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Are SPAM Blacklists Unreasonable?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the this-isn't-proper-and-punctual-list-maintenance dept.

Spam 663

rlsnyder asks: "I'm the inadvertant co-administrator of e-mail a for company that relies pretty heavily on it for daily business (e.g. sending confirmations of financial transactions). At one point in the not-too-distant past, our server was an open relay. I admit I'm a sinner for letting it happen, and I'm ready to do my pennance. Given the relatively low volume of mail our server moved that did not originate from inside, I doubt I was a major contributor to the world of SPAM. In any event, we've been blacklisted on a number of sites. Some lists have reasonable policies, and we've since been removed. Other places are a little more arbitrary as to removal policies, and although I can prove we're not a relay, we're still listed." While I approve of the basic concept of SPAM Blacklists, there are dozens of SPAM blacklists out there who are real keen on adding open relays to the list, but not so keen on taking rehabilitated hosts out. I would posit that SPAM blacklists that are not properly maintained are a part of the problem, not the solution. What are your thoughts on the subject?

rlsynder continues: "Am I way off base here, or is this self-appointed mail police thing going in the wrong direction? Given that I can't reliably deliver e-mail to a number of places due to being blocked, I've got a big exposure. Is this making spam less of a problem, or are we trading one problem (SPAM) for another (the reliablility of proper maintenance of SPAM Blacklists)?

I could draw a bunch of analogies here, but isn't the bottom line that no one owns the internet e-mail system? I realize no one makes ISP's subscribe to the blacklists, but basically, I'm trying to move data from one point to another, and some machines in the middle are discriminating against my data because a corrected, perfectly legal system configuration error. How is this helping? Has SPAM really decreased universally thanks to these lists?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Not as unreasonable as the tolerance of Islam (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015673)

Fist Sport!

Re:Not as unreasonable as the tolerance of Islam (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015691)

Down with Zionism.

Re:Not as unreasonable as the tolerance of Islam (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015699)

No you may not present the ring, you clusterfuck

Real Pain (5, Insightful)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015680)

The company I work for had the same problem. As a result, we ended up having trouble getting e-mail to some of our customers. Thankfully, it was easy to get ourselves removed, but I think if people are going to use blacklists, they should also take the responsibility of keeping them maintained, both in additions and removals.

yeats.. (-1, Offtopic)

siraim (473110) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015739)

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams" - W.B. Yeats, The Cloths of Heaven

Re:Real Pain (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015782)

You are very correct, Accountability is the name of the game here.

I myself got into trouble with a blacklist, but if it was not for them, I would have been stuck with open relays. once I fixed it, I submitted my application for test. they found me clean and let the mail fly again.

I was very happy.

onepoint

(n/t) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015693)

Subscribing to blacklists did not help me. (5, Interesting)

Dick Click (166230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015694)

When I used to manage a mail server, I was asked to filer based on orbs. Not did this in no significant way limit the amount of spam entering the system, it became a huge administrative headache. Eventually, we stopped using the lists. I am sure there are likely better lists, but I simply prefer creating my own list, based on investigation into what's coming in.

Re:Subscribing to blacklists did not help me. (4, Insightful)

diamondc (241058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015763)

We use ordb and orbz here at work. Over a day or so it rejected about 500 emails.

Then we blocked all mail from mail servers who's IP numbers don't resolve. Now we have cut down on spam dramatically.. our root@ email account has gone from 200 spam emails a day to about 10

ObPeeve: SPAM(tm) vs uce spam (3, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015697)

Hormel Foods has stated they don't mind the use of the word 'spam' to refer to U.C.E., or junk mail, as long as people don't use the term spelled in all-capitals. Hormel owns the trademark on the meat product, SPAM. Given their more-reasonable-than-average position on this, let's respect their request?

Re:ObPeeve: SPAM(tm) vs uce spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015808)

Exactly who in the world is going to mistake a mystery-meat product like SPAM(tm) with a general concept of unsolicited commercial email? Additionally, even if people do mistake one for the other, how is this going to affect Hormel's financial situation? Seems to me this particular trademark spat is pretty dumb. I for one will continue to use "SPAM" or "spam" or even "SpAm" as I see fit.

Re:ObPeeve: SPAM(tm) vs uce spam (0, Offtopic)

Narril Duskwalker (530445) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015812)

hehe why isn't the above comment modded as funny?

Re:ObPeeve: SPAM(tm) vs uce spam (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015827)

Big Deal. Diid you know McDonald's owns a trademark on the phrase "Smile" ? (Yeah that's right. It used to be on their cups when they were running some "Smile your at McDonal's campaign or something) Kimberly-Clark owns the trademark on Kleenex, do you think the cops come after me whenever I call my no-name tissue "Kleenex"? The point is, just because they own a trademark doesn't mean you can't use the word in whatever context you like, it means that you can't sell products under that same mark in the same field, or otherwise portray your products to belonging to that mark when they don't.

Re:ObPeeve: SPAM(tm) vs uce spam (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015863)

if its no long er on their cups then its not in use anymore and thus they no longer own it. And I don't beleive they owned a trademark on the word smile, just the stylized(sp) way it was on their cups, I beleive it had a little smiley mouth under it which was part of the TM.

ObJoke: SPAM(tm) vs meat product (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015831)

Hormel owns the trademark on the meat product

Meat product? I thought we were talking about SPAM?

*rimshot*

Thank you very much, folks. I'll be here all week. Remember to tip your waitress!

This is an excellent topic (-1, Insightful)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015700)

The whole email blacklist thing could become a huge problem if not kept in check.

MOD THIS UP!!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015798)

Gee (Mr,Ms) Insightful, I never would have guessed that.

Its more of a pain in the neck (4, Informative)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015703)

I like the idea of something like MAPS-RBL, but I think many of them are bad hacks put together by guys who take the spam thing as a holy crusade. I don't really have a problem with that, its a free country, you do what you want.

