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'Leak-Proof' Anti-Spam Solution?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the how-well-would-it-work? dept.

90

sikandril asks: "In an effort to help the Internet community and user-base at large in fighting spam, I have decided to put up this white paper for public review and remarks. As you will see, the system provides an almost 'waterproof' solution to spam blockage via an opt-in system. The main drawback is that everyone (except spammers or other evildoers) has to have this installed in order for it to work perfectly. A small number of installs means that unknown legit contacts still might show up as spam, albeit only for the first e-mail and/or until they too elect to install the software. I'm an independent developer located in Israel, and would love to hear your ideas regarding this."

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My wife recomends these: (-1, Offtopic)

linguizic (806996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182108)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00068E5HU/104-52 65533-6461558?v=glance&n=3760901 [amazon.com] She's says their the most leek proof for her.

Re:My wife recomends these: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182375)

Kathleen Fent recommends these [amazon.com]

That reads like a patent (2, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182121)

From TFA: "In an effort to help the internet community..."

Bollocks, this is an attempt to get investors. What's the patent number?

Am I a cynic? Hell yeah!

Obligatory... (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182124)

This article advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may
have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal
law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential
employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(X) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been
shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
(x) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.

ACK (1)

e_AltF4 (247712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182140)

Was just about to post this form - thanks for saving me the work.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

RabidSquirrel (643514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182158)

Seriously, this form is genius. Where did it come from? I've seen it a ton in comments. Any idea of the source?

Re:Obligatory... (1)

quaker5567 (841639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182471)

DIGG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182788)

I'd give you a dig, but the link doesn't work.

Re:Obligatory... (2, Insightful)

thorndove (726959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182201)

You went too easy on him

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182927)

I have a simple, foolproof idea to help eliminate spam.

Email certification.

If you want to be able to send Certified Email (CE), you apply for Certification from the company that gives you internet connectivity. They check you out, and 'Certify' you as being a legitimate emailer (ie: not a spammer). Then, you generate a private/public key pair and give them the public one. In the headers of all your email, is their certification, and an encrypted header line that's createdusing your private key.

When email arrives at the recipients server (or this could be done at the client level, as well), the server sees the certification, and connects to the certifying server to get your public key. It attempts to decrypt the header line. If it does it marks the email as 'certified', if it cannot, it marks the email as 'uncertified', and the email client can be programmed to filter messages based on that.

Due to the public/private key cryptography, there can be no certified email spoofing. (Assuming the private keys are secure, the keys are of decent length, etc.) All emails are traceable back to the originating server. CORRECTION- all CERTIFIED emails are traceable. Anonymous email is still possible. People can still set up email servers for mailing lists without "having" to get them certified. And people can still receive non-certified mail.

If an email server sends out spam, the complaints go to it's certifier. They can drop the certification, deleting the public key from their server. When this happens, ALL the email from the spamming server is now 'uncertified', and gets handled accordingly by email clients. If nothing is done, complaints go to THEIR upstream, etc. Individuals and groups can keep their own blacklists, if they wish, and anyone can choose to filter emails according to those lists.

Now, I've looked over that 'form email' that people like to post to shoot down anti-spam ideas. And nothing applies to this idea. (If something seems to apply, it's because I either left out details, or explained something wrong.) This idea does NOT need to be universally adopted, nor does it need to be adopted by everyone all at once. It's primarily a way of reliably tracing (certified) emails back to their originating server. The anti-spam part comes later: if you receive certified spam, complain and get the server un-certified. If you receive un-certified spam... well, just have your email client dump all uncertified emails in the trash. (Not nessisarilly, you could just use it's un-certifedness as a factor in filtering your email.)

This idea does not require anything be changed with SMTP. It simply requires a second connection be made to the certifying server. Now, before you bitch about the extra bandwidth, I'd like to remind you that, once this idea catches on, spam will be greatly reduced. This reduction will MORE than make up for the slight increase in bandwidth created in querying the certifying servers. Also, the certifying servers can set time limits on when the certifications expire, and need to be re-downloaded (kind of like DHCP leases). A 'new' company that just applied for certification might have it's certificate set to expire almost instantly. This way, every email they send requires a download of the certificate. This allows the certificate to be pulled rapidly if they start spamming. After a month or two, it could be set to expire weekly or monthly.

To sum up: Email Certification is reliable way of tracing the certified emails back to their originating server. This allows spammers to be identified unequivocally, and have their certification pulled. Email servers are NOT required to be certified, and anonymous email is still possible. Email recipients can, if they choose, set up their client to send uncertified emails to the trash, or to handle them however they wish. White lists and black lists are still possible. 'Hobby mailing lists' are still possible, certified or not. The extra bandwidth is minimal, and easily overshadowed by the reduction in spam being send once spammers realize no one is even seeing, much less reading or replying to their spam.

Re:Obligatory... (0, Redundant)

Fooby (10436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183162)

Your post advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative (x) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

(x) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(x) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(x) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
(x) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(x) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
(x) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(x) Sending email should be free
(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15183277)

(x) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses

Um, how?

(x) Users of email will not put up with it

Why not?

(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once

NO, IT DOES NOT. Did you even bother readign what I wrote?

(x) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers

NO ONE WOULD LOSE BUSINESS OR ALIENATE EMPLOYERS USING THIS SYSTEM. Now I know you didn't read (or at least, didn't understand) my idea.

(x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email

This idea does not require such.

(x) Unpopularity of weird new taxes

Huh? Are you drunk or trolling?

(x) Huge existing software investment in SMTP

This idea is an ADD-ON, to SMTP, and does not change it in any way.

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical


Because people like you post stupid 'form letter' responses instead of trying to read and understand the idea.

