Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

College Student Receives Email of the Lost

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the this-is-what-being-smart-gets-you dept.

318

dots and loops wrote to mention an eWeek article that's something of a life lesson: Don't be too smart for your own good. The article tells the tale of a college student who cleverly chose null@vtext.com as his cellphone email address. He's been getting thousands of wayward emails and text messages since 2001. From the article: "Initially, the content of the messages was innocuous, he said. It was things like don't forget to drop the car off at baker's and to call mom at 781-XXX-XXXX, stuff like that, Bubrouski wrote. The problem worsened in mid-2002, when Bubrouski's phone began channeling what he claims were dozens of messages from an e-mail address used by General Motors' then-new "OnStar" system. The messages quickly filled up the memory on his cell phone and contained diagnostic response to tests on a beta version of OnStar. 'Basically, peoples' cars were sending messages to my phone, Bubrouski wrote. "

cancel ×

318 comments

What was the weirdest email got that wasnt for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818659)

My freshman year a friend of mine received a few emails for a professor, the best one was an email asking the professor to excuse the sender's daughter from a final because she had a cold.

Not a smart man (1)

VisiX (765225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818662)

If he chose this address to receieve the emails will null as sender then he is not very smart. I'm betting he just uses the handle null, and it was just an unfortunate coincedence.

Re:Not a smart man (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818823)

addresses for slashdotters to try out, now that they know about them:
nul, null, root, administrator, president, ceo, cio, cfo, none, unknown, lost&found, hotty...

Re:Not a smart man (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818834)

Perhaps he heard it was a Linux-based phone and was worried when he couldn't find /dev/null.

Eric
View the XML for any Amazon product [ericgiguere.com]

Re:Not a smart man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818917)

Hello there.

It was Verizon who was being 'not very smart'.

a) They should be just dropping messages which don't have a valid from or to
b) If they're going to use an address as a bitbucket, rather than just dropping it, they shouldn't have allowed that address to be assigned to anyone.

How can you call the user 'not very smart', when he's not the one who actually has the control required to ensure that things like this cannot happen?

Re:Not a smart man (1)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818960)

Who says the message was addressed to "@vtext.com".

I am guessing that the OnStar beta system actually sent the message to "null@vtext.com"

If such a name is going to cause problems, Verizon should not have permitted him to choose that name.

Re:Not a smart man (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819031)

Like the guy who got "unknown" or some such for his licence plate. Got several thousand tickets in the mail each year.
-nB

Re:Not a smart man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14819050)

1) The article itself states that some of the messages he received had invalid to and/or from information. That covers what I stated about Verizon allowing invalid messages to propogate.

2) OnStar and the other companies should not have been sending test messages to an address that they did not control. Seriously, how the hell do you verify that your test messages are actually being sent and received if you're sending to an address where you're not the other endpoint?

His receiving the messages is in no way his fault.

which reminds me (2, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818946)

I'm constantly editing text my boss writes for publishing on the web that has stuff like "enter your email address (eg: smithj@telus.net)" to say username@example.net.

Whoever smithj@telus.net is should be glad.

Remember folks, example.org, .net, .edu, and .com are reserved for use in documentation and common system names like Postmaster@, abuse@, root@, etc shall not be used for personal email addresses.

Re:Not a smart man (1)

xaaronx (660963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818955)

Yeah, that's actually at least implied--I'm not sure it was explicitly stated--in the article.

You think it's bad *now* (4, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818678)

Slashdot just put your email address on their home page. Unscrambled.

Hmmm...wonder what a variant of the Slashdot effect is going to do to a cellphone?

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

nmccart (952969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818724)

I see BILLIONS in text message bills, at 10 cents a pop, he's gonna need a new job

Re:You think it's bad *now* (0)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818788)

Verizon does not charge the recipient of a text message.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (4, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818837)

Verizon does not charge the recipient of a text message.

That explains why he kept the account for 5 years.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

Rolan (20257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818943)

Odd, my bill says Verizon, and it charges me for incoming text messages.... Must be more than one Verizon....