However I fault ISPs for using them without understanding their policies. Many ISPs use these small-time black-holes because they don't want to use MAPRBL (I assume its a money thing at this point). And if you get listed, how do you know that you're listed? You don't until somebody calls somebody and says "I can't get mail through to you". There needs to be a better way.

And some sites, its not worth getting delisted. "www.joes.antispam.site.com" isn't worth the effort one way or the other.

That's a self-solving problem (mostly) (5, Insightful)

devphil (51341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015751)


Yep, that's the root of the problem: there are a number of for-free blacklists out there which are professionally managed. Those are the ones that should be used.

And as long as we publicly point out the blacklists that are being poorly run, people will stop using them, and switch to the good ones (like RBL, RSS, DUL, ORDB). The solution is not to ban or otherwise stop using blacklists, the solution is simply to (vocally) promote the ones which stay on top of the problem.

my thoughts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015704)

It is often said that MS is buying justice in the US. They spent 6.1 million dollars. Well, i say big fuckin deal. If the gov't could be bought so cheap, oracle could pony up 10 million dollars from their petty cash and have microsoft cut into 20 pieces. Think about that before you make your stupid comments.

Stay away from certain ISPs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015706)

Although I am not sure of a solution to the poster's problem, I must take this time to note that your company can lose business if you use certain ISPs.

A good example is Rackspace. Yeah, you've seen those ads and think Rackspace is full of good little geeks, but many spamlists block all of Rackspace's IP blocks from sending mail. They host many repeat offenders and do very little to combat spam.

This is just one example, though ... basically, even if you're not involved in SPAM, you never know if your IP has been used for mischief in the past, or if your ISP is a moron.

-d

Automate the maintenance (2, Interesting)

jACL (75401) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015708)

In this day and age, there's nothing stopping blacklist coordinators from automating the rehabilitation process: Select your host and click 'Check me now!' Passing verification removes one's host from the list.

Re:Automate the maintenance (2, Insightful)

Sir Spank-o-tron (18193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015766)

1. turn off open relay.
2. click 'check me now'
3. pass check.
4. turn on open relay.
5. spam as usual.
6. rinse repeat.
7. automate process

Re:Automate the maintenance (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015811)

Yeah, some sites do just that.

Many of these lists have a good memory, and getting RE-listed means the ISP will have a harder time getting delisted again - assuming they can even get delisted.

Re:Automate the maintenance (2, Insightful)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015833)

And if the database flags the company as a repeat offender the process is locked for them, requiring actual human intervention. Easy to write something like this.

Max

Re:Automate the maintenance (4, Insightful)

Tyrall (191862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015852)

Nope, the usual way to do it is:
1. Filter the open relay checker's IP.
2. Click 'check me now'.
3. Spam as usual.

This is a retarded, but effective way of avoiding the automatic blacklist generators.
You'll still get on a lot of the automatic+human checkers like MAPS' open relay list.

No. Deal with it. (2, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015711)

No, they're not unreasonable.

You wanna live in a crack house? Don't go whining to the cops when you can't get a pizza delivered at midnight.

You wanna get bandwidth with a company that provides services to spammers and relocates spammers to IP addresses to avoid blocking of single IP addresses, don't come whining to /. when the rest of the world wants nothing to do with your ISP.

If someone spams me, I block the IP address. If the ISP relocates the spammer to another IP address in the same netspace, I say "fuck it", and block the /24. Or the /16, if need be.

Don't like living in a crack house? Move.

How to avoid SPEWS black-listings (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015734)

We have had customers find themselves on SPEWS. We just set up a smart host on a colo and have thier mail server direct all outgoing mail thru the colo. This way, the non-spammer does not have to re-locate and SPEWS has to do their own dirty work.

Re:How to avoid SPEWS black-listings (1)

prog-guru (129751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015787)

Won't they just blacklist your smarthost?

Remeber, when you relay mail for somebody you are relaying mail for everybody they relay mail for.

Re:How to avoid SPEWS black-listings (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015845)

Not is there is no spam coming from it. :) I check to see if the customer is a spammer and if they are running a open relay. If they are a spammer, I tell them to fuck off. If they have an open relay, I fix it. If they are none of the above, I send them thru a colo.

Re:How to avoid SPEWS black-listings (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015837)

> We have had customers find themselves on SPEWS. We just set up a smart host on a colo and have thier mail server direct all outgoing mail thru the colo. This way, the non-spammer does not have to re-locate and SPEWS has to do their own dirty work.

Disclaimer: I am not SPEWS. I don't know who SPEWS is. If I did, I'd buy them a beer.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with that. Assuming you're the ISP, it still requires some effort on your part, thereby raising your costs of doing business with the spammers. But if I understand you correctly -- as you describe it, you're not moving the spammer around to evade the block. So SPEWS can continue to block the spam, and your non-spamming customers' concerns are also answered. (That is, the legitimate customers' email now comes from an unaffected range at the other host, so it's not subject to a block.)

I assume this is what you're talking about, otherwise (i.e. sending the spammer's mail through the smarthost/colo) SPEWS would just block the host at the colo. (Of course, that might not be your problem, it'd be the problem of whoever provided bandwidth to the colo - but if the spam's coming from there, it's the colo provider's problem too ;-)

Re:No. Deal with it. (3, Insightful)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015762)

What if it used to be a crack house, but the neighborhood cleaned up and was safe?

Re:No. Deal with it. (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015874)

> What if it used to be a crack house, but the neighborhood cleaned up and was safe?

A good point. That's why I'd buy SPEWS a beer.

The system appears to be automated -- if the blocked host stops sending spam for a long enough period of time, SPEWS appears to unblock it.

If, on the other hand, the spam continues to issue from the blocked host, SPEWS appears not to unblock it.

From what I've read in news.admin.net-abuse.email, the length of time for which a provider remains in SPEWS appears to be proportional to the length of time the provider ignored abuse complaints.

