[P1] More list gremlins?

Simon G. Trask simon at simbiosis.com
Wed Aug 11 04:59:49 PDT 2004

At 1:14 AM -0400 11/8/04, Brian Pearce wrote:
>Just out of curiousity, has anyone else received an automated reply 
>from the list server in response to an "unsubsubscribe" request -- 
>one that you didn't send -- over the past few days?

Yes, I had one following the message I sent to the list a few days ago.

>  or if someone has been trying maliciously (but unsuccessfully) to 
>unsubscribe me.

I guess that's one conclusion that could be drawn, especially for the 
paranoidically inclined (ouch! is that a real word?!). Spoofing the 
address of a list member might be sufficient. On the other hand, 
there's not much point nowadays, as it's common practice for list 
server software to request confirmation from the address an 
unsubscribe message has apparently come from (as is the case here).

As a number of people are getting these messages, either there's a 
very active malicious person at work (!) or it's another example of 
the list server software getting screwed up.

By the way, a few days ago I emailed the 'real person' address 
appended to each iBook list email and suggested that some action be 
taken to prevent further deluges like the recent one. To date I 
haven't heard back, which I guess means either that the list owner is 
on holiday and no-one's minding the shop, or that no-one's minding 
the shop full stop.

According to the X-ListServer: header I see in iBook list emails, the 
list is being run using CommuniGate Pro LIST 4.2 software. The 
company behind CommuniGate Pro is Stalker Software, and I emailed 
them to find out if there was a way within the list server software 
to prevent a reoccurence of the recent list deluge. Essentially, the 
comment I had back was that it is possible for the list software to 
detect automated messages and discard them using server-wide rules. 
However, when I requested further elaboration on this detection 
process, I didn't hear anything back.

For those sufficiently interested, here's the information page on 
CommuniGate Pro's rules capability:


In fact the site has quite extensive information about the software's 
functionality, for anyone who's of a mind (and has the time!) to dig 
into this sort of stuff. It does seem to be pretty sophisticated.

I've had a glance through the rules page. The discarding's easy 
enough, but I'm not sure about the detection - and I long ago myself 
discarded the 1600 or so messages that I received from Jim, so I 
don't know if there was something about the message headers that 
would have enabled detection. There doesn't seem to be any 
straightforward 'message density' detection available, although I 
might have missed it. The software does have an External Filters 
capability which allows other software to be plugged into it, so 
there might be suitable functionality available that way.

Not that this will do any good if there's no-one at the helm of the 
good ship iBook List.


ps. the 'paranoidically inclined' should check out the following page ;)


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