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819052)

Holy crap. You're right! Verizon does charge to receive text messages. That stinks. Seems a bit unfair that you can be billed for something that you have no control over. At least with an incoming call you can choose not to answer if you don't want to spend your minutes talking to the caller.

https://www.vtext.com/customer_site/jsp/aboutservi ce.jsp#Prices [vtext.com]

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

zdzichu (100333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818929)

Hey, but he is not sending thoses messages, he receives them. Charging for incoming SMSes would be insane. It would be so dumb like charging for incoming *phone calls*, silly idea dropped by operators 15 years ago. Before even GSM got popular, when analog cellular telephony ruled.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

rkrabath (742391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819012)

Insane, yes... but common in the US.

boo US... BOO

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819017)

I get charged for airtime, I don't think it matters if it's incoming or outgoing.

Sell crazy some place else, we're all stocked up here.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819040)

It would be so dumb like charging for incoming *phone calls*...

Just part of the insanity of American cel phone service. I still can't figure out how they let this come to pass. I guess they'll buy anything.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818732)

"Hmmm...wonder what a variant of the Slashdot effect is going to do to a cellphone?"

I imagine it will be something like this [wirelessconsumers.org] .

Re:You think it's bad *now* (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818747)

Slashdot just put your email address on their home page. Unscrambled.

This is actually quite serious. I have had one story posted on Slashdot, and because I didn't have a homepage, the editors put in my unscrambled email address. The story was copied and pasted verbatum by countless sites all over the next.

That address was almost rendered unusable. Only the bayesian span fliters in thunderbird salvaged it. Still, it was pretty irritating to see an address I had been quite careful with destroyed because the Slashdot editors didn't consider carefully what they were doing.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

Rolan (20257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818905)

Still, it was pretty irritating to see an address I had been quite careful with destroyed because the Slashdot editors didn't consider carefully what they were doing.
You mean, because you didn't consider what you were doing.... You entered your e-mail address, they didn't go look it up and enter it for you. You should have considered the fact that, if the story was accepted, it would be posted, but you failed to consider that. It is not the editor's place to go and edit someone's e-mail address or homepage link that was entered. If you don't want your e-mail published, then don't publish it. The field isn't even required, you could have left it blank.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (4, Informative)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818966)

Negative. The email address I entered was garbled. The editors degarbled it.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14819023)

Grandparent blames slashdot editors for his email address becoming unuseable due to spammers.

Parent blames grandparent for not considering what he was doing when he gave his email address to slashdot.

While yes, if he was more careful or if the slashdot editors were more careful, he'd probably get less spam.

Still, I'd lay the blame squarely on the spammers.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14819030)

Mod parent down for excessive dickery.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818939)

Isn't giving your email address optional? I think it says that you either get a linkback to your website or a link to your email address right where you submit the article.

Re:You think it's bad *now* (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818853)

Quite a bit I think. When I got a story posted to the /. homepage, they linked directly to my email address; unscrambled, of course (and my homepage link was readily available). Spam galore!

Well... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818880)

The signal to noise ratio will go down, but the quality of the noise will skyrocket.

Fault (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818684)

SMS users, like e-mail users, rely on the fact that carriers like Verizon won't accidentally deliver improperly formatted messages, such as those with no addressee, to an unrelated address, said John Pescatore, a vice president at Gartner.

"There's no way that this should be happening. No e-mail system would ever do that," he said.

Verizon should be rejecting messages with improperly formatted addressee information, not forwarding it to an account, he said.

Bubrouski agrees.

"I'd have to say Verizon is at fault. Sure, service providers make mistakes, but Verizon shouldn't be accepting messages from no one to no one," he said.

It's safe to say Verizon is at fault, but perhaps not in the way everyone would think. How could they let someone have an email address of 'null'? NULL is generally a reserved keyword in most places where it is used; apparently the designers of Verizon's email system forgot some basic computing. Could someone sign up for 'root@vtext.com'? I would hope they would be smart about avoiding problems like that in the first place, though in the end it's true that their email system must be pretty poor if it allows messages with malformed header information to be received.

