[Top] [All Lists]

[TenTec] A note about S_P_A_M

To: <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: [TenTec] A note about S_P_A_M
From: tbarnett@fairway.stdio.com (Tyler Barnett)
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 12:08:41 -0500 (EST)
I noticed the newsgroup got spammed recently, and there have been some
discussions about it. 

As a matter of fact, it IS possible to block this stuff, with the 
cooperation of the ISP (the mailing list provider).  And it's free.
Please bear with me for 2 pages, it's worth reading.

I was at a unix conference this October, and listened to a presentation 
by Paul Vixie, who is one of the gurus of DNS (Domain Name Services).
He has a DNS server on the internet that a lot of ISP's point at to 
resolve IP addresses.  What makes this name server so special is that it
"black-holes" known spam sites.  

The way it works is:
- The spammer sends an email to tentec@contesting.com (or you, or whomever).
- The ISP serving "contesting.com" has a sendmail process that goes out
  and asks the "black-hole" server about the domain address of the email.
- The black-hole server advises sendmail that it's from a known spam site.
- The mail server at contesting.com rejects the email, with a one-liner:
  "your email was rejected, see http://maps.vix.com/rbl/enduser.html";.
- The spam piles up on the server that the spammer lives on, NOT in your

The result of an ISP having his site "black-holed", is that most ALL his 
outgoing email piles up, and his users get real unhappy, real quickly.
Since disk space is finite, his mail system just might crash too. 
The usual result is that the ISP kicks the spammer out, calls Vixie's
people, and gets themselves off the Realtime Blackhole List.

Known spammers are quite upset about this policy, and have declared that
the First Amendment right to Free Speech allows them access to your
mailbox.  Vixie believes instead it amounts to theft of services by 
spammers, whom have threatened about a dozen times to sue over this.

During the session, Vixie stated that he actually WANTS to be sued by
someone over this, so that the issue can be taken to Court.
He also said "he has the support of people he trusts with deep pockets".

If he's ever lucky enough to get sued, one of 2 decisions will come down:
1 - The Court will acknowledge that spam is theft of services.  Then the
    Executive branch will pass spam laws.  End of spam.
2 - The Court will uphold that spam is free speech.  Then the black-hole
    list will cease to exist, and the Internet will collapse almost 
    immediately as the spam runs wild.  End of internet.

I'm betting that the public would be mad as hell about decision 2. 

I don't personally know who runs the ISP at contesting.com, but I'd bet
that they are using these measures already.  If not, they should be :-)
I think the spam we got just sneaked through, and that site will 
get blocked pretty quickly.  The first thing to do is send an email to
owner-tentec@contesting.com about it.  Reference if you have to the url
at http://maps.vix.com/rbl/reporting/html.

By the way, DO NOT EVER respond to a "remove list" to stop unwanted email.
They never remove your email address, they ADD it to their database.
See http://maps.vix.com/rbl/rational.html for more background.

Sorry to take up your bandwidth, but I thought you would like to know. 
Regards, Tyler N4TY  

FAQ on WWW:               http://www.contesting.com/tentecfaq.htm
Submissions:              tentec@contesting.com
Administrative requests:  tentec-REQUEST@contesting.com
Problems:                 owner-tentec@contesting.com
Search:                   http://www.contesting.com/km9p/search.htm

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • [TenTec] A note about S_P_A_M, Tyler Barnett <=