ISP Fantasies and Reality (was Re: Webone blocking port 25??)

Alex Satrapa grail at
Fri Jul 26 11:02:59 EST 2002

On Friday, July 26, 2002, at 09:13 , Matthew Hawkins wrote:

> Rather - it lets any customer use the ISP's mail server to relay spam,
> and hence get that ISP and ALL their customers blacklisted, regardless
> of the fact that the individuals at the ISP and their other customers
> did not spam.

Because, of course, you have your relay set up to prevent people 
bulk-mailing.  I once worked for a company where it was decided not to 
put limits on the number of recipients on an email message, and the 
limit on attachment size was set to 10Mb.

One day, a particularly clownish member of staff send out an email 
message.  To "his close friends".  All 2000 of them.  With a couple of 
Word documents attached.  Each message was about 2Mb.

Something as simple as a recipient count limit would have prevented the 
incident from occuring.  Who needs SirCam when you have Clowns?

You can also impose mail throughput limits on some servers - limiting 
the number of emails sent by one client per minute/hour/day.

> It also makes it extremely helpful to spammers.

It also makes it extremely easy for ISPs to stop spamming at the source.

> Rubbish.  The Windows virus just looks up your email client's SMTP
> relay host and mails via it instead of trying to go directly.

At which point the ISPs SMTP relay has a chance to catch the virus-laden 
email before it leaves the network.

> Rubbish again.  heuristic scanning picks up "virus-like" code in
> anything executing, and can be used to flag potential viruses that the
> scanner doesn't yet have a definitive signature for.  This has been
> standard practise for 8 years or more.

And yet SirCam managed to infect machines on a network that had 
virus-scanners on email and workstations.

> ... similarly the blame doesn't rest on the ISP when a customer does 
> something stupid.

There's a big difference between who the blame settles on and who cops 
the flak.

> The ISP should only be concerned with protecting their own systems from
> everyone else.

"everyone else" starts with the first customer.

> The regulations are nothing more than a band-aid patch to the problem
> that people aren't considerate of others.

News flash!  People as a whole haven't always been considerate of 
others. Selfishness isn't indigenous to the 20th/21st Century.

> Why doesn't buying a computer require a license so dumb people can't 
> get them?

Start a Non-Windows ISP where customers have to pass an "Internet 
Licence" and get a sysadmin certification before getting a connection.  
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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