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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Friday July 04, 2003
08:33 AM

Then t' ducks 'll come an' ate up t' worms

[ #13250 ]

I'm not the first to say this, and I won't be the last

Challenge-response systems suck

In the good old days, if someone wrote a worm for Windows that sends a mail to a third party address with an envelope faked as if I sent it then one of two things could happen:

  1. It is delivered to that address - I see nothing
  2. It fails to reach that address, and I see a bounce.

Count that carefully - at most, one worm mail generates one message to me.

Enter challenge response systems. This is the third message I have had asking to confirm the message that "I" sent:

Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 19:02:30 -0700
From: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx
X-MB-Message-Source: MailblocksSystem
X-MB-Message-Type: ChallengeReminder
Subject: Re: Re: Movie [Reminder]

Final Reminder:

You have sent email to my Mailblocks spam-free email service.
Because you have not yet confirmed yourself, your messages still
have not been delivered.

It's simple. To prove your message comes from a human and not a
computer, go to: nx2rcw**

Here is a list of the email messages you have sent that are in my
Pending folder waiting for your quick authentication:

Sent: Deletion Time: Subject:
---------------- --------------- -----------------------------
Jun 26, 06:58 PM Jul 10, 06:58 PM Re: Movie

Please note if you have not confirmed by the deletion times shown
above, your messages will automatically be deleted.

Email for Humans... Mailblocks
Try Mailblocks web-based personal email -- faster, cleaner interface, more
storage, bigger attachments, and 100% spam-free.

(c) 2003 Mailblocks Inc. All rights reserved.

Notice how I can't shut them up even I want to - there is no link to click to say "forget it, this wasn't me". I've been quite tempted to click on that link to let the message through - after all, in the short term, I lose nothing by doing that, but gain silence. Maybe there is a good use for all these Windows worms - I hope that all these challenge-response store systems are suffocating under the weight of SOBIG and Klez, and we soon will be rid of them.

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