(x) Whitelists suck

This is not a white list, per se. It is reliable way of tracing certified email back to the server that sent it. The fact it is certified (and therefore traceable) is ONE factor to consider when filtering email. Just like certain email filters assign higher or lower priorities to email based upon words ('viagra', 'perscription', 'sexy', etc) in the subject. A single mention of 'viagra' in an email may not get it marked as spam, but if the email also contains "perscription drugs" and "viodox", then it is marked as spam. Under my idea, the USER can set their client to assign a certain importance to certification. They can use certification as a kind of 'white list' if they want, only allowing certified mail thru to their inbox, or they can ignore it. Or anything in between.

(x) Sending email should be free

Yes, it should. And it would remain so under this idea.

(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?

I have no servers to trust. The 'servers you must trust' belong to the ISPs. You ALREADY trust them enough to send your data and email thru their systems.

(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it. ...from a person who obviously didn't read or understand the idea.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183396)

I liked the idea...

-:sigma.SB

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15188648)

Hell, you don't even have the balls to refute attacks on your idea using your own username, by your own admission.

But nonetheless, I'll deal with the last point:

Anyone can set up an email server. You may well trust your ISP/mail server to send your email. But why on earth should I trust you or your servers to send trustworthy mail? And why should the burden be on me to chase things up with you, your upstream and so on? Eventually (and sooner, rather than later) the cost to me in dealing with this is going to be more than the benefit. And what impetus do the upstreams have to cooperate? I'm Joe Nobody, the spammer is paying. Who is the upstream paying most attention to? And what do they care if you stop accepting email from their netblock? You keep climbing up the tree, you're just cutting yourself off from more and more of the net. Wow. Great solution.

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15196874)

But why on earth should I trust you or your servers to send trustworthy mail?

Once again, in bold: THERE ARE NO "MY" SERVERS.

the cost to me in dealing with this is going to be more than the benefit

What cost?

what impetus do the upstreams have to cooperate? I'm Joe Nobody, the spammer is paying. Who is the upstream paying most attention to?

ISPs offer spam filtering NOW. They are listening to their users, and not the spammers NOW.

And what do they care if you stop accepting email from their netblock?

They might not. But they'll lose users (and therefore, money), when their users discover they can't email anyone.

You keep climbing up the tree, you're just cutting yourself off from more and more of the net.

No, I'm cutting more and more of the net off from me. There's a difference.

Re:Obligatory... (2, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183888)

Your plan completely fails to account for ISPs which either can't or won't screen properly. Want to make some money? Set up an ISP that implements the cert structure, and allows spammers. Want to run a free webmail service (hotmail/yahoomail/gmail)? You damn sure better make sure your users can send as non-spam... except of course, these get used to generate spam addresses, and Google doesn't have time to check out every new account for validity.

The one thing your plan does do is prevent spoofing, but that only works if the public keys are kept secret, in which case they don't work. Within days, these public keys will be circulating along with email addresses on spam lists, and the entire thing is useless.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184457)

I know you were just shot down by a bunch of other people, but let me explain why I think it won't work.

    1) you need capital, and lots of it. You'll need to maintain a server farm just for supporting the requests to check the keys, as well as a staff to maintain the abuse complaints, support the mail admins, etc, etc, etc.. Just imagine, if 90% of the admins on the internet with mail servers got with your system, and 1% of them were the typical daily complainers, you'd be flooded with support requests. Your server farm would need to be insanely redundant. You can't have downtime, or certified messages don't get marked as certified. You would *HAVE* to charge for the service, as you would have such a large infrastructure to maintain.

    2) You're effectively duplicating the "goodmail" system. They are charging per message, because they know each message puts a load on their system.

    3) It wouldn't work, because places like AOL would have their own key, but you can't guarantee that every user at AOL would be good. Can you shut down an entire ISP based on the action of a few users? If you try to track a ratio of sent emails to complaints, you'd go nuts collecting statistical information, which would go nowhere.

    4) You would be assuming that every admin would be playing nicely. Say someone like me got a certification for every domain in our control (thousands of them). You could verify them, see that they aren't sending spam, but follow months, random domains on random networks, registered to various companies in various locations would start spamming with their certification.

    Spammers play a variation of this now, because of the IP blacklists. They'll pay for many internet connections in various locations. I knew of some companies that would maintain hundreds of domains, with dozens of servers in several different colo's, each set of servers with 100Mb/s connections from different providers. They would spam from one set for a day or two, and then switch to a different line or colo. They'd roll between them, so any one provider would only see complaints for one day every month or two. It's not enough to terminate their service, and the spammers can continue without even pausing. Sometimes they'll cover the difference in traffic with something else, like web hosting.

    5) If you don't host the authentication server farm yourself, you'd have to trust others. I like SpamCop, and we host a mirror for them. They have exclusive access to their server. I'm the only person in our company with the password, so I know that no one will ever mess with it. They are careful about who they allow to host mirrors. If you used a distributed network to handle authentication, what happens if a significant portion of the distributed network turned out to be in the hands of someone bad? It could be that they insert their own bogus codes into 50% of the authentication servers, or they could simply replace your authentication code with their own. As we all know, reverse engineering isn't impossible, it just takes a little time.

    6) You would need the cooperation of everyone running a mail server, like it or not. You're suggesting starting a new standard, which we already know takes a long time to implement. You'd need the software vendors to make their software work, as well as the admin of every mail server to implement it. It's not as easy as putting something together for sendmail, there are a lot of different mail server softwares out there.

