Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Spam Communications IT

Giving Your Greytrapping a Helping Hand 109

Peter N. M. Hansteen writes "Some spam houses have invested in real mail servers now, meaning that they are able to get past greylisting and even content filtering. Recently Peter Hansteen found himself resorting to active greytrapping to put some spammers in their place. The article also contains a list of spam houses' snail mail addresses in case you want to tour their sites."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Giving Your Greytrapping a Helping Hand

Comments Filter:
  • It just seems like it'd be easier now to find out the spam mail servers and block everything that comes from them.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      Your post advocates a

      You know what, fill it out yourself.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by noidentity (188756)
        Your post involves a knee-jerk response. The original poster wasn't proposing a spam solution, merely asking whether dedicated spam servers would make it easier to simply blacklist them.
        • The knee-jerk is justified. The issues of botnetes used to send spam have been addressed here, repeatedly. And the issues of "legitimate" spam companies using forged SMTP information and co-located serves, worldwide, date back to the first commercial spam enterprises such as Canter&Siegel.
    • by Nursie (632944)

      Yeah, you would have thought that it would get into spamhaus pretty quickly and then RBL blocked like anything else.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      They are likely not keeping these servers indefinitely but renting them temporarily which makes this not a viable long-term solution.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gmuslera (3436)

        They are likely not keeping these servers indefinitely but renting them temporarily which makes this not a viable long-term solution.

        For the ones renting them servers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JoshuaZ (1134087)
          And are we not to expect that anyone renting servers has to check in advance that the people aren't spammers and if they mess up at all then they lose their entire business? How is that either just or practical?
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            If the companies are not complicit, they will yank the server offline the moment they get a couple of spam complaints from the recipient. That usually translates to about 3-5 minutes after their client sends me spam. It takes about that long for me to do the whois lookup of their ISP and compose an appropriately worded email message.... Thus, it is unlikely that spammers will pay for real servers unless the hosting providers are well aware of what is going on and merely do not care.

            • And you haven't pre-assembled 4-5 form letters and a couple scripts that parse the whois and send a complaint letter?
              • by dgatwood (11270)

                Obviously the company should confirm that the complaints are legitimate, but that usually doesn't take long.

          • by Nursie (632944) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:41PM (#27293641)

            If you rent servers to people that spam me, then you lose the ability to email me until I here you've sorted your act out.

            It's that simple. And it has to be.

            • Cause I'll just email your manager and the sales guy who didn't get my customers email and hopefully you'll be fired.

              Playing email games like that with your own personal mail server is fine. Doing it on a corporate network isn't. And nothing makes me more happy then sicking pissed off sales guys and managers in your company after you. It is far easier to get your manager or sales staff to force you to remove that blacklist then it is to deal with with the assholes like you or the guys running the RBL. T

              • by Nursie (632944) on Monday March 23, 2009 @07:09AM (#27296429)

                "Cause I'll just email your manager and the sales guy who didn't get my customers email and hopefully you'll be fired."

                I'll be fired because I blocked email from an IP address in your range that's set up to fire spam at people?

                No, I don't think so, in fact I can advise the sales guys and management that anything coming from that IP address is likely to be fraudulent anyway. Check who you rent servers to, and check their activity, or lose the ability for that IP address to mail my servers until I'm happy you've got your act together. The end.

                • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                  by coryking (104614) *

                  Except you'd be wrong because we aren't spammers and dont have any on our network. "You" are just an overzealous sysadmin who blocked legit email that was meant for your sales staff.

                  • by Nursie (632944)

                    "Except you'd be wrong because we aren't spammers and dont have any on our network. "You" are just an overzealous sysadmin who blocked legit email that was meant for your sales staff."

                    Why have I blocked you in response to spam then?

                    What the hell are you even fucking well talking about at this point?

                    I propose to block a host I receive spam from until I receive some sort of assurance that it's not spamming any more. Why are you so angry about this?

                    • by Nursie (632944)

                      "User "Ftard" in China starts spamming with a spoofed return IP, and a bogus return address which matches the mail server at the spoofed IP."