Contrast this with a privately-run blocklist (e.g. my "fsck it, block the /24".) I can't be bothered to check if the /24 has cleaned up. There are IP address ranges all the way back to the days of Cyberpromo that I haven't been bothered to unblock.

The advantage of SPEWS and its ilk is that 1000 systems can be unblocked. The problem with the blocklist on my own system is that I can rarely be bothered to unblock it.

(In crackhouse terms, SPEWS reads police blotters, and if it stops seeing crime in a certain area, allows pizza delivery. I'm the crusty old Italian guy who says "No, you can't deliver to 48th street, it's a war zone, at least, it was the last time I tried to deliver a pie there sometime in 1996!")

Re:No. Deal with it. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015778)

Crack house? A bit harsh considering the guy simply had an open relay which he then fixed.

You really think this is a valid analogy? Go spend a night in one, then go back to our cushy world of sysadmin stuff.

Didn't think so.

I'm betting he was asked to install a server - prolly a turnkey type - did so, and watched it chug along for a good long time before someone found out it was open and started using it.

More like finding a crackhead in your garage, eh?

Gee, ya think maybe he missed the giant neon sticker that came with the mailserver manual that said "your box is an open relay by default. fix that. tag - you're it!" Oh, right - that's because there is no such sticker.

If they maintain the lists, they should *maintain* them, not just treat them like a brick wall and simply pile up the addresses and leave it at that. My experience with orbz is that they don't pay attention to the people in the middle - I've been there.

Just takes a little bit of hard work, and this guy's apparently willing to do his part.

Lighten up and tackle the appropriate problem.

--Jake

Re:No. Deal with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015809)

I don't want to live in a crackhouse, but I don't want to live in a cave either.

Spammers are relentless in searching for open relays. One misconfiguration and you're blacklisted.

Goodness, we weren't even open for 30 mins, but 3 months later and we are still on several blacklists (after numerous mails begging them to test us and remove us)

This isn't rocket science. Admins need to be as diligent removing blocks as they are at placing them.

Re:No. Deal with it. (3, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015829)

Try actually reading the question. The complaint is not about blacklists in general, but rather about poorly administered blacklists.

Re:No. Deal with it. (2, Insightful)

xee (128376) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015848)

Your logic is... fuzzy.

First of all, your crack-house metaphor is absurd. Secondly, your "if you dont like it, move" mentality is so amazingly worthless, I'm surprised i'm even taking the time to point it out.

If you don't like it, try to make it better.

I've been e-mailing the admins of those lists,... (4, Funny)

5.25" Floppy (79917) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015712)

... but dammit, they just don't seem to be getting my e-mail! I'm going to start having all my friends send them a few mails as well... *sigh*

Naughty in his sight (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015721)

At one point in the not-too-distant past, our server was an open relay. I admit I'm a sinner for letting it happen, and I'm ready to do my pennance.

...and the number of counting shall be three...

if you got listed then you were major (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015723)

major enough to merit listing.
Keep petitioning to be removed -meanwhile-
let this be a warning for the rest of you.

Re:if you got listed then you were major (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015760)

It may be easier to just get a new domain or IP address, yes, no?

Re:if you got listed then you were major (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015854)

That depends entirly on what blacklist we are talking about.

Our mail relay boxen were listed in orbs for a long time. We were never a major spam source, in fact, our relays were open (and stayed open because of political reasons, took us a while to get them shut down... now we have authenticated smtp and life is good)

The fact is, we got on the orbs list not because we were a spam source, but because we could have been. We were open if (and only if) you forged your from address as being from our domain. Yea...it was dumb - but believe it or not, noone spammed through us!

In fact (I said political process right?) we had permission to shut down relaying permanantly if we got abused - we were waiting for it! It never happened. (eventually, we finnally got it shut down without abuse but... it took time)

So no... bein glisted on a blacklist doesn't mean you are a spam source, unless it is one of the better blacklists. SOme blacklists will list you because you could be one. (One of the orbs tests that caught a machine of ours was an obscure uucp test that, yes meant we were open, but again.... no real spammers were actually using)

all in all I liked orbs, I think that active testing and notification was good... it helped us fix some of the stuff we didn't know about... but in the end, it wasn't a very good blacklist to block mail by because it listed alot of places that just wetren't spam sources (like us).

-Steve

Mail servers are private property (5, Insightful)

Tyrall (191862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015724)

From the article: I could draw a bunch of analogies here, but isn't the bottom line that no one owns the internet e-mail system?
This is a fallacy that continues to be propagated. I own my own mail server. The company I work for owns its mail servers. We can both decide who we want to allow to send mail to our users.

At work, we use two open relay lists; ORDB [ordb.org] and ORBZ [orbz.org] . Nobody forces us to use them; it's our server cluster, and our choice.
The reason we use those two systems, however, is due to the reasons pointed out in the article. Some blacklists are far too easy to get onto, or hosts are arbitrarily added by humans. The only way to get onto either of those lists is to be an open relay. The only way off is to be automatically retested and found to not be an open relay.

Re:Mail servers are private property (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015795)

Email servers are private property, but if a transit ISP subscribes to MAPS' RBL using BGP, that block gets null routed. This causes major outages for smaller ISP's.

No decrease noticed on my part (3, Insightful)

fishybell (516991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015725)

I've had my e-mail address at hotmail for many years, and until the last year or so haven't taken any precautionary measures to reduce my spam intake. As a result of this, that address receives hundreds of spam messages daily (thank god for filters).
I've only noticed that spam is getting harder to filter because of the blacklists. No longer are they all coming from a dozen or so servers, but instead hundreds.

More fuel for this fire (1)

ellesar1 (242470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015730)

I agree that these blacklists can be annoying. I could be wrong, but my alma mater's mail server which I use, byu.edu, seems to be blacklisted by earthlink.com and maybe a few others. But, when I send messages, I never get a response that these are denied. I send an email, and it doesn't get there, no errors or anything. I was doing some ebay business and I had to use a free internet email site with 4 pop-ups per page load, just to communicate with others. Really annoying. Anyone have any insight into the blacklist mess, perhaps how one can test it or find out?

