The new kind of spam coming from the good guys

First, there was spam. Dozens of mails every day trying get you to order Viagra or watches at a fraction of the retail price. Then there were viruses, Worms that spread rapidly and arriving in their hundreds every day. Both were a real irritation, and both had to be dealt with.

What many good people did was to implement both spam and virus filters. In theory this was great but in practice things are never perfect.

But in fact, my inbox is now fuller than ever. You can guess why: half of the incoming mails are “Your mail has been rejected because it contains a virus” or “… because it has been classified as spam”. Why is this? Most of you know the tricks of the current mail worms: they spoof the senders address. Anti-virus programs identify these addresses as being ‘spoofed’ but instead of deleting the mail, the antivirus gateway will send a return mail stating a “Your mail has been deleted because of a virus” back to the alledged sender.

Now these “blocked because of…” mails are nearly as irritating as spam! People who are protecting themselves against spam are causing others to suffer!

Therefore I call to everyone using spam- and virus-filters: ask your administrator them to stop sending replies to these spam mails! Call your network admin, call Symantec and McAfee and Panda, call the company managing your virus-protected mail system.

And I ask all companies and anyone developing gateways that filter and bounce spam and infected emails; do the obvious! If you know a virus uses spoofed sender addresses, make sure your gateway does NOT send a reply to the alledged sender!