                      Well unless Ftard is using an open proxy, which I'm quite happy to block too (this is sadly not 1990 any more), then his TCP/IP session has to come from somewhere and that's going to be more reliable an indicator of where it came from than the return address. Never bother looking at the return address on spam.

                      "However, I would add that upon request, you also be willing

        • You'll turn into SPEWs, or SORBS, or whoever those assholes are.

          Start blacklisting ISP's who rent them servers, and soon enough You'll have blacklisted pretty much half the internet. Most of them are innocent too.

          Vengeance blacklisting is for assholes. I once had a netblock land in SPEW's snare and rather than try to get de-listed, I just emailed the managers and sales people of the company who refused our email. I figured if I went over the power-tripping asshole running the mail server and went to some

          • by N1AK (864906)
            Your points not that informative, and simply referring to mail admins who are trying to minimise spam mail to there users as assholes a dozen times won't change that.

            Firstly, who says these people were talking about a corporate environment anyway? Secondly, when they blacklist emails there are other options than simply destroying all mail that reaches your domain. I have seen a number of setups which simply respond to 'spam' email with an email explaining the reason for the rejection and a phone number t
          • by sgt scrub (869860)

            Most of us "assholes" use metrics to make those kinds of decisions. From there it is easy to show the dumber ups how much spam is originating from specific sources and get them to agree on the +2 to spam score. Road Runner comes to mind (99.3% Jan08-Mar09). So does fdcservers (100% Jan08-Dec08). If you find anything other than open relays, proxy sites, or malware on fdcservers your doing good.

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by coryking (104614) *

              Okay. Fair enough. There are exceptions.

              I'm bitter because the now defunct SWEWs were overzealous assholes who cast a giant net. Our tiny /26 got caught when our upstreams /16 got blocked for whatever reason. We only had a couple clients get their shit rejected--and in those cases our client knew the recipients personally, I just had them call the recipient to inform them they had an idiot running their mail server.

              The people using things like SPEWs to block mail traffic were not thinking like you are.

      • by Asic Eng (193332)
        Well the only long-term solution I've heard about is this: [] Mind you, that's not a legal solution. However if you ever get too much spam, I recommend looking at that site - it sure helps you to relax.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          A quick note, turn off page styles if you're going to read that -- the background+text color combination is atrocious.
    • Grey-trapping (Score:5, Informative)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:18PM (#27291291)

      I was not clear on the definition of grey-trapping. It is the process of providing decoy e-mail addresses that are discoverable by harvesters but not by ordinary humans. When mail arrives at the destination of a decoy, the sender IP address is then added to the spam filter of the receiver.

      Basically sort of a honey pot approach.

      So you might ask why can't ISPS do this at the ISP level rather than the user level? Make it opt-in, white-listable, etc..

      The problem is what happens when some reputable sender get's on the list.

      FOr example, Joe Spammer takes his address list and does a sing-up operation to Yahoo for all the addresses. Now the Yahoo registration server then does not automatically enroll them but still it sends an e-mail to every one of the e-mail addresses. some of which are the decoys.

      so Yahoo gets grey-listed by the ISP.

      I would think this attack would also foul up every grey-list in existance as well. So I don't actually understand how grey-listing works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is what happens when some reputable sender get's on the list.

        I mentioned this to Mr. Hansteen a while back on usenet, warning him about putting his greytraps (and spamtraps) in public view on his webpages. All it takes for a legitimate sender to be listed with him, is one single newsletter signup with one of his traps.

        Even though the trap will never respond, the sender will nevertheless have to send a message to the trap to attempt to verify the signup. Apparently, his list protects quite a lot of accounts, and he cannot whitelist everything ...

        I never got a decent r

      • Sounds familiar. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khasim (1285)

        I was using something similar. The trick is to identify the ISP mail servers. Usually by some naming convention of the ISP ... but in some cases you have to just wait for a complaint to come when they get blacklisted. I solved part of that by sending the rejection list to the recipients at times so they could check it.

