Sam Spade (software)

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Sam Spade is the name of a Windows software tool designed to assist in tracking down sources of e-mail spam. It is also the name of a free web service that provides access to similar online tools.[1][2][3][4] The Sam Spade utility was authored by Steve Atkins in 1997. It is named after the fictional character Sam Spade.[5]

Query tools[edit]

The main features (query tools) are:

  • Zone Transfer – ask a DNS server for all it knows about a domain
  • SMTP Relay Check – check whether a mail server allows third party relaying
  • Scan Addresses – scan a range of IP addresses looking for open ports
  • Crawl website – search a website, looking for email addresses, offsite links, etc.
  • Browse web – browse the web in a raw http format
  • Check cancels – search your news server for cancel messages
  • Fast and Slow Traceroute – find the route packets take between you and a remote system
  • S-Lang command – issue a scripting command; useful for debugging scripts
  • Decode URL – decipher an obfuscated URL
  • Parse email headers – read email headers and make a guess about the origin of the email

Website history[edit]

  • The last fully functional version of the website was available 2004-02-26.[6]
  • The text

System outages has been increasingly unreachable for the past couple of months. This has been due to several reasons - general network problems, blackholing of by several RIRs and general heavy usage.

This is a very much trimmed down version of the site, while I deal with some of the other issues.

appeared by 2004-03-26.[7]
  • The "very much trimmed down" description was reduced to "slightly trimmed down" by 2004-05-21.[8]
  • The last fully functional version of the website was available 2004-02-26.[6]" by 2004-05-21.[8]
  • The "System outages" message was gone by 2004-12-10.[9]
  • The text


Yes, we've been down. has been on a succession of servers living in colocation space donated by CenterGate for a number of years. They've burned out, mostly through disk system failures, and been replaced four or five times now.

I've migrated the site across to one of my business servers in colo space that's local to me (so I guess I'm going to see just how expensive the bandwidth it burns is). It's a shared box right now, but I'll probably need to buy a new dedicated server to run it fairly soon.

A lot of the problems has are due to attempts to abuse it by a variety of people. Right now I'm seeing many queries a second to a page that has been missing for at least a couple of weeks by someone at, just as a current example. There's no way any legitimate use could create that amount of traffic, so you have to wonder why a huge investment company that's managing over a trillion dollars in investments and making more that eleven billion dollars a year in revenue needs to steal service from me, helping to knock my servers offline in the process.

We're running a new code base, with little code shared with the previous incarnations. You might see problems. If so, you can probably work out where to report them to.

appeared 2006-10-24.[10]
  • The "Right now" sentence in the previous bullet was gone by 2006-11-10.[11]
  • The "Commentary" headline had been replaced by a "Status" header and the text "We'll be adding some new tools (and resurrecting some of the older ones) soon. Any thoughts on what we should add? Email me." had been added by 2007-02-02.[12]
  • The dysfunctional text "We had a two-drive failure on our main server array this weekend, so stuff is very broken. We'll be back soon." and CSS from appeared by 2007-02-05.[13]
  • The text

Lost two drives on our main array, but we're back again now. New server on order...

We'll be adding some new tools (and resurrecting some of the older ones) once it's here.

appeared by 2007-02-21.[14]
  • The two sentences about drives and adding in the previous bullet were replaced by "Need to make DNS queries? Check email blacklists? Take a look at" by 2007-12-07.[15]
  • The last archived version of the text in the previous bullet was 2010-06-10.[16]
  • The site displayed dysfunctional message "Back soon" by 2011-02-25.[17]
  • The site displayed dysfunctional message "It works!" by 2011-06-29,[18] and has alternated between those two messages ever since.


  1. ^ Moran, John (Jul 8, 2002). "Sick of spam, PC activists hunt for perpetrators". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. ^ "How to track down and eliminate spam". Gainesville Sun. Apr 20, 1998. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Spring, Tom (Jan 19, 2004). "Spam Slayer: Why Spammers Love the CAN-SPAM Law". PC World. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Quittner, Josh (June 1, 1998). "Can That Spam!". Time. 
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External links[edit]