Spammers, or the people who generate those billions of tons of spam email, do a lot of little things to help keep their identities unknown. One problem with SPAM is that the purpose behind it, or the reason that it is created, is not always the same.
Sometimes SPAM is used to distribute malware, spyware, and viruses to unsuspecting people. Sometimes SPAM is used to increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Sometimes SPAM is used to gather information that is then used in legitimate projects. There are even some cases where SPAM is not dangerous, nor created for ill purposes. Spam is defined at any identical mass message, sent via email to a large number of email addresses, and within that definition is the benign, dangerous, and malicious.
So How Do Spammers not get caught?
Sometimes they do get caught. When that happens, their Internet Service Provider shuts them down. To avoid getting caught, Spammers use a variety of tools to hide themselves and their IP Address. The key of understanding how to identify anything on the Internet is to understand just how vulnerable your computers IP Address makes you and your computer.
The basic thing to understand about your computers IP Address is that it is a direct link back to you. There is no other way around that fact. If someone has your IP Address, they have a direct link to you. An IP Address is also presented in many forms. It can be a web address such as www.whatismyipaddress.com. It can be displayed in alphanumeric code, such as www.2586542552.com. It may also be displayed as an IP Address such as, 250.1.25.2456.
Spammers will try their best to confuse you by making their IP Address obscure or irrelevant. How likely are you to remember www.2586542552.com when you see it? It is harder to distinguish a bunch of numbers, than it is to remember a websites address like, www.istealfromyou.com. How likely are you to open an email that is from istealfromyou.com? Not very likely.
That is one way that spammers mask their IP Address.
Another way that they hide themselves is by creating a long chain of go-betweens. As the figure points out. These spam emails arrive via multiple channels. Created by one, sent to another, and then sent to another and then sent to you.
VPNs are another way that spam can be sent without detection. VPNs make it possible to hide your computers IP Address by providing a false IP Address. They also offer anonymous email services that create a false email address too. So email that is sent from those false email address can not be traced back to you. These types of services work really well because each email address is very temporary. By the time, the anti-spam units have traced the email address to a VPN those people behind the email have set up another email address and continued on with their spamming. It makes it almost impossible to catch them.
Like we mentioned early, sometimes they are caught, most times they are not. Another consideration that people should have about spam is this: What is the motivation behind spam? If the motivation is to create wealth through ad revenue or via selling products, then would really large companies that in the business to make revenue off of spam be interested in stopping it? So another way that spammers hide is to be useful to those companies that control the Internet.