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Emails without a subject

This message came through one of the mailing lists I read.


This is an automatic reply. My mailbox does not accept messages without a Subject. Your email did not appear to contain a Subject and was automatically deleted. Please re-send it with a meaningful subject and I will receive your message and respond.

Thank you!

While the fact that it went to the list is indicative of a rather broken auto-responder system, I thought the message itself was funny and maybe even a useful thing to do in certain limited cases. Although it might be most appropriate for subjects that consist of things like "read this" or "important" rather than blank.


Interesting spam trend

So I was looking at filter stats, and noticed an interesting trend on the spam time of day average graph. There's a base level of junk from knows sources, the level of which doesn't change much. But then there's an additional amount which has an interesting slope over the day. It's like the spammers wake up with a new set of accounts, machines and connections, and then it gets cut off as ISPs find it and take action. It seemed interesting.

Junk Mail Stats - Time of Day Averages


What ends up in spammer databases

These flagged in the log on one of the mail servers I manage. Normally we pretty much ignore unique invalid addresses, but the joys of UNIX history means the bangpath attempt got them flagged, drawing attention to them. Their database looks like a very interesting harvested database. Whoever allowed these into a form somewhere apparently wasn't validating email addresses well...

sendmail[30697]: k3B4dFsF030697: <!@#$%@******.***>... Invalid route address
sendmail[30870]: k3B4djbW030870: <!@#$%^&*@******.***>... Invalid route address
sendmail[30769]: k3B4dTD1030769: <!@#$%^@******.***>... Invalid route address
sendmail[30986]: k3B4e2Fi030986: <!@#$%^&@******.***>... Invalid route address

Initiate sbemail refresh daemon

Email can be annoying. Today apparently an email sent to 5 AOL members and marked as spam by one of them (which I didn't receive the scomp copy of until the issue was resolved) was enough to push one of the mail servers at work over to getting 421 tempfails from AOL's servers due to "[spam] complaints and/or high volumes of e-mail." Yea, it's wonderfully vague. It's amazing how much mail builds up to them in just a couple hours from a general (non-geek) population, and how much people expect email to be instant. Of course 10 minutes after I change the mail routing tables and forced a queue run to push the queued mail to a different server that isn't blocking mail, I notice a message to one of their alias domains go through. Figures. Yet another reason that spam (and the fighting thereof) is annoying...

On the good side, I did get a lot of old accounts that were just throwing mail around before waiting 5 days and bouncing it cleaned up. Over the past week I've changed them to do recipient checking at SMTP time, and after some log testing to also do sender checking. My mail queues are getting pretty clean now.