Re:Fault (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818729)

I would disagree. Sure, you wouldn't want someone using root or other default names like administrator, but null, while a reserved word in some circumstances, should not be a problem for a mail server. If my mail servers get an email to a non-existant account, they don't deliver it to "null". This sounds to me like something strange (unescaped maybe) on verizon's mail servers.

Re:Fault (1)

L7_ (645377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818867)

its probably from the fact that they are using Java to process thier Strings... and printing out a non-initialized String in java will print 'null'. :x

Re:Fault (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818889)

I'm not a java programmer, but I figured it would be something like that. There's no reason someone shouldn't be able to have the email address null@somedomain

Re:Fault (1)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818987)

Perhaps the message was actually addressed to "null@vtext.com" by OnStar?

Re:Fault (1)

NickFitz (5849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819035)

In at least one case it was faults in the services sending the messages that were addressing them to him:

Messages from both the Princeton Review Service and Pill Phone were accidentally sent to Bubrouski's phone... Messages without a "To" address were not delivered by the service. However, because of a programming flaw in the client server software, messages with an invalid address, such as a blank space, were translated as "Null," and wound up on Bubrouski's phone.

I don't suppose there's much Verizon can do to filter out stuff that's actually addresed to him. Other services were doing a similar thing:

An eMbience spokeswoman said that Bubrouski's vText account was the same as an account used by engineers for internal testing.

So it looks like clueless techs outside of Verizon are responsible for a lot of his problems. This is why, if I have to send emails to some /dev/null address, I either create a dummy account on a domain that I control, or (in a pinch) use the example.com domain. Just sending messages to a real domain owned by somebody else because you assume they won't have an account with a particular user name is just dumb and inconsiderate.

Re:Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818841)

Yes Verizon is at fault for not excluding that address from the pool available to users, but they are even more at fault for routing the messages. E.g. routers don't route packets from 192.168.x.x for a reason. The same thing applies here, only its the standard shabby organization of Verizon showing through.

Re:Fault (1)

Doug Merritt (3550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818954)

It's safe to say Verizon is at fault

No, it's not safe to say. I very strongly doubt it, in fact:

he couldn't find anyone at Verizon or ESPN who had heard of it and could help him with his problem.

That's because it was probably our little mobile group at Disney (owner of ESPN and ABC), oops. We took content such as sports stories and sent it out to all kinds of mobile devices, including cell phones and SMS devices.

If we ever screwed up during our testing (bugs? what bugs?), we could very easily have been the source of a "null@" sort of address.

Zillions of companies send things to SMS, just like they send email; you can't be sure the fault is ever with the SMS service!

On a related theme, my pre-web Internet (yes, there was such a thing :-) email address was "doug@a_big_isp.com", and so naturally I got a certain amount of misdirected email. Email traffic was comparatively low back then, so it wasn't an awful lot.

But one time I ended up being CC'ed on some corporate email that was CC'ed to dozens of people and had many followups. It was intensely boring material, but very private, too, and somewhat high volume. I kept replying, telling them what was going on, and "please stop", and a few people would take me off their CC list, while dozens of others didn't...

So finally I said, "I'm not going to release all of this highly sensitive information about your corporate plans and finances to your competitors or the press or to an ftp site, because I'm a good guy. But YOU don't know that!" That did the trick, the CC's stopped instantly.

Re:Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14819053)

NULL is generally a reserved keyword in most places where it is used

Null is a reserved keyword in many languages, yes, but that doesn't mean that strings can't contain that keyword. Should we forget about while@, end@, if@ and other addresses, just because they happen to be keywords?

If it was something like 'root', then I could understand; that's a reserved account name on many systems. But being a reserved keyword means nothing whatsoever.

Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818687)

Now he going to get messages sent to null@vtext.com from all of slashdot

Posting your email on Slashdot (1)

Ant2 (252143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818691)

I am very sure that also having your email address posted on the front page of Slashdot won't help matters either. This guy doesn't seem too smart.

