open relays at Earthlink

Phil Howard phil at
Wed Aug 26 02:20:24 UTC 1998

Steven J. Sobol wrote:

> There is a company called TCPS that sends millions of spam messages in
> direct violation of UUNet's own AUP.
> They make exclusive use of resellers who lease UUNET dialups.
> According to UUNet abuse czar John Bradshaw, no fewer than 82 -- *82* --
> TCPS-held dialup accounts had been nuked by resellers; this number was 
> given sometime in early August, I think. They keep on getting new accounts
> with other companies.

Since UUNET does not immediately cut off all accounts that come from a
reseller because a spammer does, UUNET is _in_ _effect_ telling resellers
"that's OK".

If UUNET wanted to be proactive about spam, and truly carry out their policy,
and do so without filtering SMTP, then they would refuse to sign up all
accounts from spammers.  But of course reality is that this is not known.
Some things _may_ be possible to find this out, such as UUNET demanding the
CC numbers used and refusing CC numbers blocked for spamming.  But this is
only a limited measure as dedicated spammers seem to have an endless supply.

I actually got a recorded message on my telephone answering machine on an
offer how I could make money by using a computer that they actually will
supply to me to "distribute marketing material".  Gee, I wonder how this
works.  They were actually promoting this offer with the addition of "and
you do not even need to speak good English".  I wonder how many people are
going to become pawns in this cat and mouse game.

> Not that I care, I'm putting filters into place on my mail server that block
> mail from UUNet dialups and relays anyhow. But the answer to your question
> is, "It would save them a lot of trouble and money as there would be far
> fewer AUP violations to have to deal with."

Actually not.  UUNET, like many others, simply assign very limited resources
to deal with the spam complains.  They do not answer complains personally.
Before I put filters in, I did answer every complaint personally, that asked
for a response and did not make illegal threats.  I was very motivated to
get those filters in place.  UUNET is not motivated because spam complaints
actually make very little impact on their bottom line.  We have to make that
change, and the only way I see for that to happen is convince customers to
leave their service and move to another.

> Steve, don't even get me started on this. I've been spammed by UUNet

UUNET, like any business, has numerous policies that cover matters from what
customers are allowed to do and what services are to how operations and other
divisions of the company operate.  Having a policy that spells out that spam
is a bad thing is inconsist in a policy set if there is no corresponding policy
that requires operations to take reasonable and practical steps to prevent the
policies from being violated in the first place.

> I think there are people within the company who want to do the right thing,
> but I doubt the suits care.

They won't care until the bottom line starts shrinking.  And then they have to
figure out for themselves _WHY_ it is shrinking (since they are most likely not
actually going to listen to the technical advice of their hired staff).

And the suits don't read this e-mail.

Phil Howard | a6b7c5d0 at a1b3c2d6 at end9ads6 at
  phil      | eat02me8 at no03ads5 at suck7it0 at
      at    | stop1it6 at ads7suck at stop4096 at
  ipal      | end2it64 at crash341 at ads9suck at
     dot    | eat6this at stop4it5 at no68ads2 at
  net       | stop3it9 at suck8it6 at suck6it9 at

More information about the NANOG mailing list