    7) You'd need to get huge companies to agree to use your service. The politics required for business are outragous. It would be amazing if you could get Google, Microsoft, and AOL to cooperate in a scheme like this. More than likely, if you got one involved, the others would refuse because you were dealing with the first. They don't really care about the common good, they care about the bottom line.

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15185718)

I'd argue that the following points also apply:

(X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
(X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers

(X) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(X) Joe jobs and/or identity theft

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
(X) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189020)

Come on, dude. If someone can seriously suggest this today, does he not rate "This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it"?

Also the following definitely apply as well:

- Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been
shown practical
- Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
- Why should we have to trust you and your servers?

In other words Sikandril (aka Ami Rodan), you don't know enough to know what you don't know. You're, what, 18 and in your first job doing IT support, right? If you're any older than that, then you really should be ashamed of yourself, because that's more like a "no great shakes on the brains front" kind of error. I hope future employers read this, so they know what level your abilities are at.

Grab.

Yawn (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182125)

Yet another FUSSP.

Won't work, because everyone has to change.

Naaah, the only way to stop it is to make it sufficiently unattractive to spam. Like by nailing their balls to the wall. And, most importantly, doing the same to the people who have their products spamvertised.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15183398)

>>Like by nailing their balls to the wall. And, most importantly, doing the same to the people who have their products spamvertised.

You forgot about having the people who buy spamvertised products tied to anthills with their nuts covered in honey.

Re:Almost there (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184103)

Naaah, the only way to stop it is to make it sufficiently unattractive to spam. Like by nailing their balls to the wall. And, most importantly, doing the same to the people who have their products spamvertised.

AND you also have to sieze the spammer's client list. Not their spam list (ie: everyone they've sent an email to), but their actual, real live CLIENT list. Everyone they've sold stuff to.

Then you track down those people, and nail them to walls as well.

That way you've eliminated (or at least terrorized into submission) the spammers, their suppliers, and their clients. All areas of revenue are cut off. No one will buy from a spammer because their either dead or afraid of being dead. No one will hire a spammer to sell stuff for them because they are dead or afraid of being dead. And no one will spam their own stuff because, well, you get the picture.

It may be harsh, but I think this world's gene pool could stand a massive cleaning. Just get the client list, and send cyanide capsules shaped like blue pills sent to everyone on it. "Teh fre3 medz!!!1"

Hate to say it, but there is no escape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15185742)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (x) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
(x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
(x) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:Yawn (1)

snizfast (763637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187449)

So what is the purpose of this system. I see plenty of stuff making it harder to put someone in the BCC but that will only help my email being leaked to a spammer. Well if they can not get it that way they will just guess ever possible email address. I have seen that bring down large email servers, so if I have to pick one then...well my email is on the company webpage like all the rest so who cares.

Now a large scale PGP implimentation would determine if mail is being spoofed. Add that to a way to check the number of spams your Spamassassin gets from a domain and you will have a guess as to who you can trust. Then find a way for email servers to talk to other trusted servers and you are set.

Completely unbreakable! (3, Funny)

FordPrfct (159271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182141)

According to the article, this system is completely unbreakable! Unless, of course, the spammers decide to do things that are against the law.

Heck, since we know that all spammers are good, law-abiding citizens, why don't we just pass laws against the spam, instead of trying to convince everybody in the world to use the same mail client?

Re:Completely unbreakable! (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183818)

> since we know that all spammers are good, law-abiding citizens

They might well be law-abiding citizens, just in a different country.

buying spam ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182147)

I don't understand people who buy products marketed by spam.

Are they Crazy ?

Oh, yeah, I got 1/16 inch increase of my p***s with the magical pills, or, did I putted the ruler at the same place as the last time ?

Mailing lists? (1)

DJRikki (646184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182156)

This idea has been used before, I know sometimes when I email folks I have to jump through a load of hoops for it to actually get received by them.

Mailing lists are a nightmare too, as would be getting any kind of automated response (invoices from online shopping etc) through.

R.

Doh! (2, Funny)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182161)

Would-be spam fighter posts email address on public internet, gets linked to by /.

Oops!

Yeah, sure (2, Funny)

e_AltF4 (247712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182162)

EVERYONE has to change to a NEW SOFTWARE/PROTOCOL and trust a CENTRAL SERVER controlled by a CENTRAL AUTHORITY and spammers have to STOP USING FAKE DATA and STOP USING BOTNETS (and probably all of us have to LICENSE THIS TECHNOLOGY).

I clearly see this could work - NOT.

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

198TFour (201363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182172)

I have a 100% perfect anti spam solution. It hasnt failed yet. basically if the person is not in my address book or in a whitelist i create then the mail gets binned.

Re:Yeah, sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182214)

I have a 100% perfect anti spam solution. It hasnt failed yet. basically if the person is not in my address book or in a whitelist i create then the mail gets binned.

I'm sure it works very well for nobodies living in their parents' basements. For those of us who are sufficiently important that we frequently receive emails we want to receive from people we don't know, whitelisting is a non-starter.

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182321)

Grey listing works quite effectively, but requires implementation at your mail server, but I guess those of us who are sufficiently important can't risk delayed mail.

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182828)

Grey listing works quite effectively, but requires implementation at your mail server, but I guess those of us who are sufficiently important can't risk delayed mail.

If you're important to me, you'll be whitelisted. But the effectiveness of greylisting seems to be decreasing, I'm seeing more spam get through. Still, between Spamcop's RBL and SQLGrey, I usually only have to delete about 20 spam messages a day.

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

hohack (604323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183037)

20......lucky you

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187469)

Greylisting is a PITA for confirmation emails. Not everyone who sends them lets you know who to whitelist, and generally the whitelisting itself is a PITA. So you have to wait for the confirmation to try again, and by that time, you've moved on to something else.

