RBL blocking emails by mistake?

John Rudd jrudd at
Sat Sep 9 06:18:03 IST 2006

How else do the spamtraps receive mail except by having the email 
address out there?  It gets out _somehow_.  Seeded some how, harvested 
by dictionary attacks, etc..  And once it has been obtained by a 
spammer, that address can then show up as a return-path in a message.

Obviously there's no way to know which addresses being responded to are 
spamtraps or not, but there's no other explanation for spamcop saying 
we sent spam to their spamtrap.  There's exactly two explanations:

1) one of our students just happens to know the spamtrap address and 
set their email to forward there instead of their yahoo account (so 
unlikely that the probability is vanishingly low)

2) a spamtrap showed up in the return-path of some message, and got 
replied to in a vacation message (not at all an unreasonable 
possibility, given that the addresses _are_ out there).

There aren't any other mechanisms that would have our mail servers 
sending a message to a spamtrap.  We don't send announcements outside 
of our campus (except via local accounts that forward to an outside 
address).  We don't buy address lists from anyone, etc.

And, yes, there are many things I don't know.

Things I do know for sure:

- there aren't any other explanations for what happened, because no 
other explanations fit our situation,

- autoresponders aren't evil,

- spamcop is run by morons.

On Sep 8, 2006, at 8:45 PM, James L. Day wrote:

> Excuse me, but why would a secret e-mail address at a spamtrap send a
> message to an auto-responder?  It wouldn't be secret for very long if 
> it
> were sending out e-mail messages...
> When you say "That seems to be what has happened to us" are you
> admitting there's actually something you don't know?
> Lynn
> John Rudd wrote:
>> On Sep 8, 2006, at 7:35 PM, Res wrote:
>>> On Fri, 8 Sep 2006, John Rudd wrote:
>>>>> if its that IP's first entry its delisted after 2 hours, then if
>>>>> your in it again its longer, and so on, each time gets longer, its
>>>>> a very fair process.
>>>> It would be a fair process if their criteria were reasonable and
>>>> accurate.
>>>> Since their criteria are neither, the process is anything but fair.
>>> That depends upon why there were listed, of course we all know
>>> spammers never see what they do as spamming, spamcop do have an
>>> automated listing process if you send to one of their spamtrap
>>> addresses, an address thats never real, never read, nerer given out
>>> to anyone, to send to this address means someones up to no good, be
>>> it deliberate or virus, either way its a
>>> legitmate listing IMHO caused by the sender.
>> Except of course that ... you're wrong.  Not just a little wrong, flat
>> out wrong.
>> Autoresponders, if they see a message from a spamtrap, will respond to
>> it.  That seems to be what has happened to us.  Multiple times.
>> Spamcop's position is that autoresponders are evil.  Which, of course,
>> means that Spamcop are a bunch of morons.  (sorry, not willing to
>> debate either point: autoresponders, such as vacation programs, aren't
>> evil; spamcop are morons: both are absolute truths)
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