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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Saturday March 02, 2002
04:31 AM

Mail attack

[ #3240 ]

Yuck - yesterday I ended up being a part of an attack on someone's mail server. I got over 100 emails in my spam trap box (because none were addressed to me directly), from someone's hacked mail server at A portugese (I think) web site where they've now put up an apology on the site. Very frustrating. But it does make me wonder if the site is a spammer themselves, because it was all coming to one of my trap emails that I never use.

The humourous thing was that some of the emails actually came from where I work, telling me I tried to send a virus, which of course I had no hand in. Intruiging - I'm going to have to talk to the admins about this one, because there's been a few problems in the past with sending our "You tried to send a virus" to mailing lists, rather than to the original author - which gets us into deep shit (understandably, of course - very bad juju to do that).

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  • Since the same thing happened to me yesterday. Lots of bounce mail, subscription confirmation requests, and some "You sent us a virus" mail, all apparently originating from their webmaster account.

    Wonder if someone's using CPAN e-mail addresses or something.
    • Nope. Mine were to modperl @, whereas my CPAN stuff comes direct to matt @ I've never used modperl in direct mailings, so it must have been picked up by some crawler. Maybe the site deserved the attack, but I (and everyone else) certainly didn't.

      Intruigingly there's an article at the top of Slashdot right now talking about a very similar incident, but not the same.
    • For a few weeks, I've been getting occasional messages "from" perl5-porters-subscribe, Tim Bunce, and others in the Perl community that really aren't from them at all, but from mail servers in Poland and Russia, often containing viruses. I've even gotten a few bounces (and stories from other people) of messages I've apparently "sent" to others, showing similar characteristics.
  • I added this to my .procmailrc:

    * lusoglobal

    That caught it. Yesterday was a bad day for email for me too--tchrist fixed a config bug on one of his training machines that caused it to finally be able to deliver about 9 months of 6-hourly cron messages on CPAN updates. I filtered those from my mailbox after 250ish and then added another procmail entry to shitcan the rest.

    I love procmail. Between procmail and spamassassin, I'm a happy bunny boy.