Adaptive filters seem like a better idea. I've got one email address with greylisting, one without. The greylisted one is the more public one, with about 50% more incoming spam than the other, but the "Bayesian" filters in SpamAssassin catch
most of what gets through to both of them (around 500-1000 spam caught per day, 5-10 making it through).

Re:Yeah, sure (1)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186814)

A good greylisting engine will have an auto-whitelist feature. So only the first few messages per domain will experience the delay and this typically is only a few minutes depending on your greylisting settings. If things do seem to be getting stuck and it is an important message, having the sender re-send the message usually does the trick.

Even if you discount spam, greylisting as an anti-virus method should not be underestimated. In the past 7 days, I've had NO viruses picked up by ClamAV or NOD32 on my mail-relays. Prior to enabling greylisting, it would have been in the 100K messages range. That's all zero-day protection too.

Greylisting for anti-spam is not as effective as it was. However it's still a worthwhile measure and goes largely unnoticed by the majority of my e-mail users.

My preferred solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182169)

"Store on server" email. When an email is sent, only the sender information, subject, and location of the full email would be sent. When this header hits the recipient's mailbox, it is checked against a whitelist, and if it's there the email is downloaded (from the location given) immediately. It is then checked against a blacklist, and if it appears there it is deleted without confirmation.

If it isn't on either list, the originating server has to wait for approval by the recipient before the complete email is sent. This would ensure four things: the recipient expresses interest based on the subject and who it's from, the incoming mail server is not spam flooded by thousands of huge emails at once, the sender gives a valid location for the completed email, and the server is still accessible when the recipient asks for it. This prevents bogus return addresses (since there would be no way to see if a response was received) and IP hopping to keep ahead of spam blockers. It would also move much of the network burden from spam from people who receive emails to the people who send them.

Re:My preferred solution (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183157)

You are DJB and I claim my D-.

The one giant problem that your idea (and others like it) fail to address is non-support for bulk sending. One of my clients regularly sends about 60,000 copies of his monthly newsletter to opt-in customers. The current system allows him to spool out mail at a pace his system can handle. Your system encourages his server to ignite at 8:15 AM whenever all his recipients get to work, check their mail, and simultaneously attempt to download the message.

I'd like to say it's a nice idea, but it's really not. It has horrid failure modes that are far too common.

Re:My preferred solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15183368)

The one giant problem that your idea (and others like it) fail to address is non-support for bulk sending. One of my clients regularly sends about 60,000 copies of his monthly newsletter to opt-in customers.

If it's opt-in, the return address should already be in the whitelist. If it isn't, then the full message would only be downloaded if a person expressed interest in it.

The current system allows him to spool out mail at a pace his system can handle. Your system encourages his server to ignite at 8:15 AM whenever all his recipients get to work, check their mail, and simultaneously attempt to download the message.

This assumes that 60,000 people forget to whitelist the email, yet want to download it simultaneously. It trivial to set up a filter to whitelist all email addresses you write to (and a simple "respond to the confirmation email" would work for that), so if it's truly "opt in" and not "oops, I forgot to uncheck a hidden box," the email would be downloaded in its entirety as soon as the header hits the mailbox.

In addition, one bit of information that can be included in the subject/sender/header info is an email expiration. If you get hammered every day at 8:15 am because many of your opt-in customers have no clue what they are doing, just set the expiration to 8 am. They would see a message that says "not on whitelist/expired" when attempting to download the message, and they can choose at that point to whitelist, blacklist, or keep current settings for future communications.

I would say.. (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184183)

your client should have to bear the brunt of such a thing, if he needs to send it out in that manner.
A lot of complaint re-spam is- the recipient (or his isp) bear the brunt of the costs.. this would fix that.

Further. you could (as with mail backup) have a server which is a stand in (specified with an MX (or XM?)) which also supplies outgoing email.

Yes- I quite think keeping outgoing email on the senders email server... until the recipient client asks for the email- makes a hell of a lot of sense..

Somebody get these guys a clue... (4, Insightful)

FordPrfct (159271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182185)

From the article:

"6. Sixth, the system provides additional security and control over computer viruses which spread by e-mail - Client (1)'s connection with Server (2) is much harder to hack into than simply taking control of a regular e-mail client. Large and suspect amounts of key (4) requests from suspect client (1) can simply be blocked at the server level."

Who said anything about hacking "the connection"? Once we have everybody using the same client, I am sure it is only a matter of time before somebody finds a vulnerability in it, and crafts a virus / trojan to take control of it. And you *know* that people will open it up. "It came completely verified from somebody on my whitelist! It can't be faked or a virus!"

So Mom gets infected. It sends to everybody on her list. Because it was verified, it gets through to all of them, and they open it. Then to all of their friends. And so forth and so on. Not enough key requests from any one client to result in a block at the server level, and impossible to get ahead of it without blocking a significant portion of your userbase.

Congratulations. You've reinvented Outlook, and given people a better reason to click on that attachment and perpetuate it.

leak-proof (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182188)

Blah.. to accomplish true leak-free system, use two mail accounts, public spam account (use gmail), where user requests access to your real mail address, and the true account which you could host elsewhere, but it only allows mail if the sender address is listed on whitelist manually generated from the requests.

Most spam will be caught in google filter, other stuff you can just label away. You should still see all valid mail access requests even if some spam gets through.

If you get spam to the primary mail, it gets automatically deleted, because the sender or recipient is unknown.

This works, unless you receive mail from gazillion random people every day.

You've hit upon a good point. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183049)

This works, unless you receive mail from gazillion random people every day.
There are different categories of users with different requirements.

The home user who connects to his/her ISP and downloads his/her email with POP3 and sends via the ISP's host has different needs than ...

