Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1998)

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Subject: Problem with annoyance attacks
From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 09:42:53 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . com (List Managers)
Reply-to: nolan @ tssi . com

Spencer Yost wrote:
> I have a user who has found a way to pester and annoy everyone on one of my
> lists.  Basically, he simply takes every message and forwards the message
> to a bogus user at another site (sites and names hidden to protect the
> innocent).  The remote site bounces the message with "No such user" ,
> ordinarily no problem, but the site incorrectly routes the error to the
> sender of a message rather than the address in the errors-to header of the
> message.

If this is auto forwarding, as opposed to a user selectively forwarding
posts, I've got a small UNIX shell script that will send test e-mail
to each individual address on your list.  (Depending on what you use
for list software, it might need some tweaking.)  I'll stick it at the
bottom of this post.  It does NOT have all the characteristics of a
list-generated message, so if that's part of the selection criteria,
manual or automatic, you'll need a bit more sophisticated trickery.
Creating a full message, including headers, and feeding it to sendmail
should work.

It sounds like the site receiving the forwarded posts is being somewhat
helpful, though it would obviously be better if they fixed their braindead
mail configuration.  If they have reasonable logs (I maintain mine for
14 days) they MIGHT be able to track down the site from which the SMTP
connection came from and thus help you narrow down your choices somewhat.

If you could get ahold of a FULL message, including headers, you might also
be able to track the forwarding site down from the Received: headers.

Good luck.  When you find the offending user, I hope you can alert the
sysadmin of his site, this kind of behavior gives the net a bad reputation
and deserves swift and harsh justice.
Mike Nolan

# shell script to check all address on Huskers List(s)

echo Checking validity of addresses on mailing lists 
echo $LIST1
echo $LIST2
echo $LIST3

for name in `cat $LIST1 $LIST2 $LIST3`
   echo $name | sed -e "/" > name.check
   /usr/bin/grep '@' name.check && (
      /bin/mailx -s "Path Check to $name" $name <<EOT
This is a test message to verify all addresses on the Huskers mailing list.  
We perform this verification 5 times a year.  No response is necessary.  

As a convenience to those who may no longer have any interest in the 
University of Nebraska and its sports teams, if you no longer wish to be 
on this mailing list, you may respond to this message and ask to be 
unsubscribed.  The address being tested with this message is: 
      sleep 5

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