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Can the spam problem be solved? //at 02:23 //by abe

from the never-say-never-again dept.

Many have tried to solve spam problem, even Micrsoft (with a quite strange solution ;-), but except personal solutions like well working and well-kept spam filters, no well-working general technical solution has been found yet.

Although I really would like to see a technical solution and often think about this problem, I currently believe that this primarily is a social problem which cannot be solved solely with technic. UserFriendly’s Erwin seems to see it the same way and proposed today a quite drastical solution.

There are good ideas out there (e.g. SPF, RBL, Greylisting and Teergrubing), but all seem to have their problems, too. Especially RBL often have administrative problems, i.e. if an entry is justified or not. Greylisting simply can be bypassed by being SMTP conform and trying again, so it’s usefulness will decrease permanently. And against Lutz Donnerhacke’s teergrubing, spammers seem to have found workarounds quite quickly. Haven’t heard much about it in the last years. (I just can’t remember what the drawback of SPF was.)

For myself I’ve solved the spam problem with a learning SpamAssassin and sorting mail by spam-level into several mailboxes. The higher the spam-level of such an inbox, the more seldom I look into it. Works fine. For me. No general solution though, since the SpamAssassin needs to be fed with fresh spam regularly.


Re: Can the spam problem be solved?

Posted by: TNKS
Time: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 12:50


I was doing something similar to that kind of spamassassin filtering, but someone on-line turned me on to a neat service that's free -- It's not a solution, but it allows me a lot of flexibility with respect to keeping my E-mail private. Additionally, I can give out unique addresses to individuals in the public, and have Sneakemail route it all to whatever account I choose. If I get spammed, I have a clear record of which of my public accounts went sour and I can deal with it far more efficiently. Also, I know where the leak is.

Actually, they offer support for grey-listing too, but I haven't used it yet. For me, it's just nice to have control over the spam through fancier routing options. I guess the down side is that your public identity is fractured. Oh well.


Drawbacks of SPF

Posted by: Erich Schubert
Time: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 15:15

SPF has certain drawbacks, some of which apply to big providers such as GMX anyway - they break forwardings and distribution lists (not proper mailing lists, though). SPF allows you to specify which mail servers may send emails with your domain - and that's where it breaks, because email forwards and distribution lists don't change the sender. This is happening with GMX already. Send an email from GMX to a distribution list containing another GMX address - it won't arrive, because GMX doesn't accept emails with gmx-senders from non-gmx-mailservers. With GMX the user might be able to disable this filter, though, on a per-user basis. Few providers will be able to offer such fine-grained configuration. Using SPF to just score higher in SpamAssassin is probably fine - SpamAssassin should be able to whitelist distribution lists and recognize intentional email forwards (or could be made to do so)


Re: Can the spam problem be solved?

Posted by: nion
Time: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 19:35

Did you try crm114?


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This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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