Friday, January 21, 2011

No One Unsubscribes From Boehner!

I wrote last week about the spam we’d been receiving from John Boehner, the new speaker of the House of Representatives. I designate these unsolicited emails as “spam” because the “unsubscribe” option they contained was nothing of the sort — it led to a form designed to act as a catchment for live email addresses, which is a common feature of a spam operation. Rather than take the “unsubscribe” bait, I blocked all emails from the given address at

I also predicted that Mr. Boehner, like any other spammer, would probably circumvent my block by emailing us from a different address. And now he has done exactly that: today’s spam (“Chairman Paul Ryan to Deliver Republican Address to the Nation on January 25 — Speech to immediately follow President Obama’s State of the Union”) from the Speaker of the House came from a different address,

Needless to say, the “unsubscribe” option led to the same sneaky form (, which looks like this:

Unsubscribe Boehner

Go ahead fill out the form, I dare you — give them your name and email address. That will serve to verify you as a conservative “warm body”, and you’ll be spammed to death by dozens of Republican party organs and affiliated groups for years to come. I guarantee it.

Interestingly enough, this email came through our spam filter with a fairly high spam score — not high enough to force it into quarantine, but much higher than the scores typically assigned to personal emails or messages from lists we actually subscribe to. The high rating was primarily due to this item:

Listed in DCC (

So the official email address for the Speaker of the House is listed in one of the major spam databases. Nice going, Mr. Boehner! An impressive accomplishment, just three weeks into your new job.

I can’t tell you how much this intensifies my loathing for the Republican Party. One expects this sort of low-life scummy behavior from the Democrats, but the Republicans would like us to believe they provide a civilized alternative.

A plague on both your houses!


doxRaven said...

What evidence have you got that this spam is from John Boehner or even the Republican party.

The reason is ask is because of this: email-spoofing. I quote from wiki

E-mail spoofing is e-mail activity in which the sender address and other parts of the e-mail header are altered to appear as though the e-mail originated from a different source. Because core SMTP doesn't provide any authentication, it is easy to impersonate and forge emails. It is usually fraudulent but can be legitimate. It is commonly used in spam and phishing e-mails to hide the origin of the e-mail message. By changing certain properties of the e-mail, such as the From, Return-Path and Reply-To fields (which can be found in the message header), ill-intentioned users can make the e-mail appear to be from someone other than the actual sender. The result is that, although the e-mail appears to come from the address indicated in the From field (found in the e-mail headers), it actually comes from another source.

The emphasis is mine.

In other words, someone could use GoV's email for spoofing as well.

Baron Bodissey said...

doxRaven --

You can figure out the chain of transmission by tracking the relays listed in the header of the email. The headers on these Boehner emails lead back through a series of servers to several at the domain. If I recall correctly, one of them was designated as an "ad" server.

This looks like a standard commercial mass mail operation, slightly sleazy, but not at the bottom-tier level of, say, Russian spam.

doxRaven said...

hmmm, I hope someone from that office responsible for those servers is scrambling right now to see if their mail servers have been compromised.

If this is indeed an approved 'phishing' campaign then it is extremely poor form to say the least (no pun intendet).

Call Me Mom said...

That one hasn't gotten to me yet.
I have to agree that both parties are riddled with sleaze and corruption. It is in the very nature of party politics to create corruption. George Washington nailed it in his farewell address regarding the "team spirit" they create, and the detrimental affect of such a spirit.

blogagog said...

If you close that little window, the unsubscribe window that's behind it shows up, allowing you to unsubscribe from his emails.

Poorly designed unsubscribe page.