SPAM Dictionary Attacks

January 30, 2008 in Staff Blogs by admin  |  Comments Off on SPAM Dictionary Attacks

We’ve had a few people asking about our spam filtering lately, and the volume of spam, both marked and unmarked that customers are receiving. Below is an example of just one of the ways spammers try to get mail to your email account.

The list below is directly from the mail log of one of the mail servers. These messages were all to the same domain, (although we’ve changed the domain). None of these users are valid, and these messages were all received in a few minutes. We edited the list before we got to the end of “a”, but it does go on.

You get the idea.

These are messages that the users at “” will not see, because in all likelyhood, the spammers never hit any of their actual email addresses, but each of these messages were filtered and discarded by our system. If you happen to have your “Catch-All” set to forward all mail to your domain to your email address, then you get all of these.

The most common question, (after “Why do they do this?”) is “Why not just block where the messages are coming from?” It’s a good question. The answer is, they came from all over Europe. Computers in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, etc. There weren’t enough common sources to effectively block them. In addition, by the time we’ve accessed the log, determined there is a dictionary attack going on, and start tracking source addresses, they’ve hit us with thousands, or tens of thousands of messages, and have moved on. We also need to be careful in blocking addresses. May people receive mail from Europe. If we block an IP address from Europe that is trying to send real, wanted email, then their mail doesn’t go through.

We are looking for better methods to block dictionary attacks, but at the moment, the spam filters and mail servers are tasked with processing and filtering each of these messages.

— Smile Server Team

Posted in Staff Blogs.

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