September 1, 2000 6:52 AM   Subscribe

spoofmail A dangerous but hugely amusing pasttime. You could start world war three with this
posted by scum (8 comments total)
I've always preferred the traditional spoof mail (from the creator of the Pork Martini).
posted by plinth at 7:20 AM on September 1, 2000

A couple years ago I found an email program that would do this. I'd sent fake emails to my friends who weren't too computer savvy. It can be fun, i decided to send an email to myself and found that it didn't cover up your ip address, so it would have been easily traceable. This one's probably traceable too.

You probably couldn't start ww III, but it could get kind of nasty with some of those new wired cars. Send someone an email and tell them their wife died or something. People are distracted now with cellphones, at least they know who they're talking to.
posted by dave at 12:25 PM on September 1, 2000

The very nature of SMTP means that the source of e-mail is easily found, even if you change the "From" line. (It's trivial, and the From line actually means almost nothing -- or anything you want it to.)

There are plenty of anonymous relay services out there. But they're dying in the face of simpler alternatives such as random_name@hotmail.com, which covers most people's need for privacy just fine. And there are systems like newspaper "forward to friend" systems that can be abused if you want.

posted by dhartung at 3:27 PM on September 1, 2000

This is completly off-topic, but here goes, anyhow...

I've been trying to figure out how the newspapers do that whole "forward to friend" bit. Anyone know how?
posted by Aaaugh! at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2000

Sure; they have control over the command line arguments to sendmail; you can do damn near anything you want like that.

Most *receiving sendmails* log such things, these days, so you can't *hide* anything... but the functionality is still there.
posted by baylink at 8:56 PM on September 1, 2000

I'm very disappointed.

Brother Jo' didn't post the *replies*.
posted by baylink at 8:59 PM on September 1, 2000

Auugh: it works like this. The only part of the mail transaction that has any meaning at all is the "Received from" line, which records the SMTP transaction between computers.

If you have the IP address of a mail server, you can even do mail manually.

Telnet to port 25 (reserved for smtp) on that IP address. Type HELO or better EHLO (extended HELO) to greet the server.

On a fresh line, type MAIL FROM: and press enter. You should get an OK.

On a fresh line, type RCPT TO: and press enter. Most systems should only allow valid e-mail addresses. You should get an OK.

On a fresh line, type DATA and press enter.

Now you can start typing the message headers, which can pretty much be anything you like. There are some standard headers that various mail systems recognize, sort by, and so forth, but there's no restriction on novel headers. So:

Subject: me to your will
Organization: is the devil's work
X-Header-I-Just-Made-Up: for the hell of it.

When you've typed enough headers, type a blank line, then start typing the text of your message.

When done, press enter, type a "." period on a line by itself, and enter again. The system should respond with an OK. Then check your mail, and look at the headers. It's like magic!

You will notice that there is a Received: line that includes your IP address and a hostname if tied to one. This is the only "real" part of the headers, i.e. generated entirely by the transaction, as opposed to everything else, which is pretty much you telling the mail server what you want.
posted by dhartung at 9:48 PM on September 1, 2000

Dangit, MeFi stripped some of my brackets. These are the commands:

telnet port 25 at smtp.yourhost.com
MAIL FROM: anyname@anyhost.com
RCPT TO: yourvalidemail@thismailserver.com
typey typey

That's all.
posted by dhartung at 9:50 PM on September 1, 2000

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