Spam - Who to hate most?

Having had one of my domain names used by a cowardly spammer who daren’t use their own domain name, I now have an inbox groaning with hundreds of delivery failure notices from servers around the world.

Who should I hate most…the cowardly spammer for hiding behind a stolen domain name, or the mail administrators who set up their servers to respond to each and every non-delivery with an error/bounce message. If >90% of email is spam, then the inevitable flurry of bounce messages for spam must mean that real email accounts for about 0.01% of all the email sent every day #-o We’ve long had a policy at work of not sending bounces for unknown users or anything else.

The first thing I absolutely Loved about the Intenet when I got my first computer in 1998 was email…

It is now the thing I hate the most. Spammers have all but ruined what I once considered the Killer App of all time…


The key to bounces is when it happens.

If your outside mail server is being given a message and you determine that you don’t want it, you deny it. That will not produce a false bounce message since the message you are denying is from the source or at least the source that accepted it (Their fault).

If however, your mail server accepts the message, at no time should you subsequently bounce the message as you no longer know really where it came from.

The problem with most of the bad mail servers is that they only person to bounce the message to is the persons listed in the mail since they are no longer in contact with the mail server (or spambot) that is attempting delivery.

You also get cute issues with vacation, out of office etc message which use Null Senders on purpose.

If you happen to (as I have) have a domain that was selected for a mail blitz, where millions of messages are sent using that domain forged in them, you can end up with a mail server that is completely overwhelmed and not have any real email. All because of “bad” mail servers that generate improper bounce messages.

My friend had that same issue. She is using the e-mail server from her web site host, and had it set up so that mail sent to [email protected] would be put into her default mail account. (anything means any e-mail address using her domain). She had given out several different e-mail addresses for her domain so she could segregate business and personal e-mail by the TO: address. Then she suddenly began to be flooded with spam bounces. Examination showed that most of the stuff that was being bounced was using cute e-mail account names, not the ones she was using. We set up specific e-mail accounts for the various categories she was using, and then set the forwarding rules to forward any of the e-mail addresses she was actually using to those accounts. The last forwarding rule forwarded anything not otherwise recognized to the bit bucket. She still gets an occasional spam bounce to one of her specific accounts, but the rest are largely being thrown away automatically.


Unfortunately I have a lot of single use email addresses on the domain for use when dealing with specific companies/people. Remembering all the addresses I’ve ever used for legitimate correspondence is beyond my current brain capacity, so it’s not something I could do easily.

whats the story with all the .pdf files as attachements now
are others getting those spam emails?

Yep, that’s the next step in evolution after the anti-spammers figured out how to filter out spam where the message was in an image.

I’m getting a lot of those reject messages too, seems to be popular at the moment.

PDFs are the latest way of trying to bypass filters. It’s been suggested the next generation of spam may be based on video formats :roll:

but who is silly enough to open an unknown pdf file from an unkown email/source?

When you send out millions of them, all it takes is a few fools to get a return on your Free Spam project.

Most people don’t realize it, but spam is a very BIG money maker that costs the spammers very little to run. They literally make $$millions$$ getting people to open their crap and do what they suggest they do.

You would not believe the amount of replies I see from users who complain they were unable to log into the website to find out why someone paid them for an Ebay purchase they didn’t sell, or that they logged in with their account information (bank) and the website said it was not a valid account.

RX and Watch spam make the senders Millions on a regular basis by getting fools to order the stuff which they don’t really ship but then use the credit card info to empty the account before the fool knows what hit them.

Pump and Dump stock spam is one of the better ones since you don’t need the fool to log into a website, use a credit card or login. You just need enough of them to buy the stupid stock to cause it to go up so they can dump what they bought. Many of the stocks are on off markets. That is primarily where the PDF, Image and zip file spam is coming from nowdays.

Spam is a very big business that makes tons of money which is why it is increasing at such a rapid pace.

Down right scary.

If I were the benign dictator running the Internet, I would consider that bouncers were worse than spammers. I can cope with both with great accuracy, using POPFile, so I’m not really bothered. What does worry me, far more, are ISPs using SpamAssassin or the likes; even with their lightest filtering, ham can be lost amongst the myriad spam and bounces. How many times have I heard “but I didn’t receive your e-mail”?

We don’t do Ham, at least not for Email…

Users can obtain a spam block report, see messages that were blocked and have them released. They can also use the portal to see what the messages are, look at the content before releasing them, including attachments etc (as long as they are not marked as a virus).

You can search for blocked, passed or Blocked & Passed messages, look for specific users, subjects etc… You can release a message that has been sent up to 7 days before.

I just did a sweep of the major domains (with users of 40 or more) for today and yesterday and only found 1 (that is One!) message that was “passed” that was spam to a user for that time period. No PDF’s, Image spam was passed at all. But real email with PDF’s and Images flew on by… I didn’t see any obvious blocks of real email.

Very cool system. The best part is that they do the work for us. They play the spam war games and I can concentrate on real system issues. Makes doing email services fun again.

Now, if I only could get my work to use the same… I’d be spam free in both of my worlds… and have a lot more time to work on real issues again.

At work we are still using the SonicWall Email Security (Formerly MaiFrontier) nonsense… I’ve spend more than 30 hours working with their tech support since last week trying to get them to “fix” their system. I don’t think it is fixable. change is coming I think though… the number of complaints is getting louder and they are coming from higher up the food chain.

And I … AM … SO … TEMPTED … TO … CHECK … THAT … POSTCARD that was sent to me by a classmate or friend or honey. Geeezzz, seems to be the latest gimmick for me.