BAD FILENAME DETECTED: something.[common-extension].pdf

Kevin Miller Kevin_Miller at
Thu Sep 3 19:36:29 IST 2009

Most likely user error. Well, not error exactly, but user generated.  There are any number of tools out there such as pdf995 or pdfCreator that will allow you to "print" a document to a pdf file.  (Openoffice will export to a .pdf w/o a "printer" driver.)  Makes it easy to share something in a universal format.

What happens is users name their document "MyImportStuff.doc" then print/export to pdf via some mechanism which takes the original document name and appends .pdf to the end.  Presto, it becomes MyImportStuff.doc.pdf, MailScanner steps on it, and Linux users the world over have a good chuckle at the foolishness of Microsoft for hiding file extensions by default, thus making social engineering exploits that much easier for the bad guys...

Kevin Miller                Registered Linux User No: 307357
CBJ MIS Dept.               Network Systems Admin., Mail Admin.
155 South Seward Street     ph: (907) 586-0242
Juneau, Alaska 99801        fax: (907 586-4500 
-----Original Message-----
From: mailscanner-bounces at [mailto:mailscanner-bounces at] On Behalf Of Robert Lopez
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 10:19 AM
To: MailScanner discussion
Subject: BAD FILENAME DETECTED: something.[common-extension].pdf

In watching all the BAD FILENAME DETECTED emails MailScanner sends to Postmaster ( Doing a wonderful job! ) I have noticed a lot of files that have that last ".pdf" after ".doc", ".docx", ".xls", etc.

What is bothering me there are so many coming from US government agencies.

Is there any chance some applications used by government agencies actually produce files named like these?

Robert Lopez
Unix Systems Administrator
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
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