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Advice from sysadmins on "nice" anti-spam blacklists/blocklists



[Thanks to the folks who responded! The depth of knowledge among Politech 
subscribers is impressive. Previous Politech message: 
http://www.politechbot.com/p-04754.html --Declan]

---

Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 12:10:26 -0400
From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: "Nice" Spam Filtering Respones

Declan, I got a ton of responses after asking after a "nice" spam blocklist 
and a few people asking me to pass on any info I got, so if you'd post the 
below to the list, I'd appreciate it.

-----------

A "Nice" Spam Blocklist

I got a huge number of responses, and I don't have time to respond to 
everyone, and for that I'm sorry, I thank everyone who responded, it was a 
great help.  Quite a number of people sent me what they were using, others 
pointing to a few different web sources, a couple of commercial offers, and 
a few people asking for any info I've gleaned, and one person reminding me 
that "blacklist" has some bad connotations, so I've switched to 
"blocklist", which makes sense.  So here's the lowdown:

1) There is no one blocklist to rule them all.  It'd be really nice if 
there was one big aggregate, but it appears that there is no such 
beast.  Essentially, you need to have three to have any decent hope.  One 
open relay blocker, one proxy blocker, and one manual.

	A) Of the Open Relay blockers, most people seemed to like ORDB ( 
http://www.ordb.org ).  It scours the net looking for open relays, just 
like Orbz used to do.

	B) Of the proxy blockers, there was no clear consensus, but 
opm.blitzed.org and proxies.relays.monkeys.com seemed to be the favorites.

	C) Of the manual spam blockers, ones that add known spam sources manually, 
the Spamhaus SBL ( http://sbl.spamhaus.org ) is by far the most recommend, 
and probably fits the bill of the "nicest".

	D) There is actually one aggregate.  blackholes.easynet.nl contains both a 
list of open proxies and the spamhaus sbl, but not an open relay blocker.

2) Additionally, there are two other methods for blocklists, but I'm not so 
sure they fall under "nice".  The first is country blockers.  These block 
all e-mail from the designated country.  ( china.blackholes.us 
korea.blackholes.us  nigeria.blackholes.us ) As a business ISP, I'm not so 
sure I can just go and block whole countries, but I'll wager they would 
stop a good chunk of spam.  The second is blocking "dynamic" and "dialup" 
IP's.  Essentially, these sites try to track IP's that belong to dialup and 
cable modem users.  As someone who runs a home server off his cable modem, 
I think this is a bad idea, but others might want to consider it.

3) Lastly, everyone seems to love SpamAssassin.  One person even sent me a 
message ten times saying I should use SpamAssassin and probably just didn't 
know how to use it properly, despite my original message stating 
SpamAssassin was not what I was looking for.  The problem is managing its 
use for 20,000 people.  Different people will want different levels of 
SpamAssassin.  I use it myself, but I have to order it in procmail 
carefully, otherwise it will mark all of my nightly root-mail and other 
cron jobs as spam.  I'm smart enough to do that.  However, I'm not going to 
be manually set it for a thousand people that get various newsletters or 
whatnot that spamassassin concludes is spam.  The overhead is too high.

SpamAssassin is great for individual users who are savvy enough to manage 
it themselves.  However, it isn't a solution for wide-scale enforcement. 
I'm lucky if my users can find their way around MS Outlook...

-Brad Hall
Systems Administrator
Crisp.Net

---

Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam
	blacklist?
From: Mark Lowes <hamster@korenwolf.net>
To: declan@well.com
Date: 17 May 2003 20:48:58 +0100

On Sat, 2003-05-17 at 17:13, Declan McCullagh wrote:
 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the tries to
 > avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?

I'm responsible for maintaining the mail system at my ISP (SME based ISP
in the UK).  At the moment I would only recommend the following DNSBLs

SBL (http://www.spamhaus.org/):
Spamhaus list, low to non-existant collatoral damage, almost entirely
the large spam gangs.

