[Beowulf] Apologies for the spam/virus yesterday
becker at scyld.com
Wed Feb 8 14:54:31 EST 2006
After having a near-perfect record of keeping out spam and virus
email, one slipped through yesterday.
It's a good example of why mailing lists can't be auto-moderated.
The current elaborate system requires heavy human moderation, and this
message still slid past everything and was automatically approved.
The message appeared to come from a subscribed user, so it passed the
first check. (This is actually common: spammers and viruses use pairs of
addresses from the same source, so evil mail is likely to come from
someone you have heard of.)
The message passed both ClamAV and SpamAssasin (although a compressed
zip file should have triggered something). It didn't have any of the
keywords that are configured in Mailman's "hold" rules. And finally, that
user was approved for auto-post for messages that passed all of the
Please keep this event in mind before you complain that your message was
held for moderation. 95-99% (depending on the day) of inbound mail to the
mailing lists is immediately discarded as obvious viruses and spam.
Only very low scoring mail from approved subscribers is eligible for
auto-approval The rest is held for manual moderation. Only about 2% of
those held messages are valid postings. That means about 50 messages
manually discarded for each manually approved posting. And except for a
few weeks scattered over the history of the list, I've been the sole or
The bottom line is that we are considering a message board format to
replace the mailing list. It would have required logins to
post, and retroactive moderation to delete advertising and trolls.
Donald Becker becker at scyld.com
Scyld Software Scyld Beowulf cluster systems
914 Bay Ridge Road, Suite 220 www.scyld.com
Annapolis MD 21403 410-990-9993
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