... the small insurance company that deals with insurance agents and the occasional new individual ...

... which is different from Amazon or eBay.

Your method works great for the home user who occasionally gets email from new addresses. And, as you've noted, it doesn't scale very well.

It's useless to search for THE Ultimate Solution to ALL spam. Instead, look at ways to better handle segments. And realize that the solution that works for a small company may not be applicable for a company based on selling over the Internet.

Yikes (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182197)

The proposed solution relies on a centralized authority producing new keys for each person periodically, which is a recipe for disaster if a billion users sign up for it.

Re:Yikes (1)

FryingDutchman (891770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184207)

This post has merit - so far the only successful implementation of a centralized "mothership" server was done by the uber-congolo-hyper-mega-globo-corp Symantec. I used Brightmail and have to say it was the easiest and most effective spam solution I've used at a corporate level.

/end corporate whoredom.

In all seriousness though - I don't see "if you don't want junk mail subscribe to this entirely new Postal Service" catching on. Also to jump up a few comment threads - whitelists SUCK. Such is the problem with e-mail filtering; 99% of people want an implicit accept and gripe when they get a couple pieces of spam. My solution is to buy those people a keyboard with 2 delete buttons and no "@" key.

/lives in state with extremely tight anti-spam laws and doesn't have to deal with much.
//also uses gmail - lowest false-positive of any free email.
///made that stat up - but they're very very very good.

Sorry... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182215)

... but this probably wouldn't work because it seems to be a hastle for the people who would use it, from your white paper:

"The defining characteristic of the client above (1) is that it does not allow placing of a large number of e-mail addresses in the to: cc: or bcc: sections (does not allow sending of the same message to more than e.g. 50 recipients) unless each one of the recipients has expressly given his authorization to the sender to be included in such a multiple e-mail distribution list/mass emailing from that sender."

I run a mailing list for a society that I am the chairman of, at the moment we are fairly small and as such it wouldn't matter if I sent the weekly newsletter to all members under your system (being less than 50 of them). Next year we will be expanding through a more intensive marketing campaign and better organisation. Let us suppose that we get 49 members, I can happily send this out to everyone on the list and we are all happy. One week later another member joins and we now have 50 so I would have to send out 50 e-mails individually asking people to go somewhere, download something and accept to have e-mails from me when I am sending them out to everyone(they wouldn't do this... hell, getting them to turn up to a meeting is hard enough)... it seems a hastle. I would rather take my chances with maybe occasionally getting an e-mail which I can delete because it is obviously spam than have some of my legitimate e-mails being blocked or what have you. (if the cut off point is 50 or below and 51 or above move the numbers up to account for it)

Re:Sorry... (1)

sikandril (924466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182304)

I understand your misgivings in this situation, but the fact remains that these restrictions (less than X recipients per e-mail sent) are already in place in most HTML based e-mail solutions as well as in traditional POP3 based ones (e.g the major ISP's over here have implemented a 'less than 50 policy' for customers).

So yes, it requires an additional software layer IF you have a POP3 account or something similar. However, HTML based e-mail solutions can implement this transparently to the users. Think of the opposite situation where individuals who installed this on their computers and happen to be on your distribution list will ask YOU to join in. We all know whitelisting sucks, but the twist here is that a single legit message will always get through.

Re:Sorry... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182451)

And it forgets rule #1 of secure programming

never trust the client

Re:Sorry... (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15201079)

Can't a spambot just as easily send 500 separate messages in a row to 500 recipients as send one email with 500 people in BCC?

Doesn't allow unix /var/mail access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182222)

Seems like I would use my "mail" command. Unacceptible!

A glorified white-list, eh? (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182232)

So, let's see, it's a glorified white-list relying on a central server and a dedicated email client. Ignoring the fact that we already have white lists (they don't work) and that a dedicated email client is a silly idea (you still have to cater for everyone who doesn't want to use it (e.g. spammers), so it's useless), how exactly do you imagine that central server thing working? Specifically, what happens if the server goes down? Email stops working? Or does your anti-spam system stop working? I bet it's the latter. It better not be the former!

Oh well.

The one good thing about your system then would be that the time and duration of the DDOS attacks against your server will give interesting statistics about when spammers like to send their crap out.

I don't know if there is a solution to spam, but this isn't it. (It just occurred to me that finding a solution to spam is NP. I need to get out more.)

I appreciate your effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182299)

However, I feel your efforts would stop more spam if you were to aquire some AK-47s and hunt spammers. Make a documentary about it and upload it to video.google.com to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt into future would-be spammers.

Time to fill out the form again. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15191033)

However, I feel your efforts would stop more spam if you were to aquire some AK-47s and hunt spammers. Make a documentary about it and upload it to video.google.com to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt into future would-be spammers.

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (X) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(X) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(X) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Almost waterproof? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182453)

As you will see the system provides an almost 'waterproof' solution

Would you go out to sea in an almost waterproof boat?

Would you drink coffee from an almost waterproof cup?

Re:Almost waterproof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15182792)

People drink coffee from almost waterproof cups all the time. You know, they're the ones made out of paper.

Re:Almost waterproof? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183831)

There ain't no such thing as a waterproof boat. That's what bilge pumps are there for. Check out how many ships are continously pumping water out.

Oh, that's right. American's aren't allowed to look at their ships anymore, in case they're planning a bombing mission.

Disposable email addresses (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182459)

The only way to prevent spam without completly reconstructing the email system is to use disposable email addresses.

Give a different email address to every person that wants to be able to contact you. If one address gets compromised, disable it. Good email servers even have support for creating aliases using the + sign. (User+code@example.com will be sent to User@example.com). What is missing is an email client that automatically generates and tracks codes for each person you know.

