$!?#$@*?! Spam!

Volume 6, Issue 29; 03 Jun 2003

Enough already!

Upon the whole I dislike mankind: whatever people on the other side of the question may advance, they cannot deny that they are always surprised at hearing of a good action and never of a bad one.

Keats

I'm sure it's passé to write essays decrying the prevalence of spam, but:

  1. I hit a new highwater mark a couple of days ago, 835 messages overnight, 718 spam.

  2. Some malicious bastardsOr some poor innocents infected with some malicious bastard's virus. are forging the return address on their spam to point to me this week. And some other vandals (or possibly the same ones) are forging the return address to point to one or the other of the DocBook mailing list addresses. So, not only do I get dozens and dozens of bounce and “virus found” messages from MTAs and firewalls for my own address, I get them for at least two other addresses as well. And those messages don't count as spam in the statistic above.

    Time was when I really cared about bounces. I still care, but I honestly can't keep up. I'm “this close” to filtering bounce messages as spam.

  3. I've spent enough time on the road recently to be sure that the increasing volume of spam has passed all reasonable thresholds for dialup access. With a broadband connection, several megabytes of spam is a pain in the ass. Over dialup in a hotel room, it's intolerable.

    (Server-side, rather than client-side, filtering would ease the burden, but that's a couple of days work at least. And it's not quite worth a couple of days work to me...yet.)

I've no solutions to offer, alas. The combination of spamassassin and spambayes helps, but it's only just barely enough.

And I don't actually feel any better now that I've vented. Rats.

Oh, For Crying Out Loud!

Spam in Gnus
Spam in Gnus

I didn't bother to count how many copies of that spam I got over the course of ten minutes, but it was a whole bunch. And a brief examination reveals that it was being sent to addresses like this one:

To: <87n0gcyf0f.fsf@nwalsh.com>

You can see what's happened, right? Some heedless miscreant has harvested a bunch of email addresses off the web somewhere (with a little digging I might even be able to figure out from where) by searching for things that look like email addresses. But the damned fool's script isn't clever enough to recognize that message identifiers have that form:

From: Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>
Subject: Some Subject
To: some-archived-list@example.org
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 11:36:51 -0400
Message-Id: <87n0gcyf0f.fsf@nwalsh.com>
User-Agent: Gnus/5.1001 (Gnus v5.10.1) Emacs/21.1 (gnu/linux)
...

Curse his eyes! I'm sure glad my filters catch most of this garbage.