What is NoSpyMail?
About the only thing I hate more than spam in my mailbox is SpyMail in my mailbox. NoSpyMail is a program to combat SpyMail. I created SpyMail when I got frustrated recently after discovering that some companies are posing as legitimate companies - but in fact their only product is to assist with the use of SpyMail!

Hence, NoSpyMail was born. It is a utility which discovers SpyMail in your mailbox and alerts you to it, and neutralizes it. NoSpyMail operates as a plugin for Outlook 2000, Outloook XP, or Outlook 2003.

OK, so what is a Spy Mail?
"SpyMail" refers to any email message sent to you which attempts to collect information about you, your computer, or your email habits without your permission. SpyMail is not a new concept. It has been used by spammers for years to try to better target their Marketing campaigns.

Information which can be collected from SpyMail includes:

  • The date/time when you read a message
  • Notification that you received the message
  • The identity of anyone you forward the message to
  • Your computer operating system and version
  • Your browser type and browser version
  • Your IP address and location information
Hackers use this information to find out more about your computer and your email/web habits. Armed with the above information, the hacker can now attempt to comprimise your system and get more valuable information.

Spammers use this information to find out if you received their spam. Once they know you read their spam, they know that your email address is valid and current. Further, they use this information to send you more spam.

Other unscrupulous people use this information to confirm that you are where you say you are, or that you read the message yesterday, but didn't reply, etc.

In short, SpyMail is something you want to avoid.

What can I do about it?
Well, the good news is that many solutions exist. Here are some ideas.
  • Don't display images by default in your email client. Many email clients have an option to turn off automatic loading of HTML mail or HTML images. Outlook 2003, for example, does this by default.
  • Use a good anti-spam product. Getting rid of the spam eliminates the spymail from spammers before it reaches you. Unfortunately, this will not protect you from spymail that comes from other sources.
  • If you know anyone that starts using products from http://www.didtheyreadit.com or http://www.msgtag.com/, discourage them from doing so. Many people that use these services are ignorant about what they are doing.
More Information
Here is a funny link about DidTheyReadIt being proclaimed "illegal" in France!