        Meanwhile, greylisting is completely different.
        Greylisting means that any new "triplet" (recipient name + sender's name + sending IP address) is TEMPORARILY rejected for X minutes. This is bec

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          I have the feeling that this grey-trapping is in combination with grey-listing. The honey pot e-mail server presumably uses greylisting by itself: it is as I understand meant to be the same server as that handles your regular mail.

          So only mails that pass the greylisting will be trapped, so that are mails, presumably spam, that pass the greylisting and are sent from a real mailserver.

          Those servers you want to trap and blacklist.

          Now the problem arises indeed when junk is being sent through legitimate serve

      • by Erwin-42 (117944)

        The ISPs are using this approach, it's called a "spamtrap". If you look at the spamcop reports for an IP or SNDS data from Microsoft you can see the number of spamtrap hits. This does not blacklist the sender right away, but it does increase their spamscore.

        I think your Yahoo situation is unlikely -- I'm sure Yahoo has some rate limiting/captcha/etc. in place to prevent someone to sign up thousands of accounts programmatically.

      • I've actually proposed something very similar to this before, called a Solicited Bulk Realtime List [], which would be an elaborate DNSBL-style spamtrap whose purpose is determining which lists play fair (no-unsubscribe vs opt-out vs opt-in vs confirmed-opt-in) regardless of solicitations. Such an index would enable users to safely unsubscribe, and perhaps more importantly, its widespread adoption would force all "list" emailers, be they spammers or not, to better implement subscription management.

        SBRL woul

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:28PM (#27291373)

      Sure, if you run a spam server, please mail me at (or, if you sort it the other way, Don't use these addresses otherwise. Thanks.

    • by russotto (537200)

      It just seems like it'd be easier now to find out the spam mail servers and block everything that comes from them.

      That's what he did. He just did it in an automated way by feeding the spammers addresses which, when used, would cause the automatic blacklisting of the host which used them.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      I think multiple MX domains on a single relay is the issue. If your site is hosted, run (unix/linux) host -t MX This will show you what your mail servers are. Now do that for someone else using the same hosting site. Every hosted site using that company will, typically, have the same response. Some ISPs create an alias so the MX request returns your domain but not many. Even the ones that do cheap out and use one ip address.

    • by jonadab (583620)

      > It just seems like it'd be easier now to find out the spam mail servers and block everything that comes from them.

      They migrate from IP address to IP address too often for that. Apparently some ISPs will just hand you a different Class A block every couple of weeks, no questions asked, as long as you're paying your bill. This has been common in APNIC space at least since the late nineties.

      And then there are the botnets.

  • Um, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:55PM (#27291029)
    Um, how much spam does the average /.er even get per day? I have gotten exactly one spam message that has made it past Gmail's spam filtering this year (2009) and it was quick and easy to delete. I don't give my e-mail address out to everyone, but I do sign up to many things with it yet still it is very rare for spam to make it to even my spam filter. So is spam really that large of problem in 2009?
    • Re:Um, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:58PM (#27291063) Homepage Journal

      So is spam really that large of problem in 2009?

      It's Gmail's problem. The cost of filtering spam means Google has to put more ads on your messages and, if Gmail becomes unprofitable, possibly even terminate free Gmail.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        Talking about costs. Spamming isn't free if you are running your own servers. And it is high risk. But as GP said spam never gets through gmail. One would think that the scrupulous spammer would not bother spamming gmail anyways. There is no benefit to doing so unless you just hate google and are using a lame form of ddos.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by geminidomino (614729) *

          One would think that the scrupulous spammer would not bother spamming gmail anyways.

          This message brought to you by Microsoft Works(TM).

        • I'm sure it is well worth a spammers time to at least try their luck spamming google. After all, the hard part isn't getting a list of addresses--you just spam The hard part is getting past their filter and if you can be the only spammer to gets it right, you win at being a spammer.

          But yeah, something tells me spamming google from a real server would result in getting blocked pretty quickly.

          Stupid spammers.

        • Spam rarely gets through gmail. A little does.

          Unfortunately, good mail gets caught in gmail's spam trap. Its false positive rate would be utterly unacceptable, except addresses on your contact list get through, and you can set "if it matches this pattern, never spam trap" filters, which help with some mailing lists I'm on that often trip Gmail's spam filter, but still, just today there were two legit emails in the trap that I'd really hate to have missed.