The above method only works with personal email. Since public email addresses can't be revoked every time a spam bot picks them up it becomes a little more difficult. One way to reduce spam on these kind of addresses is to time limit them so the address is valid for a limited time only.

The advantage with the method I have described is that it is a technical solution that doesn't need redesigning of email on a global scale. The biggest problem is that it isn't possible to give an email address to someone when you don't have access to the email client. This could of course be solved by pregenerating a bunch of addresses that can be printed out and kept on a piece of paper.

Re:Disposable email addresses (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182478)

The easy way around that is getting your client to recognise when a user+tempcode@example.com address is used it asks you when it should expire when you recieve the first mail with it.
Hell, you should be able to expire any temp address and move all future mails to the bin without your oversite.

That way you can happily give out addresses without the client and pick up the pieces later.

Re:Disposable email addresses (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183821)

yeah, great.

So what email address do I print on my business card or company letter head ?

spamgourmet.com does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184116)

I've been using spamgourmet.com for a while now, and it works relatively well. Once you have an account with them, you can generate disposable addresses on the fly which encode a maximum number of messages that will be allowed through (you can change this number later if needed, or specify certain senders that will be allowed to use that address indefinitely). Allowed mail forwards to an address you set; blocked mail gets deleted. You can look up stats on all your disposable addresses to see which keep getting spammed long after it's stopped reaching you.

It's not a perfect solution, but it has been extremely handy and has lots of options I haven't even tried yet.

Separate Protocol Needed (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182526)

Really, what's needed is a second mail system. This communications system would take advantage of all we've learned in the 30 years or so since the first e-mail system was implemented. It would include voice, video, and IM communications as hooks to try to get people to join. Communication would necessarily be secure, signed, and verified along the channel to protect against attack. It would be somewhat decentralized, well-routed, and wouldn't fall prey to the middle-of-the-day mail floods.

In short, it would look to the end user a lot like AIM with a reliable delayed-send function.

It wouldn't be required, it wouldn't solve the problem short-term. But it can't just be "e-mail without spam" It needs to not just solve the problem elegantly but add functionality so that people actually use it.

Why was the Usenet abandoned? It wasn't just because it was a crapflood... it always was a crapflood. It was abandoned because something better came along: the high culture that are the forums of the Internet.

Replace e-mail with something that makes it utterly obsolete, or come up with solutions that don't require users to change. People aren't going to change their behaviors unless something tremendously better is available to them.

Re:Separate Protocol Needed (1)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15185699)

There are lots of conflicting features that are desired, but I'd still like to see what features a new email system could have.

Off the top of my head, I can think of;
. Better handling of mailing lists/discussion groups/chat rooms.
. Return recipit.
. Unforgable ID's (or at least hard to forge).
. No central authority.
. Standardized rendering of non-english alphabets.
. Standardized video/voice rendering
. A lot less spam (not sure how to do it, but I'm sure I want it).
. Attachments
. Better error handling (especially for multi-recipient emails)
. Standard per message rejection - i.e. if I refuse email containing html, the sender should know that I do.

I'd really like to know what other people would want.

This post is SPAM (1)

intrepidsilence (318395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182529)

This is nothing short of a sneaky way to advertise a would be product for interest. Translated, it is SPAM about a product the author knows wont work but he also knows there are enough people out there, who don't get it, who will eventaully pay for it. Somebody hand me the puke bucket...

New idea (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182555)

While I was thinking about the OP's half-assed Microsoft-plagiarized antispam idea, I realized a slightly modified idea might work. You see, most antispam systems that can see your mailbox will whilelist everyone in your address book, and everyone you send emails to. Now clients like Thunderbird could once a day send your address book, and whoever you sent emails to, to a central server which will just collect the addresses and mark them. Emails which have a high incidence of ending up in someones address book will be given higher points which means theyre less likely spam addresses. All thats needed here is the client developers' cooperation like Mozilla, outlook, lotus etc.

Of course theres the whole issue of people allowing their addresses and address books to be sent to some server outside. *shudder*

Re:New idea (1)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182597)

Unless spammers start setting up servers under the guise of security to harvest mails you send to them. Or that people who don't mark spam religiously have their dirty addressed uploaded because it is set on by default. Or.... or... or... Nope, next.

              -Charlie

I already found my spam solution... (0, Offtopic)

dtdns (559328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182940)

ModusMail [modusmail.com] by Vircom. Assuming you have a Windows server and a bunch of cash to throw at the problem, spam is pretty much toast with their software. Yeah, I know it's not FOSS, but it is the best tool for the job in my situation and worth a look.

SpamAssassin and diversity (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182990)

If you get into SpamAssassin and play around, it becomes as leak proof as anyone really needs.

There are always going to be imperfections. Wise people plan for imperfection, rather than trying to hammer the world into one method.

Also, isn't there something to be said for software diversity?

Perhaps we'd like to recall the fun of Sasser and cousins thanks to the fact that everyone runs Windows.

Yup. Getting everyone on one system sure helped there, right?

SpamAssassin's one problem: near perfection. (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183087)

The only problem with SpamAssassin is that it is ALMOST perfect.

Most of my users have setup rules so that the stuff SpamAssassin tags is automatically dumped into their trash. But they don't bother checking their trash much any more. They expect the system to always be right.

Which still leads to the situation where someone thinks you've received their message but you haven't read it because it scored just over the spam level and it's sitting in your trash can.

I would prefer a system that rejected messages at the SMTP connection time rather than one that tags suspected spam after accepting it. I run Exim4 at work and it does pretty good. Of course, I still run the messages through SpamAssassin. We're down from 80% of all accepted email being spam to only 5%.

