legislation summary:Businesses must obtain the individual

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Of course, as I mull over my post, I have to mention that I usually have no intention of calling a lawyer or whatnot, I usually just say that because a lot of times only legal action is what scares these guys!

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I was sure it did that as well since I used it previously, so I was wondering how he managed to harvest the addresses. Quite surprised to find that it came up with Outlook when I tested it !!Glad to find that the secure system was not just in my mind !!!

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G'day from Tasmania Australia, well I to got one of those emails from Carmine and at first I did think it was a joint effort between AVSIM and Carmines new Web Site !!Having been involved with flightsimming for so many years now I thought, well a bit of competion never hurts, but I also believe in what's called "ETHICS" and "plan good manners" and in my mind, Carmine failed to use either of these !!!!Tom and everyone else here at AVSIM. keep up the great work, you have done more for "Flightsimming" than most will ever do !!!CheersIan (Thatch)

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