Now it is worse (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818702)

He though he got a lot of email before. I wonder what happens after his email address is splashed up on /.?

think you were getting lots of messages before? (1)

aliscool (597862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818703)

Now that you null@vtext.com address has shown up
on the front page of slashdot...
You haven't seen anything yet.

Here's an idea: (1)

sxltrex (198448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818704)

Change your fucking cellphone e-mail address, genius.

Re:Here's an idea: (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818799)

That's what I was thinking. Thousands of emails since 2001... did he not get it that there was a problem? After it became a problem change addresses and it wouldn't be a /. story.

Re:Here's an idea: (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819011)

You're not new here, but did you not get it that you should RTFA?

He likes getting all these texts.
He blocks the most voluminous senders and reads the rest for giggles.

Re:Here's an idea: (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818802)

Change your fucking cellphone e-mail address, genius.

Yeah, you'd think that after 5 years, he'd think of that one. Guess some people are a little slow.

Re:Here's an idea: (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818962)

Would you? Honestly?
I probably wouldn't. You can deny that it would be interesting to get some of that stuff that was meant to go elsewhere. Hell, I'd probably build a site of the strange stuff I've received.

Re:Here's an idea: (1)

panthro (552708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818985)

RTFA: Getting rid of his vText account would stop the stream of unwanted SMS message problem, but Bubrouski said he enjoys reading the messages he receives, and blocks companies and individuals when the volume of SMS they're sending him gets too high.

Me too! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818711)

I can't tell you how many misrouted emails I've gotten for some great stock market tips, interesting (and I do mean interesting) pictures, some pretty amazing medications, and even offers for prestigious non-accredited degrees!

I almost feel bad taking advantage of people who accidently send me these deals by mistake.

Re:Me too! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818764)

Do you mean that they didn't come with half a page of boilerplate text at the bottom saying that if you weren't the intended recipient that you had to destroy all copies and submit to a brain-scrub?

Re:Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818846)

No, but they did include instructions of how to opt-out of future messages. Why anyone would want to opt of deals like these, I'll never know.

This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this posting. Please notify the sender immediately by a reply posting if you have received this posting by mistake and delete this posting from your system, including your browser cache. Slashdot posting transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message, which arise as a result of Slashdot postings.

Re:Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818902)

Tell me about it. This is great! Since I set up my e-mail account I've found hundreds of people offering to help enlarge my penis size and send me free pix of hot chicks. I'm also going to get a fortune from some guy in Nigeria and all I have to do is help him move some money to this country - I only have to send him my bank account info. I just love being connected, don't you?

Talk about your security breach. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818730)

FYI - vtext (the service the kid is using) stands for Verizon Text
That data has become more sensitive in recent months, as companies rush to deliver everything from SAT test scores to medical information and automobile diagnostics to cell phones and PDAs.
...
"I was getting people's grades, order information from unknown retailers, personal messages with people's credit card numbers [and] social security numbers,"
Medical information? Credit Card & Social Security numbers?
Shit is going to hit the fan in 5... 4... 3...

Seriously, letting someone choose "null" is like letting them pick "Administrator" or "HelpDesk". I thought that was Security 101 material?

Why is confidential info sent as email? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819041)

I gotta wonder, maybe this story is true, but why would confidential info, like Medical records, credit card numbers, etc, be being sent as clear-text email? I could maybe see SAT scores, but I don't think even that would be.

If anyone I did business with sent me confidential info over email, and it wasn't encrypted, I'd be royally ticked, and sue them for being so negligent about protecting my info.

He could have chosen "None" (2, Interesting)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818731)

This storey reminds me of one I heard about in the 1980's.

Some smart *ss decided to get a vanity plate that read "NONE". It seems that whenever a police officer or parking commisionair issued a ticket for a vehicle without a license plate, they would write in "NONE" where it said plate.

Then the clear entering the ticket info, would (of course) enter the same thing into their system.

The result was hundreds of tickets being issued to him, for various offenses (parking, speeding, etc.).