Re:SpamAssassin's one problem: near perfection. (1)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186930)

Quarantine management is the biggest problem with most anti-spam solutions. My feeling is that mail should be rejected at the MTA or have such a high confidence level that you can leave quarantine management to IT.

My mail path looks something like this:

    Greylisting (Postgrey) -> xbl.spamhaus.net (Only rbl I trust enough for a hard block) -> Custom Perl Filter to Spot UK Phishing Attempts -> SpamAssassin (Tags at 13) with ocrtext.pm/RBL+/Mailpolice -> ClamAV -> NOD32 -> Mailbox

SpamAssassin is set at a very high level and any matching messages are redirected to a single central mailbox for review. I also capture copies of any messages scoring between 10 and 13 to check if any are just slipping below the threshold. There have been no false positives in the central mailbox since this system has been running and very rarely does a SPAM make it through on a 10-13.

Every so often to verify performance I'll capture a days e-mail and manually check for SPAM, usually it's only one or two pieces of SPAM making it through in about 8,000 non-spam mails and these are almost always nigerian fraud rather than your typical SPAMs. That puts accepted SPAM at 0.025%. The key to this success is Greylisting at the first stage.

As posted in a previous message in this thread, greylisting gets rids of all the viruses too. ClamAV and NOD-32 have virtually no work at all. They catch only 1 or 2 virus infected messages a month.

From my users perspective they have no quarantine to mess around with and need not know anything about the anti-spam/anti-virus system. Theres no attachment blocking / quarantine either, thanks to the strengths of greylisting/clamav/nod32.

Jason.

Re:SpamAssassin's one problem: near perfection. (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192622)

My path looks like this:

Reverse DNS check (sendmail) -> SBL/XBL (Spamhaus) -> Greylisting milter -> SPF milter -> SpamAssassin -> procmail -> deliver

The key element is procmail. Each user's procmail rules filter all spam scoring 10+ into a special folder that is initially defined as /dev/null, but can be changed by the user to a local folder if they wish to review it (in periodic reviews of my own mail box, I have never seen a false positive that scored 10+)

All of the rest of the spam (5+) gets a modified subject line and is delivered normally. My users are quite happy with this arrangement, since almost all spam that is delivered is appropriately marked, but when real mail gets a false positive, they see it.

I also do a few other things after the fact:

1) A script reviews the logs and blocks all traffic from high-volume spam sources (iptables)
2) I use SPF records so that I get a reduced bounce load, and generally to be a better citizen
3) I periodically write my own SpamAssassin rules to recognize newly emerging trends and give them a small bump.

Blue Security (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15182997)

Why not use Blue Security's hashed "do not intrude" list? It comes with a spam reporting software, which (after manual processing by hired experts on the Blue Security facilities) sends complaints to the website in question.

Re:Blue Security (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183811)

Because it appears to be a windows only solution

Re:Blue Security (1)

sidney (95068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211009)

Why not use Blue Security's hashed "do not intrude" list?

Your own journal entry [slashdot.org] demonstrates how Blue Security's Blue Frog software can't work on much of the spam. And there are other reasons why it can't work on most spam. After reading Blue Security's FAQ, I see the following six fallacies, just off the top of my head... Actually they can be summarized as, "How can you possibly expect automated complaints to a form on a spamvertised website (if there even is a feedback or complaint form) will shame a spammer into not spamming as long as they continue to turn a profit from it?"

1) much spam does not include URLs to websites; 2) if the spam is advertising a web site, there is no reason for the owner to even have a form for opting out of their spam mailings or for complaints or feedback; 3) if Blue Frog is at all successful there is no way they can manually identify spamvertised web sites and the complaint link for each and prepare a script to automate filing a complaint to the particular form used by each; 4) if a spamvertised web site does have a customer feedback or request form they have no reason to not simply delete complaints about spam; 5) even if they cared a tiny bit, they have no control over who the spam mailing service they hired (who could even be connected to the Russian Mafia) actually sends spam to; 6) the spam mailing services get paid to send X million emails, not to send X million emails to valid addresses of people who have not indicated that they don't want spam. Their customers pay for the results they get and don't care how much wasted email is used to get the results. The spam mailing service has no reason to conserve bandwidth when they are using botnets of infected machines to do the actual work.

Actually, spam filtering is working pretty well. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183008)

Spam filtering technology is now working pretty well. That's what's driving this new "sender pays to bypass the filters" stuff. The spam filters don't care if there's some excuse under CAN-SPAM to let it through; they just recognize it as bulk mail selling something and delete it. Sellers hate that. Which is a good reason to keep the filters honest.

The real effect of CAN-SPAM has been that most spam either gets deleted by filters, or involves a felony by the sender. The remaining spammers are either selling drugs illegally, trying to manipulate the stock market, or running a scam. That's ordinary law enforcement work, and it's now routine to hear of spammer arrests and convictions. We used to just have ineffective civil suits. That's over. Now they're doing hard time. It's not a safe business to be in any more.

SpecialHam.com [specialham.com] is still up, and the usual suspects are still at it: "Looking for people with botnets to run ads! pm me for more details". But it's clearly a board for the clueless now.

Re:Actually, spam filtering is working pretty well (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 8 years ago | (#15185319)

The remaining spammers are either selling drugs illegally, trying to manipulate the stock market, or running a scam. That's ordinary law enforcement work, and it's now routine to hear of spammer arrests and convictions.

Um, no. Spammers have been performing illegal scams and stock market manipulations ever since the first spammer. And I've never heard of any of them getting arrested. Heck, every time send such a scam to my local law enforcement agency, nothing happens and I don't even get so much as a reply telling me to go away.