Re:More fuel for this fire (1)

schon (31600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015768)

I send an email, and it doesn't get there, no errors or anything.

If this happens, then your mail server, or your mail client is misconfigured.

A site that operates a blacklist will reject the mail from the beginning - it isn't going to waste resources accepting an email, then deliver it to /dev/null. (Or, if it does, the mail admin needs his/her head examined.)

If you don't get a bounce message, then either your mail server is screwed (not delivering a bounce message), or your mail program is screwed (maybe you have the wrong email address in it?)

Re:More fuel for this fire (1)

prog-guru (129751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015879)

If you are blacklisted with DNSBL, you can do an DNS query to see if you are listed. If your servers IP is 1.2.3.4, and the list you think you are on is my.rbl.com, you can do:

dig 4.3.2.1.my.rbl.com

If it comes back with an A record that says 127.0.0.2, you are blacklisted by my.rbl.com.

Please list your domain. (3, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015731)

Unfortunately you are on my personal spam blacklist. I will consider removing you in return for a fee that will be calculated based on the amount of my time you wasted by allowing yourself to be used as a tool of the spam distributors. And I want you to grovel too.

P. S. And how come I never got those pics of Teen Sara27 XXX 18th birthday?

ORDB.org (4, Informative)

paranoidia (472028) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015736)

ordb.org [ordb.org] is a great site for this. They are very professional with both addition of servers, and subtraction of them. My mail server was an open relay for a time till I got an email from them saying that I was blacklisted. I quickly fixed the server, and submitted that my site be checked again, the next day I was taken off their lists, very easy. They run about 20 tests connecting to your server and sending e-mails for the most common way of sending spam. Also, as they say in their faq that they reload their lists every hour to get servers off it quickly. Well done!

Blacklist sites (5, Interesting)

schon (31600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015740)

OK, you've fixed your mail relay(s)..

This is a good thing - and what every blacklist's ultimate goal is.

Speaking as a mail server admin, I'd be interested to know which lists are not removing you - so that I can make sure I'm not using them.

Seriously - letting people know about this is the best way to get what you want. If your site is not a relay, any blacklist maintainer is doing their users a disservice by listing you.

As a mail admin, I'd want to know.

Alternatively, you could do the American thing and threaten a lawsuit - most blacklist operators are immune from libel charges because they're just listing people who operate open relays (truth is defense against libel) - if you're not an open relay, then you've got a good case for libel: they're deliberately publishing false information to hurt your business.

Sanity needs to prevail here (1, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015741)

I couldn't agree more. Spam blacklists can be a useful tool, except for the fact that the majority of blacklist providers have a "one strike and you're out" policy with regard to relays. The "punishment" of being put on a blacklist has become the end, not the means to getting the open relay turned off, which is what it should be.

The maintainers of these lists need to lose the judge/jury/executioner attitude and develop a bit of responsibility. These lists need to be _maintained_, not just added to. It's a trivial matter to automate the process of checking whether the sites listed in a blacklist are actually running an open relay. Hell, the spammers can do it, why can't the people who maintain these lists? It's worse than blackmail, because you can't even pay to get yourself off some of them.

Cure as bad as the illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015744)

I hate spam. But I'm not fond of the blacklisting either. People who have limited control over what is going on are getting hurt. Alice might be with ISP "A". Alice didn't know, but ISP "A" isn't aggressive enough fighting spam for someone's taste. She might not have a lot of choices in ISPs in her area, or she might be locked into a contract for her DSL. Maybe she isn't all that technical, and just uses the ISP that nice kid next door uses. She wanted to talk to Bob over at ISP "B". ISP "B" hates spam and signs up for a blacklist. Bob is also limited in choices/in a contract/clueless. Why should Alice and Bob be hurt? I doubt ISPs "A" or "B" are going to care what Alice or Bob say, even if they are able to switch providers.

Re:Cure as bad as the illness (2, Interesting)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015861)

You are referring to what is called collatereal
damage.

With lists like SPEWS, collateral damage is inevitable - no one who uses SPEWS is unaware of this.

Alice isn't SOL, however...

1: She can always get an account on Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.

2: She should leave her ISP if at all possible. So long as she's at an ISP that is part of the spam problem, all she's doing is indirectly supporting spam. When she DOES leave, she should tell the ISP the reason she's leaving is due to them supporting spammers and getting blacklisted. When an ISP starts losing customers due to spam, maybe they'll change their tune - or go out of business - their choice. Either way, the result will be one less spam-friendly ISP in the world.

Is this all a bit cruel? Perhaps. But remember, there is *nothing* that says I, as an ISP, *must* accept email from you.

Email virus as spam (2)

djtrainwreck (266541) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015749)

I work for an ISP. We were blacklisted because of internet users infected with microsoft email viruses.

Some filters require the recipient to flag your email as spam, then when a certain threshold is hit you are blacklisted.

Since only messages with title "Hahahaha" were being sent to a specific domain, we exceeded the threshhold and became blacklisted.

It would be nice to filter all of our email, but we do not have the resources or can take the responsiblity to filter email content.

shucks.

Umh, no... (2, Interesting)

OneFix (18661) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015750)

Blacklists are perfectly reasonable.

1) You have to prove that you weren't doing the spamming. (this is good)

2) You also have a "waiting period" to be removed from these lists. (this is also good)

The fact that you let your server become an open relay (configuration error or not) is bad. Think of it as your "slap on the wrist" for allowing it to happen.

Overall, this is a good thing. I bet you will make sure that your servers are secured properly from now on.

Also a GoodThing (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015792)

Let it serve as a warning to admins who don't take this thing seriously, because of neglect or lack of support by supervisors.

Back in the day, I tried to email a resume to a credit union and found my email bounced even getting to them, because their open relay had been abused. It no doubt made doing business very difficult for them.