Re:He could have chosen "None" (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818885)

Some comedian once suggested that IFORGET would be a much more clever license plate number.

Nothing worse than outsmarting oneself (1)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818735)

However, I don't understand why he hasnt gotten a new email address, or why Verizon hasnt fixed this problem, because messages should be returned or deleted, not forwarded to some random person.

Vehicle tag fun (1)

weave (48069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818736)

There was a story in our local paper a while back about someone who had the vehicle vanity tag of "UNKNOWN" and the owner started getting issued all sorts of automated red light camera tickets shortly after the city started installing red light cameras. Turns out the system that would OCR scan the violaters would enter the word UNKNOWN in the license field for the ticket if the car that was photographed running the light was missing its tags or they were otherwise illegible.

Be careful of your chosen names!

Ahhh Java... (1)

EWIPlayer (881908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818738)

Everyone complains about C++ programs "crashing" if you're doing silly things with memory. Why would we want to know about our problems when we can have them buried for us by just defaulting the String to "null" instead?

Poor bastard... but let's face it... he's a bit of a tool :D

Joke? (0)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818744)

Must be a joke. It's impossible to register an email as a null character, since most mailservers use nullcharacters internally to sort messages etc.

Not to mention, how will you send a nullcharacter through the signup form, did he use telnet and send the form data that way?

*ahem* (2, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818784)

he chose the nick "n","u","l","l". Not "\0".

Re:Joke? (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818789)

It's "NULL", not "/0" (Or ^@ if you prefer.)

Re:Joke? (1)

EWIPlayer (881908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818807)

He didn't register '\0'. He registered "null". 4 characters -- all of them in the nice, normal ascii spectrum.

Re:Joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818916)

Wow, are you dense.

Re:Joke? (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818930)

He is no doubt getting properly formatted messages from buggy senders with code like this:

        char *user = NULL;

        user = lookup_vtext_user_handle(....); /* missing NULL check */

        sprintf(email_address, "%s@vtext.com", user);

printf implementations often output "null" or "(null)" when passed a NULL pointer for a %s argument.

stupid BBS tricks (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818746)

I remember back in the early '90s when I still did Fidonet, all echomail messages had a "To:" field (unlike Usenet), you could read replies to you, no matter what group they were in. Messages that weren't replies were by default sent to "All".

So if you created a user named "All", most messages in echomail and most messages in local boards would be flagged as new to you. Once sysops figured that out they usually created the user All and that was the end of it.

i might be in the minority here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818748)

...but, uh

a college student who cleverly chose null@vtext.com

doesn't sound like there was anything "clever" about it.

People predicted this ages ago... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818771)

That's why we have RFC 2606 [ietf.org]

Re:People predicted this ages ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818942)

That RFC does not talk about null and it relates to DNS. The problem is that the verizon email system let him choose null as a username. No RFC will restrict that - only common sense on the part of the email provider (Verizon)

I wonder if he chose (2, Funny)

n0dna (939092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818772)

867-5309 for the number?

Re:I wonder if he chose (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819008)

Nah. That would be jenny at vtext dot com.

car spam (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818776)

In the world of software design, "Null" is commonly used to represent "no value" or "0." Developers of mobile services use the "Null" address during testing routines, assuming that the messages won't be sent to anyone.

I wonder if he even thought about this before he got that address.
Now the question is - can he sue for textual harassment?

"null" (string) vs. null value? (1)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818786)

Sounds like someone screwed up big time. In most (all?) programming languages,
str = "null" and
str = null

mean two completely different things. Somewhere along the line, they must be converting null(value) to "null"(string), which seems like a dumb thing to do.

Re:"null" (string) vs. null value? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818982)

It doesn't need to be as blatent of an error as that.

In Python, for example, if you take in a number, and convert it to a string, it's something like this:

>>>a=8675309
>>>b=str(a)
>>>print b
'8675309'
>>>a=None
>>>print a
(NOTHING PRINTED!)
>>>b=str(a)
>>>print b
'None'

Note that now b equals a sting holding 'None'. I think other languages will do something similar with "Null" or "NaN" (Not a number).