Re:Actually, spam filtering is working pretty well (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186670)

Several cases of spammers getting arrested and sent to jail (usually for crimes other then sending spam) have been reported on Slashdot; maybe you just weren't paying attention?

But you're right anyway. It hasn't been enough to make a difference.

Re:Actually, spam filtering is working pretty well (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186726)

Spam filtering technology works well enough that I only get an average of one spam every seven hours in my inbox. The rest are filtered - which of course I have to verify to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Some other things apparently forgotten (1)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183010)

In the posts I see here (I didn't read them all so I may have missed it) noone seems to have mention this HAS been thought of before and it never took off for the same reason that many have mentioned. I know I wouldn't consider using something of this nature for many of the already mentioned reasons.

Being perfectly honest, as an ISP I wouldn't mind spam NEAR as much as I do if the @#$%@#%@# would atleast clean out invalid email addresses from time to time and wouldn't resort to harvest attacks. I'm still getting email going to accounts that haven't existed for almost 10 years. But then, if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their butts when they jumped.

Hear that, spammers? If you didn't abuse so many people's networks....we probably wouldn't loathe you so much.

Umm wow tons of problems. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15183173)

No offence but you are uber optimistic.

12 hour key rotation for the database for probably the trillion e-mail addresses that are active?

keys are inserted by the client of the sender and not by the actual smtp server? gee well I sent that e-mail to you 24 hours ago I wonder why it didnt show up... smtp servers couldnt connect for 12 hours and so my keys expired.

wow I my name being directly tied to my e-mail address so the cops can just look at the centralize database.

I can just see the lag as every single person who uses e-mail requests a key at the same moment.

Nothing like a small bomb to take out the net.

wow and people wont be able to track when I sent e-mails or when I read them.

Centralization is great for all systems

lets just rant more and more

You still get spam? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15183178)

I stopped accepting spam and wrote an article [freesoftwaremagazine.com] about it. Free tools exist today to restrict almost all UCE, so I'm not sure why there's a great rush to fix a non-broken system by replacing it with a giant unknown.

I have a better idea (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184093)

My idea for a completely "spam-proof" system:

Have the mailserver check that the OpenPGP signature on every message corresponds properly to the sender and is not on a blocked list. Otherwise, or if the message is not signed, it goes in /dev/null.

There's little point doing this on the outgoing SMTP server because most spam is sent from hastily-bodged-up SMTP servers running on compromised Windows boxes. It really should be done on the POP3 server {which, of course, receives mail by SMTP but then drops it in /var/mail/$LOGNAME and users pick it up by POP3}.

Insisting on signatures would also mean that all users would have access to decent strength encryption {since it's the same key pair ..... the public and secret keys are inverse functions of each other, so if you encrypt a known plaintext with the secret key, anyone with the public key can decrypt it ..... but only the person who knew the secret key could have encrypted it in the first place}. I don't think that can be a bad thing at all.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Athanasius (306480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184646)

1) Read /. article
2) Check the linked-to article. Good, nothing about sending back a 'rejection' to the sender of an unapproved email, which you were going to bitch about on the grounds that it's as bad as spam itself. Remember that you DO harangue anyone running a whitelist anti-spam system that spams *you* when some spammer spoofs your email address in the From field.
3) Have it occur rather quickly to you that this 'key' system already exists, it's called PGP.
4) Look at /. comments, search for 'PGP'
5) Find this post.

*applause*. You beat me to it :).

People are still wasting time on this nonsense? (1)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15185292)

Just install greylisting on your mail server, and you just got rid of ~98% of your spam with next to no effort, and with no ongoing maintenance requirements. Now if you care about the 2%, throw in a couple regex filters to block shit like forged gmail/yahoo mail, and mail with helo/ehlo with your mail server's name.

hashcash-based blocking system (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186131)

You want a proposal for spam blocking? Here's a proposal, based on a "hashcash" paradigm.

When someone sends an email, they take the sender's email address, the receiving address, and 8 random alphanumeric characters (we'll call this "K"). The sender then initializes an 8-byte counter starting at 8 x 0x00. The sender then does a SHA-1 hash of the string with the counter appended on the end, and then increments the counter and repeats until the last 4 bytes of the SHA-1 are 0x00. It then saves the number of steps it took to reach this point, increments the counter again, and repeats the process until it has a list of 12 increments where the SHA-1 result is zero. It then sends this list, along with "K", in the email header. (It can also cache this for future use.)

The receiver takes "K" along with the email addresses and verifies that it gets SHA-1 hash results that are zeros with those counter increments.

The end result is, it takes a significant amount of processing power to send a (first) email, which should be acceptable to someone sending a legitimate message but will significantly slow down the performance of a spambot.

Re:hashcash-based blocking system (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192437)

The end result is, it takes a significant amount of processing power to send a (first) email, which should be acceptable to someone sending a legitimate message but will significantly slow down the performance of a spambot.

And the end result would be...spammers using 250,000 zombies to send a given spam instead of 150,000. No noticable change in volume of spam.

Re:hashcash-based blocking system (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15193518)

Spammers are already using as many zombies as they can get hold of. This has the potential for reducing the total amount of spam by a factor of 10 or so, which would IMO be worthwhile.

Anti-SPAM appliance (1)

MobileConcierge (970466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192838)

New to the group so bear with me... I have an SMB and when we went looking for an Anti-SPAM appliance we came accross the DS200 (see http://www.tyrnstone.com/emailfilter.asp [tyrnstone.com] if interested). Got a positive review from Brian Livingston at WindowsSecrets.com So far so good. Has anybody else seen/reviewed the DS200?
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