          Why they were trapped, I have no idea; they did

    • They aren't targeting these emails at your average /.er though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by corsec67 (627446)

      Just because you don't see doesn't mean that Google doesn't have to invest a large amount of resources to process spam, in terms of storage, network transfer, and CPU overhead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't say that spam is a problem for the savy and those behind a properly configured server. But as a system admin for several area businesses, they would find themselves swimming in spam without proper filtering. Thankfully Spamassassin coupled with Vipul's Razor gives results comparable to Gmail's spam filter.

    • by dirvine (1008915)
      Is this spam sending not illegal in the USA? I see many of these addresses as located there, surely a quick federal related visit is warranted.

      Surely these illegal activities can escalate or be backed by some pretty unscrupulous folks, seems like a good start to go get them now.

    • Re:Um, (Score:5, Funny)

      by TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:07PM (#27291165)

      how much spam does the average /.er even get per day? I have gotten exactly one spam message that has made it past Gmail's spam filtering

      Wow. I remember when the average /.er was running their own mail server. Let me tell you kids, those where the days! The world economy was strong, and I didn't have to have cat food for dinner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "The world economy was strong, and I didn't have to have cat food for dinner."

        I miss mom's cooking too.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        "Wow. I remember when the average /.er was running their own mail server."

        Hi there. I'm still here!

        I also have a friend who runs a couple. Gmail is for suckers that don't mind giving away their data and don't have the balls to do it themselves.

        I get minimal spam (about 1 a day maybe?) after setting up postfix to check headers, check spf and ask spamhaus.

      • by zero1101 (444838)

        I can't speak for anyone else, but I stopped running my own mail server when free webmail services got as fast, convenient, and effective at blocking spam. There's no real benefit to running my own server that outweighs the administration effort at this point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chimpo13 (471212)

      I've seen an increase in spam that has made it past my gmail spambox in the last week, but I get several thousand spams a day so it's not a big deal.

      I used to allow any email that shows up to the domains that I have, and I'd get way more spam. It's weird that 3,000 spams a day is slow since it's not like I go out signing up for stuff but I also don't hide my email.

      I still get actual email that gets filtered as spam which sucks, but I put up with it since gmail works about 99.5% of the time. I wonder how ma

    • Re:Um, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:13PM (#27291245)

      I have gotten exactly one spam message that has made it past Gmail's spam filtering this year (2009) and it was quick and easy to delete. I don't give my e-mail address out to everyone, but I do sign up to many things with it yet still it is very rare for spam to make it to even my spam filter. So is spam really that large of problem in 2009?

      I have seen exactly one malware on my machine that my virus scanner picked up and it was quick and easy to delete. I don't leave all my machine's ports open, but I do leave several vulnerable ones open yet it is still very rare for any of the malware's operation to be noticeable to me. So is malware really that large of a problem in 2009?

    • I never count my spam. I've gotten a huge increase in spam, recently. At least 6 pieces since January 1st, maybe 10 pieces. I dunno if I carelessly filled in the wrong form somewhere, or what, but man, it's killing me. ;) Like yourself, I just marked them as spam on my gmail account, and I haven't seen any of them again. :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dberstein (648161)
      I run my own mail server(s) and actually the number of spams I get is quite low with a daily average of 0.75 spams per day. That's down from ~20 spams a day before I enabled gray listing, RBL on my MTA and HELO restrictions.
      There 0.75 spam/day emails are detected by my MUA's spam filter, meaning I tend to never have a spam email in my inbox!
      You can find good/reliable VPS'es from $10/mo. that'll allow you to:
      • Run your own DNS servers.
      • Run your own SMTP/IMAP/POP servers (Postfix/Dovecote make a great
      • Re:Um, (Score:4, Informative)

        by cibyr (898667) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:37PM (#27292109) Journal

        I rather pay for my own VPS than pay Google for a freaking email account and/or their App Engine.

