North American Network Operators Group

Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical

Re: Fw: Administrivia: ORBS

  • From: Barry Shein
  • Date: Tue Jan 18 16:34:56 2000

Sweep away every other objection I or anyone else has ever made about
these "open relay" attacks on spam and you're still left with one
basic problem:

They don't work.

Oh they might block a bit of spam here or there but mostly they harass
honest people until they close the barn door now that the horse (and a
thousand others from other barns) has run through your yard and is
headed off into the sunset.

It doesn't work. It doesn't work often enough to make any difference
and it's certainly not worth the time and effort people spend
discussing how to fine tune it.

    The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Were walking close at hand;
    They wept like anything to see
    Such quantities of sand:
    'If this were only cleared away,'
    They said, 'it would be grand!'

    'If seven maids with seven mops
    Swept it for half a year.
    Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
    'That they could get it clear?'
    I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
    And shed a bitter tear.

It's a hangover from a long-gone era when you could control behavior
on the internet by some form of banishment, and lacking control over
the end-user you threaten whomever they rely on for access.

But these spammers don't rely on anyone and are not answerable to
anyone as things stand, they just create throwaway dial-up accounts
and exploit a new open-relay every hour and probably just laugh their
asses off at the way they cause honest people to fight with each other
over their mess.

Meanwhile the spam streams more or less unabated.

We need a fresh approach, probably not a technical approach.

That's part of the absurdity, watching well-meaning techies try to
cure social problems with yet another patch to the code. It's the flip
side of people who try to destroy all of western civilization with a
PC virus.

But the first step is agreeing we have a problem and that these
approaches just do not work (by "not work" I mean wouldn't stand up to
even the most superficial cost/benefit analysis.)

Part of the problem is we have quite a cheering section of individuals
who hang out on these lists, are quite technical, but are not ISPs or
anything like ISPs.

They're the equivalent of limousine liberals who will tell you with
great stridency and authority how to fix urban problems but have never
gone near the city.

And that's one reason they tend to get verbally vicious when you
question their sacred cows, so you're distracted (or disgusted) from
noting that they're just armchair quarterbacks.

        -Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | [email protected]          |
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD
The World              | Public Access Internet     | Since 1989     *oo*