foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


A new spam storm - time to disable e-mail bounce messages?

, posted: 7-Aug-2008 05:45

My mailbox managed to fill itself with more than 1700 spam messages over night. The vast majority of those actually are bounce or 'blocked' messages ("Could not send message...", "Your message was blocked because...", "Undeliverable mail returned...", "Returned mail...", etc.).

Has anyone else seens an increase in these kinds of messages lately?

Clearly, this is the work of spammers indescriminately sending out messages to more or less randomly generated or expired addresses, using my e-mail as the 'From:' address. In my case the problem is exacerbated, because I have a domain where I set up a catch-all rule: A mail addressed to any (even non-existent) mailbox in my domain is forwarded to me. For a number of reasons, I need to keep it that way.

But looking at all these messages, I am wondering again whether it is not time to reconsider the sending of those bounce messages in the first place. I can't find the link right now, but I know I'm not the first one to think so...


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Comment by rscole86, on 7-Aug-2008 08:09

I've been getting them for years!
Even without a catch al, I still seem to get far too many. So I have always been deleting them as soon as they come in.

Still doesn't stop them from coming in though...


Comment by ictgeeknz, on 7-Aug-2008 08:11

My place of work is has been getting a large number of fake 'CNN.com Daily Top 10' e-mails recently.     The fake news links takes you to a site that tries to install a suspicious looking ActiveX control.


Comment by Mark, on 7-Aug-2008 08:23

I haven't had that problem yet so far, but no ones immune to these bastards. I don't have a catchall on my domain so that may help my case.


Comment by kinsten, on 7-Aug-2008 11:01

Yea, i removed my catch all feature & removed it from my hosting clients over a year ago.
Unless you have that Grey Box mail stopper or a mail server to filter spam, your going to get loads of spam.  But using a catch all is only going to multiply this number exponentially.

1700 a nite, ahhh those were the days.


Comment by sleemanj, on 7-Aug-2008 12:08

I still run a catchall, but I have mail filters setup so that any mail that doesn't contain one of my "expected" addresses gets dumped into a "probably junk" folder which I check periodically.  That combined with Spam Assassin does the job pretty well.


Author's note by foobar, on 7-Aug-2008 12:11

@sleemanj: Yes, I do the same thing (rules, spamassassin, etc.). And it works for me as well. The 'inbox' I was refering to in my posting is really my spam folder. I was just surprised about the sudden increase in volume, and was wondering if anyone else had seen this.


Comment by Kevin, on 22-Aug-2008 12:16

Yes, Spam levels have increased in the last month. One domain that I manage has gone from 10 to 12K of Spam a day to over 35K a day.


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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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