        Except google apps "Standard edition" is free []. And it's pretty much all you'd need unless you're a largish business. Pretty much the only difference is you get a mere 5GB (of which I'm using something like 200MB) instead of 25GB per mailbox, a limit of something like 50 users, and you don't get their mobile access and migration tools. You get SMTP/IMAP/POP and the best webmail interface there is :)

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by dberstein (648161)
          Webmail as your primary MUA?! Are you kidding me?
          I guess that's like saying skateboarding should be your primary transportation vehicle. Some people do it I suppose, but is it the best idea?
          Get your own infrastructure and access your emails as you wish, like for example mutt on a remote terminal, or webmail (squirrelmail), or in any mobile IMAP client (my iPhone works great).
          What about backups? What if tomorrow they change the policy of old/archived message?
          I do have a couple of gmail accounts, but t
          • by maxume (22995)

            Gmail does imap. It supports iphone. You can backup using imap.

            There are still plenty of reasons for someone to run their own server, but "I need imap" isn't a strong one.

          • Gmail's not so bad. It's even useful for professional purposes. For me, a Gmail account is good just to give to the outside world during job interviews.

            It seemed more respectable, if not just easier, to say "me at gmail dot com." My other email address, which I actually use a lot, has a weird domain name that raised too many eyebrows, despite how personal and clever I think it is.

            My infrastructure was set up when I had other professional goals in mind. I didn't want to have to rejigger it all for market

        • by johnjones (14274)

          they (google) are not so wonderful for bussiness stuff for personal stuff I like them but they seem to put a lot of bussiness email in the bucket...

          oh well try explaining that to the CEO "well google trains the software not us"

          exit stage left

          • by coryking (104614) * on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:32AM (#27295109) Homepage Journal

            Just switched a client to google mail for business (really, what is it called? Google Apps? Google Mail? huh) and have heard nothing but complaints. The "gmail" thing gets email that never shows up in their imap folder, their imap folder gets stuff that disappears from their gmail thing.

            Attachments work funny.

            If you delete message from a "thread" in gmail, it will delete every "send" and "reply" message in the whole damn thread and thus nukes all of it in Outlook. If you nuke a single message in IMAP, it fucks up how gmail handles the thread.

            All kinds of things. Their thole thing is great, but the minute you want to use a "real" mail program on top of it (like most businesses I know), trouble brews and shit just doesn't work the way you'd expect. There was a reason Google took so long to add IMAP support--their whole damn system works like no other email program. I bet they had to basically hack the whole damn thing to work like a "real" mail system IMAP was designed for. Basically, using them is a horrible form of lock-in.

            Now I have to move them back to a "real" mail system this coming week so their life can work as it always did.

            • by KGBear (71109)

              Sorry, but Gmail is not the problem here. Outlook is. I find it hilarious that you think Outlook is a "real" mail program. Outlook is a MS Exchange client and very good at that. But it is a lousy client for anything else. We have all sorts of users here (state university) and the Outlook users are constantly whining about IMAP, so much so that now they just don't even try it anymore. They just have decided "IMAP sucks" and they all just POP. Meanwhile the people using Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Eudora, Netsca

              • They just have decided "IMAP sucks" and they all just POP.

                Well, IMAP does suck. Silly idea. Why do I want my old mail hanging around on the server, where I can't grep it, and a bored admin can poke around in it? POP your mail off the server and store it locally.

                • by KGBear (71109)

                  Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that there are many MUAs that have no problems with IMAP while Outlook constantly chokes on it.

                  There are many reasons why you'd leave messages on the server. You may want to get to them from different computers in different parts of the world and you wan to use your MUA of choice; or you want to ride with the server backups; or your server, sitting behind a locked door, is more secure than your laptop, which could be stolen taking all your e-mail history with it

                  • Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that there are many MUAs that have no problems with IMAP while Outlook constantly chokes on it.

                    Sure. IMAP is mild suckage and I generally recommend against it for tech-savvy users, but Outlook is Pure Concentrated Evil that must be cleansed from the face of the earth with atomic fire...

        • Except it sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

          by coryking (104614) *

          IMAP is flaky and slow. It is a hack to map googles lack of folders onto IMAP's idea of folders.

