Re: intro questions

From Grant Bayley <>
Date Wed, 20 Oct 1999 17:32:12 +1000 (EST)
In-reply-to <>

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Responses below...

Grant Bayley               
- IT Manager, Batey Kazoo (
- Administrator, The AusMac Archive (
- Webmaster/Organiser, 2600 Australia (

On Wed, 20 Oct 1999, 4 2 wrote:

> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 05:54:49 GMT
> From: 4 2 <>
> Reply-To:
> To:
> Subject: intro questions
> [: hacktivism :]
> Hi,
> So most people on this list probably know the answers to these questions 
> like the back of their hands, but, well...I don't, so I'm asking anyway.
> 1.  How do I keep my e-mail secure and private?  Is there such a thing?  Do 
> I need to use PGP?

In order of decreasing security:

	1) Have your own mail server and maintain both the operating
	   system and mail server software with all available patches.

	2) Use the mail server at your service provider.
	3) Use a web-based email service (any of them).

The reason I say this is that the more control you can exert over the
storage of the messages, the better.  Use of PGP in all these scenarios is
relevent when the procedures you follow to store and sign your messages
are sound and when your contacts are also using PGP and similar
procedures.  That said, deciding on a level appropriate for your
communications will ensure PGP doesn't get too much in your way, though at
the same time maintaining security.

> 2.  What's this about proxys and cookies?

Proxies, broadly speaking, download information on your behalf with some
advertised increase in speed over which this would normally be done.  Be
aware though that every URL you request passes through this device and can
be logged (this includes sites where you are submitting your information
in plain text).

Cookies allow website operators to track when you enter, leave, navigate
through a site and also assign a "Customer ID" style code to you.  Whether
this is something you need to be concerned about is up to you.

> 3.  How do I stop from getting spam and stupid chain letters?

Don't post things to Usenet.  Don't put email addresses into surveys.
Don't use free webmail accounts.  Don't put your email addresses onto web
pages.  Although there's a few other ways for spammers to get your
address, these are the most prominent ways of gathering this information.

> 4.  How come every time I try to unsubscribe from a list that I haven't even 
> asked to be put on (on onelist, or wherever) it doesn't work?

When you subscribe to the list and often with every message you're sent
information on how to unsubscribe.  Follow these instructions and ye shall
be happy.

> 5.  If I get unsubbed from a list that I have not unsubbed myself from, and 
> I've recieved no confirmation of it, does that mean somebody got into my 
> account?


I run some lists and the most common reason for me doing this to people is
having 50 of their messages bounce back as a result of either shitty DNS
or shitty servers (the really low-grade freebie webmail services are the
worst culprits followed by tinpot ISPs).

The other reason is people sending silly messages like "unsubscribe" to
the list itself rather than following the instructions they were given
when they subscribed.  I consider this as payback for stupidity.

> 6.  How do I stop people from getting into my account?  (Other than changing 
> my password over and over again).

Refer to question 1.

> 7.  Aren't there ways of getting my password using a numerical sequencer 
> thing that just comes right back on when it gets booted off?

I have no idea what you mean here.  Are you referring to a one-time
password mechanism or an auto-login mechanism?

> 8.  What's this about hushmail?  Is it secure or is it just some kind of 
> conspiracy to get me and all of my friends to switch over?

Please refer to:

> 9.  How many places does each e-mail I write go to before it reaches it's 
> (hopefully) final destination?  Is there any way to minimize this?

It depends on a number of factors (I am referring to the number of hops
between your own ISP/Service as opposed to the number of mail exchangers):

	1) What ISP/Service it's going to
	2) How "far" it is away from your own ISP/Service on the network
	3) If there's any problems on the Internet at the time the
	   message traverses the network.

No, there's no real way to minimise this aside from installing a direct
dialup/other connection into the ISP/Service of every person you wish to
correspond with.

> 10. How do I know this list isn't being archived somewhere?

You don't.


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