This of course is no real help to anyone who brings in a contractor to set things up and leaves the door open. Maybe worth wording into a contract that contractor is responsible for certain damages due to oversight. I know contractors are advised to carry insurance, I wonder how this example would play out.

What's your definition of "reasonable"? (2)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015796)

But if the people who are quick to blacklist servers aren't at all in a hurry to de-blacklist servers which have 'learned the error of their ways', it creates a huge amount of resentment.

Additionally, as someone else pointed out, those list maintainers are doing a disservice to those who use their blacklists, because the validity of the data is called into question. Yes, a.b.c.d WAS an open relay 6 months ago. It is not anymore, and hasn't been for over 5 months. To continue to list that IP as an open relay when it's not is simply wrong, and is anything BUT "perfectly reasonable".

"Reason" would dictate that once a server is not an open relay it would be removed. The poster was complaining about lists they can't seem to get removed from.

Re:Umh, no... (1)

Grax (529699) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015802)

Open relay is not just that cut and dried. I would never config my mail server to relay just any message that arrived but I have made the mistake of allowing it to relay in certain predictable instances.

That is why I am against the waiting period.

Kinda hard to "prove" I wasn't doing the spamming. I couldn't "prove" that I'm not Michael Jordan either.

Re:Umh, no... (1)

aengblom (123492) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015842)

Think of it as your "slap on the wrist" for allowing it to happen.

The problem here is that this is more than a slap on the list for the company. E-mail is a "mission critical" function for many companies. Especially ones such as this that send out newsletters etc. to clients. Imagine if a company lost access to the phone company because of an improperly connected phone or an employee that started playing around where he wasn't supposed to. Discipline the employee, properly configure the system and the phone should work. The same needs to go for e-mail.

Shout out for SpamAssassin (5, Informative)

dietz (553239) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015752)

I'd just like to give some props for SpamAssassin [sourceforge.net] .

If you haven't heard of it, it's an elegant system that assigns a weight to each email message based on hundreds of different tests, and if the email scores over 5 (configurable), it is marked as spam.

One of the nice things about it that is it uses most of the email blacklists, but they're only worth ~2 points, so being in a blacklist alone isn't enough to kill a message. That's good for those blacklists that throw far too many people in that don't belong (osirusoft). It also uses razor, but that is only worth three points, so if someone is piping bugtraq to razor-report (that happened for a while) you won't lose all that email.

There's a really interesting set of tests (it's fun to read them) each with an obscure set of points including:
HTML with a non-white bgcolor (1.2)
Claims conformance to obscure spam law (1.0)
HTML mail with no text portion (3.33)
Various spam phrases (various points depending on how many "hits" there are)
Subject ends in an exclamation point (0.5)

The points have apparently been calculated using some program to give the best accuracy.

Anyway, SpamAssassin is the best of the spam removal programs I've seen. Give it a shot!

Re: Exclamation marks (3, Informative)

stu72 (96650) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015805)

I ran a simple procmail filter for a while, and I was astounded how much spam I could nuke by filtering based on subject line punctation. Some of my triggers:

more than 2 exclamation marks
more than 2 dollar signs
All caps

etc etc.

Worked pretty well, for its simplicity.

Yes and no (2, Insightful)

Grax (529699) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015754)

Being added to a blacklist without being informed of it is wrong. I was added to a blacklist due to an oversight in my mail config. We were not generally an open relay but in specific instances we were.

Any time that happens an email should be sent to postmaster@(reverse dns of mail server IP address) to inform them of the action being taken and the specifics of their openness. Just "you are running an open relay" is insufficient.

Also the ability to quickly remove the address from the blacklist when the other mail admin repairs the problem is important.

I don't particularly like blacklists but something must be done to discourage open relays and for now they are the only option.

Easier solution (2)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015758)

Wouldn't it just be a lot simple if the mail servers, when they receive a connection from an smtp server to deliver mail, make another connection back to the smtp server on port 25. If the connection can be made, then it means that it's an open port, and therefore the mail is rejected? Wouldn't this be a sort of "dynamic blacklist"? That way, mail from an open port is never accepted.

Re:Easier solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015775)

So you only want mail from people you can't reply to?

I can see why this posting is Score 2

Re:Easier solution (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015804)

Huh? I'm confused. I was trying to come up with a way of automatically rejecting mail from open servers.

Re:Easier solution (2)

Shiny Metal S. (544229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015800)

Wouldn't it just be a lot simple if the mail servers, when they receive a connection from an smtp server to deliver mail, make another connection back to the smtp server on port 25. If the connection can be made, then it means that it's an open port, and therefore the mail is rejected?
It means that the port is open (you can't have smtp server with smtp port closed), but it doesn't mean that it's an open relay. You'd have to make an smtp transaction.

Re:Easier solution (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015824)

Um. That would list all mail servers, sparky. :) I think you are trying to say that your mail server should perform an open relay test on any IP that is connecting to your mail server. This would work but, it will be quite a performance hit on your mail-server (doing that kind of check is gonna take a lot of time) and you won't catch the open proxies or web-forms that spammers are starting to abuse.

Re:Easier solution (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015858)

Um. That would list all mail servers, sparky. :) I think you are trying to say that your mail server should perform an open relay test on any IP that is connecting to your mail server.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to say.

This would work but, it will be quite a performance hit on your mail-server (doing that kind of check is gonna take a lot of time) and you won't catch the open proxies or web-forms that spammers are starting to abuse.

Well, considering how little email I get in a day, I don't see how it could be a real problem. Plus, it could cache entries that have passed the test, so that email from mailing lists would only be tested once (per day/week/whatever).

And it should catch web forms, also, because web forms are just front-ends to smtp servers, aren't they?

Hmmm... I wonder if it's possible to write a script that scans the header of every email that arrives, does an open relay test on the sending IP, and if it fails, discard the email?

What's an open proxy?

Re:Easier solution (1)

Tyrall (191862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015826)

You don't seem to understand how SMTP works. I would hope that the server connecting to me was listening on port 25, as that indicates it is an SMTP server itself.