          It is a bitch for an administrator. There is no good way for an admin to setup email forwarding accounts--yeah, the user can do it, but you have to create an account for them and they have to do it, you cannot!. Their concept of distribution lists suck. You cannot change somebodies email address without creating a new account. I could go on but I wont.

          Basically, for a business, using Google apps sucks. The

      • by Deagol (323173)

        $10/month? Please, *please* name names.

        The only one I know of is -- but they don't do FreeBSD, which is what I'd prefer.

    • Stats (Score:4, Informative)

      by coryking (104614) * on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:05AM (#27295011) Homepage Journal

      For every single message you are getting, google is probably filtering out at least a hundred.

      My own mail servers, tiny in comparison, get about a connection every second. 98% of those connections are rejected out of hand (bad HELO, fucked reverse DNS, residential IP address, bullshit brute-forced email address, etc) and of that remaining 2%, half is legitimate email. Which means for every hundred connections, one is legitimate. So 1% of all our mail traffic as legitimate. 1%.

      In other words, you have no clue at all how fucking bad spam is. It is bad. Really bad.

      • I must be doing something wrong then. I run my own mail server too, and I get maybe 3-5 attempts at relaying a mail to somewhere else per day, and maybe one or two spam attempts per day. Some of which are filtered by SPF or reverse DNS checks, the rest is up to dspam to catch.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      So you don't give out your email address unless it is to sign up for stuff? I would say you are a good reason why google's spam filter is so well tuned :-p

    • by cptdondo (59460)

      I've had the same email address since 1994. I get about a thousand a day; some days it peaks at several hundred an hour.

      Spam shows no signs of going away.

      With Greylisting, SA, and dspam I get about 99% rejection rate. Still, about 10-20 get through a day.

  • Dynamic Dolphin?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by azav (469988) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:59PM (#27291095) Homepage Journal

    I seem to remember reading about a convicted spammer who created Dynamic Dolphin in Broomfield, Colorado. Does anyone else remember who this asshole was? I would not be surprised if he started the whole thing.

  • Not that there was ever really anything more than a facade of impartiality at Slashdot, but thanks a bunch for tossing even that facade in the dumpster.

    This twit even writes about himself in the third person in an attempt to disguise his self-promotion; disgusting.

  • Wow! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    From TFA:

    Dynamic Dolphin Privacy Protect
    5023 W 120th Ave #233

    Hey, I used to live in null! Had to leave though, there was nothing to do.

  • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp.thenorth@com> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:32PM (#27292061) Homepage Journal

    At one time I invested a few weeks time into building a heuristic antispam filter. One of the principles I used was very similar to this (there were many others).

    I came to the conclusion pretty quickly that in the game of anti-spam, the larger the email pool you have, the more efficient your heuristic tools can be. Once I proved that to myself, I went looking for who was doing the best job using the techniques I decided worked best, and routed my mail through them.

    Its cheap, effective, and gets the spam off my network bandwidth. Even if you do a perfect job yourself, you're still paying for the traffic. That's a waste by itself.

    If you're so worried about privacy, get yourself an appliance that uses the same principles as the services (like postini, etc.). Either way, antispam is no longer a business for the individual.

    • by Gerald (9696) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:43PM (#27292737) Homepage

      Seconded. My email addresses tend to be old, public, and static. This means they get a ton of spam. It's not worth the time and effort of handling anti-spam in-house when Postini can do an equivalent or better job at a reasonable price.

      Switching to Postini also freed up a ton of RAM and CPU on our hosted servers.

      • How is Postini doing with false positives these days?

        We had them at a medium-sized company I used to work for a few years ago, and it was a huge help, but some of the marketing people had a terrible time getting email from some sources they wanted that Postini was deciding was "blatant spam", and dropping without putting it in the quarantine.

        Yeah, none of that email was anything that I would want, or probably you either, but the marketroids thought it was pretty important.

        Some of the other providers ha

        • by CFD339 (795926)

          Postini provides 3 levels of detection:

          Believed to be valid mail - This gets delivered. Of the hundreds of spams I get daily, a few fairly innocuous ones do get through. I am not diligent about forwarding these to postini to report them.

