Abuse of Usenet: What to do about it
So you've found a spammer or a forgery. Now what do you do?
If it is a forgery, and you know how to contact the user who is
being victimized, do so.
If you can tell from the header who the Internet Service Provider
(ISP) of the culprit is, send them an e-mail, containing the
full text of the posting, including all headers and
explaining why you think this is a problem. Most ISPs have terms
of service (TOS) that prohibit their users from abusing the net
and will cooperate. Such ISPs usually have email addresses such as abuse@(the isp
postmaster@(the isp name).com. Unfortunately, in some cases,
you are simply letting the culprit know you are aware of their
Let the people who police the net know. There is a newsgroup
hierarchy, based in news.admin.net-abuse dedicated to
tracking down and ending this sort of abuse. You can post to
news.admin.net-abuse.announce to request help.
If the act appears to be criminal, inform the police. It is best
if this is done by the victim of the act, and probably is only
valuable in forgery cases, as spam is not illegal (yet); it is just not
This suggestion is controversial Post a follow-up (or reply),
explaining the problem. If you do this, trim the list of groups
you are following up in, so that you won't be guilty of
spam, and don't quote the text of the message. Doing that
only further propagates the problem.
Posting a follow-up has the advantage of getting information out
fast. It has the disadvantage of making it more difficult for the
people who police the net, since your follow-up is now part of the
problem. Use this as a last resort, or in extreme cases.
This suggestion is controversial If you can't get a
response from the ISP, and know how to tell who is the next ISP upstream, then send them the
full text of the message, including the
headers, with an explanation that you are approaching them because
the main ISP is not being responsive. This should be used as a last resort.
If the message is a forgery you may also want to inform the ISP
who owns the internet domain that the news appears to be coming
from. Again, include the entire message, especially the headers,
an explanation of why you think it is a forgery, and an indication
that you have tried to contact the original ISP of the offender.
Some of the advice offered here requires a deeper knowledge of the
workings of the net than is needed to be an ordinary user. If you
don't understand this advice, don't try to follow it. If you want a
problem addressed but don't know how, go to the adminstrator of your
ISP and ask for their help.
Page expanded from an original compiled and written by Marty Fouts