If it's NOT listening on port 25, I'd be more likely to ignore it than if it were, as that might indicate a spammer sending mail direct-to-server.

Open and secure relays would both respond to port 25 connections. Correctly secured relays would reject any message you tried to send through their mail server to another destination, whilst still accepting mail for local users (if it's not just an outgoing relay).

It's possible to connect to the mail server for the address supplied and verify that the user exists, but in most cases, due to server configuration, that would require actually sending a message (thus putting you at risk of getting into a bizarre authentication loop).

It would also seriously add to the overhead of sending a message, something larger sites would not be able to cope with.

Re:Easier solution (1)

dsouth (241949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015847)

If your message means what I think it does, the answer is no.

An open SMTP port is an entirely different thing from an open mail relay. The first means that a host will (probably) be able to recieve mail. The second means that the host will recieve mail and then send it off to another host. The mechanism you are proposing would prevent your host from receving mail from any host that could also recieve mail without discriminating between open relays and correctly configured mail servers.

The sendmail homepage [sendmail.org] has more info on how SMTP functions as well as how to block relay.

is as easy as... (1)

Hooya (518216) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015765)

since you are "ready to do my pennance.", all you need to do is bring up another host with a different name. as much as you can come up with analogies, so can i. one is: if you're a child molestor you're labeled for life. notin' you can do 'bout it.

When you set up a mail server... (2)

Shiny Metal S. (544229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015771)

When you set up a mail server, never EVER write:
host_accept_relay = localhost:192.168.1.0/2
when what you want is
host_accept_relay = localhost:192.168.1.0/30
It took me ten long hours to figure out that I allowed 1/4 of the whole Earth to use my relay, when I wanted 4 computers on a private network. And it was probably the worst 1/4 of the Earth, every C-class network... It was a long day which I will never forget. In this ten hours I read more about smtp than ever before... So remember kids, don't do this at home!

Indeed, no one owns the internet mail system (1)

JohanV (536228) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015773)

And since nobody owns it, individual administrators/companies get to handle it the way they want. Without anybody being able to claim he has a God given right to deliver email to their systems (or even route it through them).

It is not the choice of blacklist maintainers to block you. It is the choice of a mail admin who is fed up with spam to try to block open relays. For that, he informs himself at a blacklist maintainer, but he still makes the decision himself. And currently, the credibility of that information apparently is high enough to warrant him blocking your access.

Personally, I wouldn't use a blacklist that doesn't have a good mechanism for administrators to get themselves of that list. But again, that is my choice. Somebody else may chooce to disallow you access to his system, because it is HIS system.

even more extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015774)

These days if you want to screw up somebody, you just find some open relays and send some junk mails saing to visit his domain. It doesn't take too much to convince its ISP to shut its domain down even if there is no evidence that he was the person that sent the spam.
And that is because the spammers are so agresive these days, people does not distinguish them anymore from inocent guys.

Protecting my server, thank you very much (5, Informative)

alansz (142137) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015776)

DNS-based blacklists are not your problem. There are no more than a dozen that are really widely used (some orbs spinoffs like http://www.ordb.org and http://www.orbz.org, the MAPS ones if you're willing to pay (or can get a hobby contract) at http://www.mail-abuse.org, and the collection at http://relays.osirusoft.com that includes open relays, spamhaus, and SPEWS. All of these systems have clearly-published listing policies and are actively maintained and if you're blocked by one of them, you'll likely get out sooner or later once you're clean. (In some cases, you can have them automatically retest you). Plenty of mail admins find that using the information on these sites to protect their mail servers from spam is highly effective.

Your problem is twofold. First, while you've cleaned up your open relay, plenty of spammers and spam-friendly hosts make the same claim and lie (Rule #1: Spammers lie). So you may have to be patient.

More importantly, your server ip may now be sitting in hundreds of private blacklists of mail servers whose admins don't like to use the centralized lists, and just reject/blackhole spammers on their own. It is the presence of well-trusted centralized blacklist services that gives you even the hope of ever having decent communication, because without them, you'd get into a thousand tiny blacklists and never get out.

(P.S. Note that if you're checking your status using the rblcheck tool at http://relays.osirusoft.com, it will tell you about a lot of blacklists that are not intended to be publicly used and not part of the usual osirusoft dnsbl, as well...)

Black lists probably work (3, Interesting)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015783)

The real question is did you only close down the open relay because of the black list? If that is the case then the black list did the job.

Re:Black lists probably work (2)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015869)

But if you're not taken off the list afterwards, then there's no reason not to run an open relay - you're already screwed - and so is everyone else who may be saddled with your IP address at a later date. Part one is fixing the problem - part two is revoking the punishment.

I don't see the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015784)

If it was painless for a site to become an open relay and then they could just stop and say "I'll play nice now, take me off the blacklist" there would be no real penality at all for running an open relay and even more spam than there already is. Sounds to me like the system is working. When you finally get things cleared up you will be more careful and other sites might learn not to run an open realy from your experience, rather than learn there are no real consequences.

My take on all this (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015789)

My ISP won't subscribe to any lists, nor will they do any blocking of any email. Fortunatly, they don't have a problem with me setting up my own filters with procmail...

Some blacklists, I agree, are just overly sensitive. My ISP got mailed about being listed due to a resolved incident *6 months old* regarding the formail.* exploit. The list's webpage basically said "we might delist you, maybe not, you've already shown yourself to be a poor admin once, why should we give you another chance."

Sites/lists like that tarnish the whole anti-spam movement in my opinion. (and, IMHO, those who would use such a list probably isn't worth talking to anyways...)

I do like lists like SPEWS and MAPS-RBL since they're designed to get people to STOP providing spam services, albeit through negative re-enforcement.

As for the whole idea of shared lists, better to be put onto a list like MAPS or SPEWS, than to end up on 100s (or 1000s) of private lists maintained by admins around the world. Unlike the larger lists, an independent admin isn't likely to remember that he's started blocking an IP range after he stop seeing spam from it.