Re:"null" (string) vs. null value? (1)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819003)

Somewhere along the line, they must be converting null(value) to "null"(string), which seems like a dumb thing to do.

In C, if you try to print a null string with printf, you get the text "(null)" out, which is arguably better than crashing. It's probably something like this causing the spurious messages to the null@ address.

Signs or more to come.... (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818810)

..but again let me ask, why do Multi-Million dollar companies fail to have their SMTP servers setup correctly, but lame geeks such as myself and other /. readers have their POSTFIX servers set to deny emails that don't have any TO: or FROM: headers? I mean come on, here's a HOWTO that I worked with that started out in 2001 for hell's sake: Postfix Anti-UCE [linxnet.com]

Still, there's going to be a ton of companies that don't know what they're doing, or who they're hiring; problems like these will only continue to surface.

Another good username (2, Funny)

chowbok (467829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818859)

Many years ago, I worked at an ISP where a customer chose "core" for his username. A weekly OS cleanup script kept deleting his mail spool.

Stupid NULL pointers (1)

phxhawke (35260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818821)

I new they could cause many problems, but receive the wrong email wasn't one of them.

Sounds like a version of the vanity plate legend (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818826)

A car owner in California buys a vanity license plate that says NONE. Within a week he's receiving hundreds of parking citations. All the citations have NONE in the license number field because the car had no license plate.

Re:Sounds like a version of the vanity plate legen (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818979)

I can't help but wonder, though, why a cop would even bother writing a ticket for a car with no plates? How else are they going to know whose car it is?

Subtle plug for TCPA on page 3 (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818832)

From the article:
TCG is developing specifications for hardware building blocks, including the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip that can secure transactions from mobile devices.

Great!

test cluster vs testcluster.com (1)

iguana (8083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818848)

I own the testcluster.com domain.

Until I finally shut off DNS to it, every day or so there would be some Windows Active Directory system out there trying to update my DNS servers. I'm guessing "testcluster" is a popular name for a new Windows clusters.

For example:
query: _ldap._tcp.pdc._msdcs.testcluster.com
query: _kerberos._tcp.dc._msdcs.testcluster.com
query: 6c91d860-bf0b-4bd9-b0f3-2a368934fe0e._msdcs.testcl uster.com
query: _ldap._tcp.DomainDnsZones.testcluster.com

Similar Situation Here (1)

oni (41625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818923)

I own a domain that is similar enough to an ISP that I get about one errant email a month. I wont change the domain name though for reasons that you wont care about.

Anyway, I have a standard response that I send back to people letting them know that they mistyped the addresses. In about two years of this, only 3 or 4 times has anyone bothered to thank me for letting them know they screwed up.

And one time, some idiot actually replied to my message and kept talking as if he was talking to his friend! Talk about dense.

Re:test cluster vs testcluster.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14818958)

Oh, that's so totally the wrong way to handle it. Whenever you receive one of those, add a DNS entry pointing it to somewhere nasty, like a goatse server.

Reminds me of the guy (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818856)

that when choosing a vanity plate in california decide to enter NOPLATE as his last choice of three. Well that was what we call a "Dumb Idea" as he soon started receiving many, many parking tickets and soon warants for his arrest. Seems that at the time if you illegally parked a car without plates the cops entered NOPLATE on the parking ticket.

same thing happend to me (1)

ashishpuliyel (778256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818857)

When my school [nus.edu.sg] started to offer friendly email address (as opposed to unfriendly uXXXXXXX@nus.edu.sg) you could only sign up for addresses using a combination of your initials and your name. Smartass that I am, I signed up for a@nus.edu.sg.

It's a college, and long story short seems like every few months somebody testing out the new shopping cart or mail server they made, sends me test emails. I've had credit card information more than once. I reply and tell whoever it is that I'm getting the emails, and it stops.

It's a good way to liven up an inbox that usually only gets circulars and spam.

Re:same thing happend to me (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819014)

Smartass that I am, I signed up for a@nus.edu.sg..

