Friday 28 April 2006

Tips for your new anti-spam idea

So you have a fantastic new idea to solve the spam problem once and for all? Of course, you're sure it'll work brilliantly and you're sure nobody else has thought of it.

Sounds like you've come up with what spam fighters call a FUSSP -- a Final Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem. Vernon Schryver maintains a list of fallacies that appear again and again from FUSSP inventors. It's fairly impenetrable to those outside the spam-fighting clique (as some think of it). So here are a few rephrased highlights. Think of them as tips to prevent making yourself look foolish:

  • Don't assume that spammers are stupid.
  • Don't rely on email recipients changing their behavior with nothing to show for it.
  • Don't rely on other email senders responding to automatic challenges (or on victims of challenges sent to forged addresses not to respond).
  • Don't rely on all ISPs, web hosts, and registrars being active, reponsible, spam-hating net citizens.
  • Don't propose replacing SMTP, DNS, TCP/IP, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes/Domino, or other immovable objects.
  • Know what these terms mean: tarpit, DNSBL, HELO, EHLO, MX, RMX, MTA, MUA, DCC.
  • Know the difference between the SMTP envelope and header.
  • If your scheme requires a new standard, make sure you understand how standards are set on the Internet -- at a minumum, read and understand RFC 2223 and RFC 2026.
  • With few exceptions, strangers won't pay money to send you mail.

1 comment:

tzink said...

I know this is an old post, but I just came across it.

I really like this post, I think it's great. I think it illustrates the challenges that the anti-spam industry has when trying to stop spam. Spammers are constantly adapting their techniques, and users want us to to stop it while changing their own behaviour as little as possible.

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