Spam, Viruses, and other E-mail problems

First and foremost, please note that has never sent any mass e-mail of any kind. Any spam you receive that appears to be from LincMad is either a virus or a “joe job” (when a spammer forges someone else’s name on a spam run to smear the other person or company). A quick inspection of the e-mail headers will show that the message did not come from here. Please direct your complaint to the domain where the message actually originated. In particular, recent e-mails touting online prescriptions were not sent by nor with the consent of

Information about Spam, Viruses, and Virus Hoaxes

What should you do about spam? The first thing is, most anti-spam experts agree that you should not use the “unsubscribe” link in a spam e-mail. Doing so only confirms to the spammer that they have hit a “live” address where the recipient opened the message and read all the way to the bottom. That moves you much higher up the priority list for more spam. You can use some of the resources below to learn more about the process of identifying the spammer and sending a complaint to someone who might actually take action against the spammer. Few things are more satisfying than going to the spammer’s web site and finding the message “site not found”!

What should you do about viruses and virus warnings? The first thing is, you should never allow any computer to connect to the Internet without antivirus software (with current virus definitions), not even for a moment. There are several vendors offering such software, with various bells and whistles. LincMad does not recommend a specific vendor; use whichever package you like best, but make sure you keep up to date with those virus definitions. You should also check the settings on your e-mail software to make sure that it is not leaving you wide open to any viruses that slip by the antivirus program. In particular, you should disable any feature to auto-load scripts in e-mail. That feature is of very little use for any purpose other than spreading viruses. There is no way to list the particulars for every e-mail program, but look through the Settings or Preferences and turn off anything you don’t see a need for. You can also search on the web to see if someone has posted recommended settings for your e-mail software.

Of course, software protection is still no substitute for caution and common sense. If you see an e-mail from someone you’ve never heard of before, with an attached file, you’re taking a foolish risk if you even open the message. Even if the message appears to be from someone you know, it could still have a virus, even if that person’s machine is not infected. For instance, Anna’s computer might have a virus, causing it to send a message to Brad from Carol. Carol’s machine isn’t infected; her name just happens to be in Anna’s address book, along with Brad’s. You should be especially suspicious if you see a sender whose name you recognize, but with an unfamiliar address. For example, your friend John Doe might be, but you get a message from “John Doe <>”

So what about those e-mail virus warnings you get from time to time from well-meaning friends and relatives? The vast majority of them are hoaxes, and do almost as much damage as a real virus. It’s a simple case of “the boy who cried wolf”: all the bogus warnings distract people from the real threats. The first thing you should do when you receive a virus warning — DO NOT just forward it on anyway, “just in case” — is follow the link in the warning message to a name-brand antivirus web site (Symantec’s Norton Antivirus, McAfee, etc.). Follow the link and make sure it is a real virus and that the description in the message you got, matches the virus described on the web page. If the warning doesn’t have a link to a name-brand site, it’s 99.999% sure to be a hoax. If you still want to check it out, go to the web site for your antivirus software and use the “search” function. Other tips that the warning is a hoax include urging you to pass it along to everyone you know, claiming that IBM and Microsoft have issued a warning about a virus that Norton and McAfee can’t detect, and claiming that CNN says this is the greatest threat to humanity since the first caveman sharpened a stick to scrawl a mortgage refinancing offer on his neighbor’s cave.
Update: newer spam and malware threats

As of this writing (2019), there are several new threats that weren’t prevalent in 2003 when this page was created. Every day, I see many, sometimes thousands, of attempts to log in to my server — often with usernames that don’t even exist! — for the purpose of sending outbound spam that appears legitimate. There are also techniques such as “spearfishing” in which an e-mail attempts to trick you into using their link to log in to your e-mail or other account, giving the bad guys a copy of your password in the process. If your web browser tells you that a website is suspicious or cannot be verified, take that warning seriously. If you open a malicious web page in your browser, it may try to install a virus or other malware the moment you load the page. Sure, your antivirus software may block the attempt, but why take the chance? Also, be sure your e-mail software is set up not to automatically load images in e-mail messages. That extra step of clicking “load images” (only on messages you are sure are legit) will save you a lot of grief. The image in the e-mail message may be encoded in such a way that when your computer or phone requests the image from a remote server, the spammer knows that you opened their e-mail.