OPM (http://www.blitzed.org/):
List of open proxies, they test IPs on either spam to a spamtrap or on a
connection to the blitzed.org irc network.  Entries are expired out so
it's not as effective as some open proxy lists but the risk of old out
of date entries is much lower.

ORDB (http://www.ordb.org/):
Open relay list, appears to have very little collatoral damage.

DSBL (http://www.dsbl.org/):
Open relay list, I'd only use this in warn mode as it appears to have
some listings I'm not convinced are entirely appropriate for a
single-hop relay list.

    Mark
---

From: Todd Meister <todd@lmi.net>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam 
blacklist?

Declan McCullagh writes:
 >Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:33:55 -0400
 >From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
 >To: declan@well.com
 >Subject: A Nice Spam Blacklist?
 >
 >Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the tries to
 >avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?
 >

This one is generally very safe,and catches a _lot_ of spam:
   sbl.spamhaus.org

You have to be a naughty, naughty spammer/ISP to get in that list.

We've been using this, also, as proxies are the new scourge:
   proxies.relays.monkeys.com

Here's an idea how busy one of our two main mail servers is
(this for approximately the last 12 hours):
 >wc -l /var/log/mail.log
    44216 /var/log/mail.log

Each connection generates two lines, so that's about 22,000 connections.

Here are the number of hits for those two lists:
 >grep proxies.relays /var/log/mail.log | wc -l
     7759 (that's 7,759 blocked connections - 35% of the total connections)
 >grep sbl.spamhaus /var/log/mail.log | wc -l
     1867 (another 8%)

The monkeys list is the first one in our sendmail.cf file, so spamhaus,
which used to get the most hits (usually around 80%), has many fewer than in
the past.

That 43% doesn't count the loads of spam that actually gets through, whether
to our users, or ultimately to bounce back to the forged account.

We've also been manually blocking the biggest offenders at our core router
for the last couple days.  Spam traffic has increased dramatically in the
past week, and our servers have been swamped, though the border blocks nicely
snipped them off.

In fact, we're in the midst of re-working our mail setup to accomodate all the
connections instigated by spammers.

Todd Meister
Unix Admin
LMI.net

---

From: Ed Allen Smith <easmith@beatrice.rutgers.edu>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 15:08:45 -0400
Cc: declan@well.com
To: brad@crisp.net
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam
   blacklist?

In message <5.2.1.1.0.20030517120419.03a2d570@mail.well.com> (on 17 May 2003
12:13:46 -0400), declan@well.com (Declan McCullagh) wrote:
 >
 >---
 >
 >Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:33:55 -0400
 >From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
 >To: declan@well.com
 >Subject: A Nice Spam Blacklist?
 >
 >As a subscriber, I've been following the ongoing problems with spamcop and
 >have butted heads with a blacklist in the past, but as the SysAdmin of a
 >regional ISP, I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to
 >begin subscribing to one.  The Spam is simply clogging the server.
 >SpamAssassin is great, but it only increases the load on the server and is
 >difficult to support for the userbase.
 >
 >Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the tries to
 >avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?

Umm... there are quite a number of different types of anti-spam
blacklists. Do you want one that acts vs abused open relays/proxies, for
instance? Or do you want one that acts against spam-friendly ISPs?

For that matter, there are other categories of
blacklists. dsn.rfc-ignorant.org (http://www.rfc-ignorant.org) is a
domain-based blacklist that is of use both vs spammers and for postmasters
to avoid double-bounces in their inboxes (it's vs domains that refuse to
accept bounces with the (RFC-standard) <> return address), although
configuring it with some mail programs can be a bit tricky (it's designed
for use vs the claimed envelope FROM domain). It works very nicely, IMO,
although being one of its administrators, I'm biased...

I've actually done some reviews of blacklists vs "known-good" domains/IPs in
the past, although it's been a while since I last ran the program for it due
to workload, server load, et al. You may also wish to take a look at
http://www.sdsc.edu/~jeff/spam/Blacklists_Compared.html.