As it stands, I very much doubt large chunks of Asia will ever be allowed to send email to The West ever again, unless they get new IP#s and change their TLD... For instance, it's going to take an awful lot of convincing before I'll start accepting packets from *.cn again...

RBL can be useful... (3, Interesting)

dtdns (559328) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015790)

I agree that some BL's are not properly managed. The old ORBS system was a perfect example of this. They would add you if you were an open relay, but getting OUT of the database was pretty much impossible if the guy that ran it didn't like you or your attitude toward his "service".

One of my mail servers ended up on ORBZ as well as ORDB because I had made a mistake in the configuration, and I corrected it and was promptly removed after submitting a re-test request.

I now employ the use of RBL on my own servers, but I will only use those services which will remove "fixed" servers using an automated testing system that works properly. ORDB, ORBZ and Osirisoft's RBL's tend to be the best AFAIK. I have found that by using these systems, the level of SPAM that my users and I receive has dropped to a point where it's not entirely annoying or time-consuming to deal with it anymore.

One RBL that I stay away from using is the one operated by SpamCop (bl.spamcop.com). It's a great idea, but it ends up blocking out too much "real" e-mail as well, esp from the larger ISP's like Comcast, etc.

The public blacklists aren't all... (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015793)

Be thankful there are public blacklists. Even the ones that aren't maintained - if, indeed, there are any, as opposed to ones that are maintained by people whose standards for removal are tight - are comparatively easy to get out of, and you know which ones they are.


You should be worrying about the private blacklists, like the one I maintain for my host. When I get spam, I drop that host in the blacklist, and they never, ever, ever get out. Multiply my system by thousands.


Spam is destroying the usefulness of email. People are being forced to take extreme measures to fight it. Don't like those measures? Don't spam, and don't run an open relay, and don't help spammers, in the first place.

one thing (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015794)

I think as an internet community we must be firm with spam, and therefore I can totally understand the blacklist view. Not even contemporary 'spaminators' stop all spam, and although it's just a little extra email, I think most people would agree it's one of the worst aspects of cyberlife.

Going to get far worse before it gets better. (5, Insightful)

Thagg (9904) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015797)

rlsnyder asks Has SPAM really decreased universally thanks to these lists? Well, it is hard to say. Spam has increased monotonically since its inception, and it continues to grow. It is possible that blacklists have helped lower the rate of growth.

What blacklists really do is get the attention of sysadmins, and get them to take the problem seriously. I, like rlsnyder, was victimized in the same way -- our mail server was an open relay, we forwarded some spam, and got blacklisted. It took me a week or so to get it straightened out, and in the process I learned quite a bit about the UCE problem. rlsnyder similarly has been enriched by the experience, whether he agrees to that at this point or not.

One always has the option of sending mail from one of the many free mail systems. If your mail is blocked while your case is being reviewed, then send it from hotmail or someplace like that. That's what we did. In took about a week for the last of the spam reporting services to delist our site, and while it was inconvenient, it wasn't devastating. It won't be for rlsnyder, either, I trust.

The big problem is that there is nothing to stop the spammers. People who relay mail through unsuspecting companies are already criminals, they will not be dissuaded by laws. The only thing that the anti-spam community can do is to try to put a finger in all 2^32 holes in the dike, and the only way to do that is to educate people. The blacklists are that education program

thad

I know most don't agree but.... (0, Flamebait)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015806)

I see it like this:

Think of it as a type of "Megan's Law". If you're a sex offender, then you're put on the list. I don't care if you reformed or not, you're still on the list for everyone to know.

Now here you are. A verified spammer (or cause of my daily headaches, i.e. spam). So now you're blacklisted and partially fscked... And back to being your fault?
You got what you deserve.

Whether or not blacklists are a good idea? Well, that can be questionable because DNS #'s do and will change over time. Blacklists are not completely kept up.... Maybe someone on slashdot has the answer so keep checking...

Kinda funny... (1)

ruvreve (216004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015817)

At a certain midwest university lets call it Boiler University they use to have an open relay on the university-wide mail server. On the CS mail server for this certain university they obtained and implemented a blacklist for 'SPAM'. As it turns out the main university server was blacklisted and thus the CS server started rejecting all mail from the main university server. Talk about one hell of a troubleshooting task.

Blocking lists pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015818)

We got blacklisted by ORBS. Took over 24 hours to get off the list despite the problem being fixed in 10 minutes.

We're a business that gets email from customers. A blocking list potentially blocks valid email from customers so we have chosen to live with the spam than risk using a blocking list. The blocking lists are probably OK for personal use.

Anyone recall the debate over web filtering software, and that no-one could be certain what sites were being blocked?

Getting blacklisted is just lots of fun... (2)

mttlg (174815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015819)

I recently discovered that any e-mail I sent with the return address listed here (and elsewhere on the web) will not get through to AOL. There's no notice of this of course, so I just never got responses from people on AOL. This had nothing to do with my mail server (I tested this with multiple mail servers and return addresses), it was completely based on the Reply-To header - changing the reply to address fixed the problem. Based on my experience, I see two main problems with blacklists:

Without notice that your message was rejected, it seems like the message is getting through, but the recipient is unwilling or unable to respond. This is a real pain with eBay, especially with Paypal payments (the sellers apparently never noticed that money had magically appeared in their accounts unless they received an e-mail notice).

Basing the filter on the Reply-To header is rather stupid, because it can easily be changed or forged. Spammers can simply spam under your address until it gets blacklisted, then move on to another, leaving you screwed. Sure it is simple to just change your return address, but how do you know that you have to if nobody tells you that you're blacklisted?

How to fix this mess. (2)

strredwolf (532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015825)

From what I see, the person is in the SPEWS DNS blocklist, an advizory list. However, it looks like he gets productivity from a known spam services provider (such as Global Crossing, Verio, Sprint, and Exodus to name a few).

