Security

Spammers must correct their wrongdoing


From a BBC News article a few days ago (24 March 08) :"China is investigating a spam attack after almost half of China's mobile phone users received unwanted text messages from advertisers. Text messages were sent to more than 200 million mobile phone users through China Mobile and its smaller rival China Unicom. China's authorities said the spammers must 'correct their wrongdoing'.

"China Mobile earlier apologized for loopholes that allowed the spread of spam text messages. It has vowed to block text messages originating from seven online advertising firms, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. We urge parties concerned to beef up self-scrutiny to correct their wrongdoing, which is profit driven in defiance of public interests," said deputy head of the State Council Office for Rectifying Malpractice, Liu Yue."

I've had spam on the brain all day today. Starting Sunday evening, we came under a combined directory harvest attack and an NDR or Non-Delivery Receipt attack. Our spam filter could do nothing about these bogus NDRs because we normally allow all NDRs in. We want our users to know when they have a bounced e-mail. However, in this case the only solution was to start blocking all NDR's on the SMTP gateway.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to explain to a busy, non-technical executive why our spam filter (Commtouch) could not block these NDRs. I wrote about this in my last post but in the mind of the exec, there is no difference between a bogus NDR and spam. He wants it blocked and he wants it blocked now! Fine. We went back to the old keyword filter technology. Now ALL NDRs are being blocked - bad and good.

Maybe we should do like the Chinese government and put out a press release like the one quoted above in the BBC article. Make those nasty spammers take notice that profit-driven activities in defiance of public interests will not be tolerated and must be corrected. Our incoming e-mail has increased to 100,000 pieces per day. We have received 2.2 million in the last thirty days. 98% of e-mail in our company is blocked spam!

How would you like to have a job title like Deputy Head of the State Council Office for Rectifying Malpractice?

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