What To Do If Your E-mail To Bounces

The dramatic upsurge of ordinary spam, and especially e-mail viruses, in 2003 has prompted to implement much more aggressive anti-spam filtering. As a result, some legitimate e-mail will inevitably be rejected by the filters.

If you get a bounce message that says “Please use your ISP’s e-mail server,” that means that you appear to be sending directly from a home computer to my e-mail server. You should configure your e-mail software to use your ISP’s main e-mail server, rather than connecting directly from your computer. This is especially true if you are connected by a dynamic IP address, which is true of almost all dial-up connections and many cable/DSL connections. Requests to “whitelist” your server cannot be honored if you have a dynamic IP address. However, if you are using a connection with a static IP address that has valid forward and reverse DNS, or if you are in fact connecting through your ISP’s regular e-mail server, you should contact LincMad at the address shown below. A dynamic IP address may change from time to time; a static IP address is always the same. If you don’t know if your IP address is static or dynamic, ask your ISP.

Requests for “whitelisting” and other concerns about the LincMad filters may be addressed to the “contact” address. Please include the full text of the bounce message, especially if it contains a four-letter code such as ZXCV or Y-ZXCV-J3K.

If you get a bounce message that says “cannot find your hostname,” it means that your e-mail server (or your ISP’s e-mail server) does not have valid forward and reverse DNS. Refer the matter to the hostmaster of your domain. I cannot and will not accept mail from hosts that do not have valid DNS. If your host doesn’t have valid DNS, it makes you look like a spammer, so you (or your ISP) need to fix the problem. Requests to whitelist “cannot find your hostname” hosts will be ignored. If you don’t know what “valid forward and reverse DNS” means, please ask your technical contact.

If you get a bounce message that says “Rejected as spam,” it means that either you or your ISP are on my blacklist for sending spam, for issuing threats against anti-spam sites, or for other misbehavior. You can try sending me a polite e-mail to the address above, but be aware that I will not remove a spammer from the blacklist unless I decide, in my sole judgment, that removal is warranted. If you are sending from an ISP that hosts a large number of spammers and takes what I consider to be inadequate action against them (for example,, then you are entirely out of luck. I will not whitelist you. You can either change ISPs or use a “smart host” to relay your outbound mail. If this seems unfair, ask yourself why I should go out of my way to find your one legitimate message amidst the torrent of spam originating from your ISP.

If you get a bounce message that says “user unknown” or “recipient address rejected,” it means that you have sent e-mail to an address that does not exist, or that has been closed due to incoming spam. You need to find the correct e-mail address and send it there. If you were sending to “webmaster,” the correct address is “contact”; however, do not send any unsolicited commercial e-mail to that or any other address, including without limitation offers to provide hosting, website design, or traffic increases for this website.

Legal Stuff

This server is my private domain. Unless you have a signed written contract with me that says otherwise, I have no obligation whatsoever to accept e-mail from you. Period. The bottom line is, “My server, My rules.”

You may be angry that is blocking your e-mail, especially if it is blocked with a notation such as “Rejected as spam.” However, that does not give you any right to sue me, even if you are not sending any spam. Remember, unless you have a signed written contract with me that says I have an obligation to accept your e-mail, I can reject it for any reason I please, no matter how capricious or wrong-headed that reason might be. Everyone who receives e-mail at any address has explicitly agreed that the administrator may block any e-mail traffic at whim. Since does not publicly distribute its blacklist, you have no claim for libel.

Anyone who sends threats to sue me based on my exercise of my absolute arbitrary discretion in choosing to accept or reject e-mail traffic will not only be permanently blacklisted, you will also have your threats publicly posted on the Internet, where I promise you that thousands of other sites will decide to block you based solely on your empty threats. If you do not consent to have your threats publicly posted, do not send them to me. Sending me a threat to sue constitutes your affirmative consent to the public posting of that threat, irrespective of any conflicting disclaimer contained in the body of your message, without limitation. Again, I have no obligation to keep your communication confidential unless I have explicitly agreed to such a restriction. You have been warned.

Spam Resources

Antivirus Resources