"smart ass" = "anus edu" ? very clever.

Similar situation (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818865)

Obviously not at the quantity this guy has but I have an common odd user name that I use on yahoo, hotmail, and several other free web mail places. I get tons of email confirmations and passwords for people that setup accounts at places. Just last week was a Myspace account a dude setup trying to get back at his ex girlfriend. Nice pictures but I had hundreds of requests to add people to my friends list because of the content of the pictures that were posted.

I've also had several accounts created with my username from Snapfish and similar photo places. The content is not spectacular but some are interesting.

           

But does it run Linux? (1)

LookoutforChris (957883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818866)

Slashdot teh cell phone!

WTF are the developers thinking? (1)

Senzei (791599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818870)

Ok, I will admit that registering null@ is cute in a I-am-a-complete-freaking-moron kind of way. No, it shouldn't be allowed by whatever service he is using.

All that said, why are the developers of these programs using it? I can only assume it is them sending messages to this address as I doubt any clients would. Whatever happened to sending you email to example@example.com? Even better set up an email account that just dumps into a bit bucket on your domain and use that. Regardless of the method why allow messages that the users are obviously not intending to send to go out at all? Sometimes I wonder how computers can work at all with this many idiots behind the wheel.

Blame Verizon (1)

dannyelfman (717583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818872)

The security and system admin folk at Verizon goofed. They shoudln't have allowed the use of ``null'' in the first place.

A similar overload (1)

Anthracene (126183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818876)

I had a similar problem in college, when as a freshman I felt very lucky to get john@[mycollege].edu as my address. Apparently lots of people think they have "John" as an alias in their address book that will get automatically expanded, and many of them are incorrect in this assumption. A few thousand misaddressed emails later, I didn't feel quite so lucky.

The worst of it was a mailing list that randomly chose my address as the example address for their explanation of how to compose a subscribe message, just as the Net was being flooded with AOLers. You can imagine how many times (per day!) I was subscribed to the list.

Great idea! (1)

Sax Maniac (88550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818914)

My vanity license plate is "NONE". I never get any parking tickets.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819051)

Since you already got that one, I'm applying for "MISSING". Parking in Boston is brutal.

rethink... (1)

stewie's deuce (953163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818924)

Great, now its going to be even more difficult to explain to people learning unix what happens to data going to /dev/null

Another problem (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818945)

The FA mentions that the subscriber was able to block emails using a blacklist on the vtext.com web site. Unfortunately for those of us who use Verizon, they don't have a companion whitelist capability. I would like to be able to specify who CAN send me text messages, so I don't get /.-ed to the poorhouse.
BTW, those of you who think it would be fun to send this guy texts, please don't. Verizon charges something like a dime a pop for texts. I wouldn't wish that on my enemies or even my freaks.

Reminds me... (1)

rekoil (168689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818973)

...of a friend of mine who registered billgates.com way back in the day. He set up a website that showed the most recently received emails to the domain. Quite entertaining...a lot of people actually seemed to believe that emailing Bill with your sob story would result in a cash handout. Wacky.

Just Like Woz!! (1)

mtDNA (123855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818974)

This reminds me of what happened to Steve Wozniak.

Apparently, he always wanted a phone number with all the same digit, like 444-4444. After he got one, he discovered the horrible truth... he got tons of calls followed by hang-ups. As the story goes, he couldn't figure out what it was, until one day he heard someone yell in the background, "Jimmy - you hang that up!" (or something like that). He was getting little kids! Of course, they grab the phone and press the same number over and over.

So is OnStar (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14818980)

going to destroy the planet if it doesn't recieve a response [imdb.com] ?

Off topic rant about null (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14819044)

From the article:

In the world of software design, "Null" is commonly used to represent "no value" or "0."

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Null is commonly used to represent "no value" or the absence of data. In programming, zero is discrete and specific data. Zero is data. Null is the lack of any data.

Okay so this isn't exactly a programming or data base design article but these things are important. I work in a support department and do you know how hard it is to explain what NULL is? Misinformation should not be spread to the masses! :)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...