	-Allen

-- 
Allen Smith			http://cesario.rutgers.edu/easmith/
September 11, 2001		A Day That Shall Live In Infamy II
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

---

To: declan@well.com
Cc: politech@politechbot.com, brad@crisp.net
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam
  blacklist?
From: Ted Cabeen <ted@impulse.net>
Organization: Impulse Internet Services
Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 12:13:48 -0700
	version=2.53-the_well_w

Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com> writes:
 > ---
 >
 > Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:33:55 -0400
 > From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
 > To: declan@well.com
 > Subject: A Nice Spam Blacklist?
 >
 > As a subscriber, I've been following the ongoing problems with spamcop
 > and have butted heads with a blacklist in the past, but as the
 > SysAdmin of a regional ISP, I've come to the conclusion that I have no
 > choice but to begin subscribing to one.  The Spam is simply clogging
 > the server. SpamAssassin is great, but it only increases the load on
 > the server and is difficult to support for the userbase.

Depending on your mail configuration, using some of the SQL
configuration systems available available for SpamAssassin can help a
lot in enhancing SA's ease of use.

 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the
 > tries to avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?

Of the currently available blacklists, ORDB <http://www.ordb.org/>
probably fits your description best, but it's somewhat limited in
scope.  ORDB just blocks open relays, and that's it.  The entire
system is automated, which eliminates the delays in removal that you
often see from blacklists.  If ORDB can relay mail through you, you
will be listed.  If you then repair the problem, you can resubmit for
processing and will usually be removed within an hour.

I also like the wirehub sender-based blacklist to block the somewhat
more honest spammers who don't forge their MAIL FROM addresses.
Customers usually don't want to recieve email from anyone at
1stopcyberdeals.biz and similar sites, and the wirehub list is good at
blocking those.

The most important thing to consider with using a blacklist of any
sort is the administrative hassle of maintaining the whitelist that
compensates for the problems and mistakes in the list(s) you choose.
There's a fine balance between a list that blocks little spam, and one
that blocks too much legitimate email, taking up your time and
infiruating the customers whose inbound email was blocked.

Another good tactic is to use some of the more aggressive blacklists
on your secondary mail servers only.  Many spammers bypass the primary
mail server when sending mail in an attempt to get by local filters
that may only be installed on the primary mail server.  Making the
secondaries more aggressive can help a lot in defending against that,
and the collateral damage is minimal because very little legitimate
email will use a secondary mail server when the primary is functioning
properly.

-- 
Ted Cabeen
Systems/Network Administrator
Impulse Internet Services

---

Date: 17 May 2003 15:17:40 -0400
From: "John R Levine" <johnl@iecc.com>
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
Cc: brad@crisp.net
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam
  blacklist?
In-Reply-To: <5.2.1.1.0.20030517120419.03a2d570@mail.well.com>

 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the
 > tries to avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?

Here's the public DNSBLs (DNS blocklists) that I use:

sbl.spamhaus.org

	The Spamhaus SBL is currently the premier anti-spam list.
	It's very carefully maintained by hand and lists confirmed
	sources of spam.  Very occasionally when an ISP chronically
	fails to deal with spammers on their network, it'll block
	the network's administrative servers for a few hours.  (It's
	so widely used, that's all it takes.)  It definitely does not
	do "collateral" blocking of address space adjacent to spammers.

blackholes.mail-abuse.org
dialups.mail-abuse.org
relays.mail-abuse.org

	The MAPS RBL (manually maintained spam sources and support),
	dialups and open relay lists.  Professionally maintained,
	costs modest amounts of money to use.  See www.mail-abuse.org,
	the prices are all negotiable if you can't afford list price.

opm.blitzed.org

	The Blitzed open proxies list.  Contains insecure open proxies
	identified by mail and IRC users.

proxies.relays.monkeys.com

	Ron Guilmette's monkeys.com proxy list, also contains insecure
	open proxies.

proxies.blackholes.easynet.nl

	A third open proxy list, formerly known as the Wirehub list.

dynablock.easynet.nl

	Dynamic IP's, dialup and home users who shouldn't be sending
	mail directly, similar to the MAPS dialup list.  Also formerly
	Wirehub.

korea.services.net

	My Korean exasperation list, includes most networks in Korea
	due to the horrible spam problem there.  Will have false
	positives if you have correspondents in Korea, won't if you
	don't.