          High Probability Spam - This is the nasty, obvious spam that's fairly easy to detect. Its the vast majority of spam. I've got postini set to not even both showing these to me in my daily block list.

          Probably-Spam - Postini holds these, and sends me an email every day at

  • Content filtering? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:27PM (#27292593)
    How does "investing in real servers" let the mail through content filtering? Last time I checked, a content filter reads the *contents* of the mail (ie not the envelope or the header, hence the name). The spammers can buy servers until they're blue in the face, that won't make a blind bit of difference to the outcome in that case.
    • exactly combine this with DKIM and a external reputation system....

      (looking at ones navel is fascinating but knowing what other people this is spam is a good idea)


      John Jones []

    • Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by coryking (104614) * on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:41AM (#27295137) Homepage Journal

      Because it is cheaper in terms of bandwidth and CPU to first reject email based on things other than content. For example, you can quickly weed out about 85% of all spam traffic by just rejecting assholes who use mail-formed HELO's or don't have proper DNS. Filtering based on simple things like that dont eat your CPU and are very effective*. You can also weed out a bunch of trash by simply blocking residentail IP addresses using Spamhaus**. Greylisting will nuke about 10% of the rest, leaving you with 5% for content filtering.

      If spammers buy "real servers" it means they aren't sending you bullshit headers with funky smelling DNS. It means they will eat into your CPU budget because you now have to fall back on content filtering. You dont want to do content filtering. You want to have spammers strike out because they aren't acting like real mail servers. 85% of spam comes from shit that acts nothing like a legit mail server.

      * If you your EHLO doesn't match your reverse DNS record, say HELO to a disconnect. If AOL and Yahoo are doing it, I'll do it too. Cause if you don't have it configured the way the big-boys like it, you have worse problems then me rejecting your email...

      ** whose list of residential IP's are provided by the carriers themselves, not a bunch of spiteful assholes like SPEW's. And if you insist on running some SMTP server at home, you can de-block yourself automatically by visiting their website. Plus I'm pretty sure the bigboys use this list as well, so again, if I block your email, AOL and Yahoo are blocking it too.

      • list of residential IP's are provided by the carriers themselves

        Where do I get this list?

        • by coryking (104614) *

          PBL IP address ranges are added and maintained by each network participating in the PBL project, working in conjunction with the Spamhaus PBL team, to help apply their outbound email policies.

          Spamhaus PBL []

          That list will block a good hunk of botnet spam before it ever gets past HELO.

  • Damn, I thought this was going to be about ways to construct a better snare for catching the aliens.

    So far my pit trap has only caught a few squirrels, but I'll get one of those little alien bastards one day. And then we'll see how he likes being anally probed. SQUEAL PIGGY!! YEEHAW!!
  • Final Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:00PM (#27293333) Journal

    The article also contains a list of spam houses' snail mail addresses in case you want to tour their sites.

    Can we "tour" those sites with molotov cocktails and pipe bombs?

    • Someone should tour them with a lawyer and sue the parasites. How much time & money is spent on spam blocking, they should repay it. It's shameful that they are all in the US too.
    • by Hillgiant (916436)

      Dust off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • by mgcarley (735176)

    Ethics aside, has anyone thought of hiring the RBN to SPAM/DDoS these people? (Just to annoy them)

    Fight fire with... Vodka... In Soviet Russia, fire fights you! (Sorry, had to be said).

  • and why is it different than greylisting? Why did these guys feel the need to make up a new name for the something they're copying from someone else?
  • this is an idiotic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Monday March 23, 2009 @07:31AM (#27296573) Homepage
    and unsustainable practice. just because jacksauce saw some AOL ips spam him with subscription notices doesnt mean the return addresses actually map to real people, or the intended effort was prankish in nature. it could simply have been designed to manually harvest emails, all part of a botnetted script.

    this guys out of touch. real people, the ones you hope for revenge, dont exist anymore in the spam world. if the problem becomes pronounced enough your spam filters should be able to generate a report of the offending subnets and allow you to blacklist them. problem solved.

Money cannot buy love, nor even friendship.