Author Topic: Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?  (Read 3873 times)

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Offline wile_e

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Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?
« on: June 05, 2005, 05:54:50 PM »
Just found out that some marketers sending spam, are using web bugs in HTML emails. These web bugs are 1 pixel images that are hidden from view. They are used as a "return receipt", to notify them that you read the email.

Do any of the Avast providers, block web bugs?

Offline DavidR

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Re: Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2005, 07:22:34 PM »
No, because there is nothing that would trigger an alarm, it is just downloading an image. The fact that this may be used for ulterior motives, confirmation that they have got a live email address, which can be sold on to other spammers.

You don't say what email program you use nor what firewall. It is possible to deny external links from contacting the internet in OE and many firewalls can block images by size.

First and foremost I would be concentrating on blocking the spam in the first place, then you don't have to worry so much about web bug images.
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Offline MikeBCda

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Re: Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2005, 08:17:10 PM »
One caution about blocking all 1x1's -- something vaguely rings a bell in what's left of my memory that some sites use those quite legitimately, as sort of a reference point for aligning the rest of the page.
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Offline DavidR

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Re: Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2005, 08:52:30 PM »
Yes, they use can them for spacing I have used similar images in the past trans.gif (a 1 pixel transparent gif file), but the display size is usually greater than 1X1.

1 pixel to align a page wouldn't be noticeable so it would require a larger size 1X25 say, but yes blocking images in Outpost does have an impact, I often see [AD] in place of an image because it matches some of the sizes I have set.

However, a clever designer won't simply have an image imported but will set place holders (the size of the image), so if the image fails to load for any reason the area allocated doesn't collapse.
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Offline Arnb

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Re: Web bugs and "hidden" Return Receipts?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2005, 02:32:02 PM »
Thunderbird has an option to suppress external images, inform the reader, then present a button to view the images if desired.

Along with running Mailwasher Pro, spam is no longer an issue for me.   

http://www.mozilla.org/  for Thunderbird

http://www.firetrust.com/  MailWasher