Regards,
John Levine, johnl@iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be, http://iecc.com/johnl, Sewer Commissioner
"A book is a sneeze." - E.B. White, on the writing of Charlotte's Web

---

Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 01:11:33 +0530
From: Devdas Bhagat <dvb@users.sourceforge.net>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Cc: brad@crisp.net
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam 
blacklist?

On 17/05/03 12:13 -0400, Declan McCullagh wrote:
 > As a subscriber, I've been following the ongoing problems with spamcop and
 > have butted heads with a blacklist in the past, but as the SysAdmin of a
 > regional ISP, I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to
 > begin subscribing to one.  The Spam is simply clogging the server.
 > SpamAssassin is great, but it only increases the load on the server and is
 > difficult to support for the userbase.
Join the club.

 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the tries to
 > avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?
I would start with spamhaus (Known spam senders): sbl.spamhaus.org.
ORDB is a list of open relays (http://www.ordb.org)
opm.blitzed.org is a good list of open proxies.
These three should take care of a lot of spam.

Another good list is the wirehub.nl blacklist (blackholes.wirehub.nl)
You could also grab the wirehub access file

If this isn't good enough, then move on to spews. This hits hard, has
/lots/ of collateral damage, but stops a /lot/ of spam. This is the
hardest hitting of the DNSBLs that I dare to use.

Looking around on nanae, and recent postfix-users archives should be
informative too.

Devdas Bhagat

---

From: "Clayton, Nik [IT]" <nik.clayton@citigroup.com>
To: "'declan@well.com'" <declan@well.com>,
    "'brad@crisp.net'"
	<brad@crisp.net>
Subject: RE: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam blackli
	st?
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 09:38:01 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2655.55)
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="ISO-8859-1"
X-Scanned-By: MIMEDefang 2.33 (www . roaringpenguin . com / mimedefang)
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-3.3 required=4.0
	tests=QUOTED_EMAIL_TEXT
	version=2.53-the_well_w
X-Spam-Level:
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.53-the_well_w 
(1.174.2.15-2003-03-30-exp)
X-UIDL: 263acbdf2ed9a1ed2275ea5fc2a53c86

 > Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:33:55 -0400
 > From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
 > To: declan@well.com
 > Subject: A Nice Spam Blacklist?
 >
 > As a subscriber, I've been following the ongoing problems with spamcop and

 > have butted heads with a blacklist in the past, but as the SysAdmin of a
 > regional ISP, I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to
 > begin subscribing to one.  The Spam is simply clogging the server.
 > SpamAssassin is great, but it only increases the load on the
 > server and is difficult to support for the userbase.
 >
 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?
 > One the tries to avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?

The SBL (Spamhaus Block List) is very good in this regard.  It makes it
a bit conservative, but that can be a good thing.

     http://www.spamhaus.org/

The scores that the various blacklists that SpamAssassin supports can also
be a guide as to how reliable they are.

Finally, this message from Daniel Quinlan:

     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=spamassassin-devel&m=105001264517400&w=2

is the result of him testing a large number of blacklists on the
SpamAssassin spam and non-spam collections to see how accurate they are,
which might also be useful.

N
-- 
1        1         2         3         4         5         6         7    7
          0         0         0         0         0         0         0    5
                                                     -- The 75 column-ometer
Global Messaging,                 A: Top posting
120 Cheapside, x83331             Q: What's the most annoying e-mail habit?

