Section 0 : Introductory

Q020: Spam in the Mailing List?

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Spam in the Mailing List?

On Thu, Dec 23, 1999 at 06:25:05PM +1100, Aristedes Maniatis wrote:
>Am I the only one receiving spam through the celestial list server or is it
>a general problem. Today I received a mobile phone spam (headers follow).

Date: 24 December 1999 20:26
From: Bill Campbell <>
Subject: Re: flexfax: Spam to this list

We take extensive countermeasures against spam here, particularly with the mailing lists that we manage including about 2000 different regular expression patterns that are used on message headers and bodies to trap spam that gets by our RBL and tcp_wrappers blocks.

I haven't been reading the flexfax list for a while so I don't see spam has gotten to the list unless it either causes a message to bounce to me from a recipient's e-mail filters, or somebody sends me a message about it. In these cases I have manually removed the message from the mail queue to prevent it from further propagation to the list, and add suitable patterns and blocks to prevent that particular spam from being posted again.

Given that every day we block thousands of attempts from RPL'ed sites, and sites that come from domains with known open-relays, I think that the number of spam messages that get through to the mailing lists is minimal. We just added 20 new blocks last night resulting from messages that came into our with e-mail addresses that haven't been valid for years, and probably average 30 new blocks per day.

I think that the majority of the spam messages that get through are sent to instead of because SGI doesn't use the draconian blocking on IP addresses that we do. Messages that come into Celestial from SGI only get the taboo_header and taboo_body pattern tests which bounce suspect messages to me for approval before going to the lists.

>Who is responsible for this list and can it be closed to postings from
>non-subscribers at the very least?

It could be, but I don't think it would make a significant difference in the amount of spam, and can cause problems from people on the list who may send mail from different systems (which is a problem I have on some lists that I subscribe to since I often off-site when doing e-mail).

As for the suggestion that the message have Reply-To: to the list, that isn't going to happen while I'm managing the list. It's been my experience that this policy often results in replies that are meant to go only to the sender get posted to the lists so what is meant as a private reply goes to the world. I also think that it should require just a little bit of effort to post messages to about 700 people so that the sender has to think just a bit about whether it's of general interest.


What's with the double posting?

On Tue, Feb 08, 2000 at 11:09:04PM +0300, George Zeigler wrote:
> Hello,
> from some of you guys I end up receiving two of each of your post in
> my HylaFax folder? It's not the biggest problem in my life, but it is
> a bit annoying. Can it be changed?

We check the Message-Id fields of all incoming messages to the mailing list to intercept duplicates before they get to the list so any duplicates that get through would either be multiple postings with different Message-Id: fields, some failure of our MTA, or possibly a problem at your end.

I haven't seen any indications of problems on our end beyond the occassional spam that gets through to the list.


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