The person needs to contact their ISP with a lawyer on hand and give them a deadline -- if they don't remove their spammers, the person's company will sue for breech of contract and reclaim the cost of moving to a clean provider.

We need a Consumer Reports site for blacklists (2, Interesting)

beej (82035) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015830)

That is, what if there was a trusted entity that ranked blacklists based on their accuracy? No one would use a list that was 50% accurate when there was another that was 95% accurate.

Blacklist maintainers would naturally want to be at the top, and this would foster competition and generate better more accurate lists.

Trust, but Verify (2, Interesting)

eaolson (153849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015832)

After lurking on news.admin.net-abuse.email for a while, I've seen a lot of mail admins post asking to have their servers un-blacklisted because they've "cleaned up their act" only to have it pointed out to them that they are still hosting spammers.

Perhaps you could tell us where you have been blacklisted and what IPs are listed so we can see for ourselves the veracity of your statement?

Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015834)

Are they a bad idea? From who's point of view?

As an administrator, I think it's a bad idea for ME to use a spam blacklist. Why? For the reasons you specified.

Do I think it's bad for people to use blacklists? No. IT's their choice.. and you cannot force them to accept your mail.

Just as I can block your mail for whatever reason I like.

too bad... (1)

tymesf (231615) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015840)

You were a moron. Accept it, fix your mailer, and contact the anti-spam registries. Nobody ever claimed they were perfect. Nobody ever claimed there isn't a period of time during which previously ignorant admins' mail servers' users are punished. People use them because spam has become unbearable and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

What about customer spammers? (1)

wraithgar (317805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015844)

Yeah, but what happens when it's a stupid customer who gets your mail server on a blackhole list, because they stupidly installed Exchange Server, which relays mail through YOUR server. They are on your IP, so your mail server lets them through.
Before you know it, you're on a blackhole list. You call the customer, get it fixed, and then find getting off of those lists is impossible... Seems the whole "slap on the hand" principle falls apart here, cause you weren't the one w/ the open relay..

Customers are a necessary evil of being an ISP.

The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3015851)

Why are you guys getting on these lists in the first place? It is a disgrace in this day and age to expose an open relay to the internet. This happens in a 'financial insitution'? Problems with blacklists aside, the real problem lies with everybody thinking they are fit to be admins and the managers not being able to pick the right people for these jobs. If e-mail connectivity is _that_ critical you can certainly mopve the server to a different IP in your block or arrange for an upstream smart relay that isn't black listed. Oh I forgot, that requires actually understanding what you are doing and we cannot have that -- reading slashdot religiously is the only qualification necessary for admining.

Understanding? Does that require GNOME?

I think it will come dow to legal responsibility (1)

Tri0de (182282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015857)

IMHO, at some point there will be legal liability affixed on poorly managed blackhole lists. Negligence will be real hard to prove against a well run list, and of course no ISP is required to use any particular blackhole list, but just creating such a list and then NOT MAINTAINING it is bad karma at the least and potential libel.

Talk to abuse.net (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015865)

I inherited an open relay when I came to work for a small company. I never got blacklisted, though once upon a time I got a warning message from ORBL that I was an open relay...I fixed that right away.

I suggest you read through the spamtools mailing list archive at abuse.net [abuse.net] , or better yet join the mailing list. I'm sure that you will have more success getting de-blacklisted if you communicate with some of the blacklisters who are on that mailing list.

Realize that there is a huge variety of opinion regarding spam, SPAM, UCE, UBE, and so on. Some people like to /dev/null incoming hotmail.com and yahoo.com because they're fed up with the spam. There are people who will blacklist you if you don't have an abuse@yourdomain.com account set up. It is ultimately up to the mail admin at the receiving side, and you're gonna have to deal with that on a case by case basis.

But, if you've fixed your relay (and maybe your formmail.pl vulnerability too) then you shouldn't have too much of a problem convincing a *reasonable* person to take you off his list. (Unless you are actually a spammer...) Be warned that there are *UNreasonable* people as well, spam Nazis who'd make you wear a yellow "known spammer" armband if they could. Good luck deailng with them. Those guys are proof positive that noone owns the Internet, and you DAMN well better play by THEIR RULES if you want to use THEIR SERVERS!!

Spam blacklists are unreasonable. (0)

FaxiS (19920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015876)

First a disclaimer: I don't like blacklists.

Until very recently I worked for an ISP in North East Georgia called WhiteLion.Net. I'll admit, our revenues were getting low, and we had the opportunity to colocate servers for a company that did bulk emailing. They paid us a lot of cash for this. The company is now out of business due to unrelated things. However, during our spam stint, we got placed on a number of blacklists, including one called SPEWS. We removed the servers about 3 months ago when UUnet threatened to cut our lines. *NO* spam has originated from our network since then, but, even though I have notified SPEWS of this, they either don't care, don't believe me, or something. Any way, they STILL have WhiteLion.Net's IP blocks banned, as well as some IP blocks that didn't even belong to it. I posted a remove request on the newsgroup that the SPEWS faq said to post on and got a whole slew of really hateful replies. My point is this: these blacklists are not a way to prevent spam so much as a way to punish ISPs for spamming or open-relays. If they were really about stopping spam, then the block should be removed when the spam stops. Instead they leave them up. I'll admit, there are probably people out there who say they don't do such things any more and are lying their ass off, but instead of taking each case individually and dealing with the offenders one at a time, they all get lumped together regardless of the level of offense, or the level of repentance. If you want to read some REAL crap, just go on to google groups and search for 'Chad Singer'. ;)

RBL (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3015881)

I use several blackhole lists.

In the real world, the users want this, but the ones that cause more trouble their worth don't get used much.

I had a couple favorites that blocked all spam. All of it. But they also started blocking things like hotmail and yahoo! ... so I had to turn them off.

And that's the thing. The blackhole lists really do work. But the stupid ones ... nobody uses cuz they block too much legitimate mail.
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