---

Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 10:52:15 -0500
From: Patty Langasek <harmoney@dodds.net>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Cc: brad@crisp.net
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam 
blacklist?
Message-ID: <20030519155210.GA14941@dodds.net>
References: <5.2.1.1.0.20030517120419.03a2d570@mail.well.com>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Disposition: inline
In-Reply-To: <5.2.1.1.0.20030517120419.03a2d570@mail.well.com>
User-Agent: Mutt/1.3.28i
X-message-flag: Outlook: A program to spread viruses that can do email too.
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-4.9 required=4.0
	tests=IN_REP_TO,QUOTED_EMAIL_TEXT,REFERENCES,REPLY_WITH_QUOTES,
	      USER_AGENT_MUTT
	version=2.54-the_well_w
X-Spam-Level:
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.54-the_well_w 
(1.174.2.17-2003-05-11-exp)
X-UIDL: 98b0d570aec7742df9ed2437281c8a2c

 > Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:33:55 -0400
 > From: Brad <brad@crisp.net>
 > To: declan@well.com
 > Subject: A Nice Spam Blacklist?

 > As a subscriber, I've been following the ongoing problems with spamcop and
 > have butted heads with a blacklist in the past, but as the SysAdmin of a
 > regional ISP, I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to
 > begin subscribing to one.  The Spam is simply clogging the server.
 > SpamAssassin is great, but it only increases the load on the server and is
 > difficult to support for the userbase.

 > Do you, or anyone on the list know of a "nice" blacklist?  One the tries to
 > avoid collateral damage and quickly unblocks mistakes?


The ISP I used to work at had similar spam problems. While the spammers are
crying out that unsolicited email is costless and good for the environment,
ISPs are facing the increasing dilemma of maintaining servers attempting to
keep up with the load. My ISP went through a few different spam solutions,
but we found that anything done completely automatically and server-side was
quickly countered by the spammers' attempts to get around ISPs (who are, in
fact, paying for the spammers to send customers unsolicited email).

We finally stumbled across Postini <http://www.postini.com/>. It's a mail
service that collects all mail going to the ISP's servers, flags and holds
potential spam, then sends the unflagged email on to the ISP's server. The
ISP's customers then go to a message center provided by Postini to review
flagged mail. They then have the choice of sending the flagged mail on to
their ISP mailbox, or deleting it directly off the message center.
Eventually, their individual message center 'learns' from each individual
customer interaction and begins to flag accordingly. The customers have
complete control over their individual message center; able to make
whitelists, blacklists and choose how vigorous they wish the spam filter to
be. As well, last I knew, Postini doesn't maintain a 'blacklist', so there
are no concerns about open relay ISPs who have been accidently blocked (yes,
my ISP tried one of those services at one point) or overly aggressive
companies who have labeled themselves the Internet Police.

Naturally, having mail sent to a 3rd party server is putting faith and trust
in their ability to maintain their networks, but Postini does have high
service level agreements with the ISPs with which it partners. Once the ISP
I worked for put Postini in place, the server mail load was cut by over 50%,
and *very* few customers complained about the new service. Those who did
complain, as I recall, were simply confused and skeptical.

I've found that Postini is really a remarkable service. A little cumbersome
for the ISP to get going at first, but incredibly easy for even the slowest
of customers to learn. And, with the way it works, it's unlikely that
spammers are going to find a way to work around it any time soon.

Good luck and good hunting!


---------------------------------------------------------

Patty Langasek
harmoney@dodds.net

---------------------------------------------------------
---

To: declan@well.com
cc: brad@crisp.net, ausman@soda.csua.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: FC: Request for help from ISP: What is a "nice" anti-spam 
blacklist?
In-Reply-To: Message from Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
    of "Sat, 17 May 2003 12:13:46 EDT." 
<5.2.1.1.0.20030517120419.03a2d570@mail.well.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-ID: <3260.1053370884.1@soda.csua.berkeley.edu>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 12:01:24 -0700
From: James Ausman <ausman@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU>
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-0.5 required=4.0
	tests=IN_REP_TO
	version=2.54-the_well_w
X-Spam-Level:
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.54-the_well_w 
(1.174.2.17-2003-05-11-exp)
X-UIDL: 944b3259e689e1a0aadb0089e0e52327

Dear Brad,

I use the Register of Known Spam Operations where I work, for both
corporate and customer email. This is a relatively easy thing to drop
into Sendmail and catches about 1/3 of all spam sent to our site. It
will increase the load on your mail servers a bit, especially during
a spam attack, so don't do it if you are already pushing your services
to their limit.

http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/index.lasso

You can also block email from sites that do not have PTR DNS entries:

http://www.sendmail.org/~ca/email/chk-810.html#810MISCCHECK

If you do this, you will block some legitimate email from misconfigured
sites. But many large ISPs, including AOL and Earthlink already do this,
so your chance of blocking email is quite small. One nice thing about
this ruleset is that it comes early enough in the Sendmail process
that using it will reduce the load on your mail servers during a
spam attack.

Unfortunately there is no magic bullet that will catch most or all of
your spam painlessly.

Cheers,
Jim Ausman

PS Declan you can forward to FC if you like.

---

Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 16:29:29 -0700
To: politech@politechbot.com
From: Bob K <bk@msgbase.com>
Subject: A "Nice Blacklist?" No such thing.
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; x-avg-checked=avg-ok-4C6E4F3;
+boundary="=======54B2FD1======="
X-Envelope-From: bk@msgbase.com
X-Envelope-To: politech@politechbot.com

--=======54B2FD1=======
Content-Type: text/plain; x-avg-checked=avg-ok-4C6E4F3; charset=us-ascii;
+format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


Declan: This may or may not be appropriate for the list, but I thought I
would write it anyway. I've tried to keep it short.


Our ISP has been plagued by SPAM. I don't know of any ISP that hasn't been.
But we recently shut off our use of Realtime Blackhole systems in favor of
in-house SPAM-control. Instead of an effectiveness of 60% or so, we are now
trapping more than 90% of unwanted mails, and in a way that our end users
have total control.

We shut off the RBLs because we incurred a huge costs as a result of our
support for them. When the RBLs began to support the blocking of entire
Autonomous Systems instead of targeting SPAMmers directly, they lost my
support. I had a carrier whose AS numbers were put into the RBL. Like a
good anti-SPAMmer I rejected the carrier and moved to another. My ISP is
fairly large, and including  customer support costs the carrier change cost
my company around $35,000.


Within 90 days, my new carrier was placed into the RBL system. Again I was
mandated by the RBL operators to switch carriers. This time I refused to be
extorted by a handful of people with way more power than they deserve. They
misuse their power and do so without conscience. I say this because their
use of the term "collateral damage" hides a tidal wave of harm to innocent
ISPs and their more innocent customers. Some of the RBL operators have
become so obsessed with their tools that they have started to create more
harm to Internet users than the SPAMmers they want to protect those users
from. A SPAMmer clots mailboxes. An agenda operated RBL takes the mailbox
away. Plus, I have run out of choices for carriers. My area only has a few
that support it, and all of them are AS-wide being blocked. So I tend now
to view RBLs with disdain and disrespect. I do so because they don't
respect the needs of honest people and honest companies who need unfettered
Internet mail.

All of the anti-SPAM efforts have created a lost perspective I think. That
is, people should control their own mailbox. A system that makes arbitrary
decisions about what content should and shouldn't be permitted is a loss of
freedom of choice. So our new system affords them as much or as little
control over their SPAM as they would like. Plus, it gives them the
opportunity to retrieve messages they filtered by mistake. An RBL will drop
the communication with a SPAM source. The new system accepts the mail and
places it in a temporary holding area where it may be easily retrieved.

Yes, this is taking resources to do, but I knew this perspective would
entail some costs. Frankly, the cost of some disk space and processing
power is a lot less expensive than having to change carriers every time an
RBL invokes personal vendetta. It also doesn't leave me wondering if the
next carrier will end up in the RBL forcing me to change again. And again...

So, there is no such thing as a nice RBL. They are more harmful than
helpful, they are less efficient than internal methods, and they take
freedom of choice away from ISPs and more importantly, their customers. As
long as legitimate RBLs maintain their support for those RBLS that have
gone rogue, or are completely inept, they are more criminal or problematic
than SPAM.





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