----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gary Kline" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Chuck Swiger" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "FreeBSD Mailing List" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 3:14 PM
Subject: Re: blacklist(s)

> On Sun, May 16, 2004 at 10:01:54AM -0400, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> > Gary Kline wrote:
> > >On Fri, May 14, 2004 at 10:00:58PM -0400, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> > >>According to the RFCs, one MUST NOT bounce mail sent to
> > >>One ought to read the rfc-ignorant.org site I mentioned.
> > [ ... ]
> > > Well, bit again.  The line in my access file was
> > >
> > > 206.46                          550 Verizon email not wanted here
> > >
> > > that I've commented out. This isn't the first time I've had
> > > to fine tune; it probably won't be the last.  Apologies!
> >
> > Consider using FEATURE(`delay_checks', `friend') and add the
following to
> > the access map:
> >
> > Spam:abuse@ FRIEND
> > Spam:postmaster@ FRIEND
> >
> > [ Pre 8.12 versions of sendmail use To: instead ]
> >
> > ...which will allow you to block mail as you please using IP or
> > reject rules, yet not prevent delivery of mail to postmaster and
> >
> Outstanding idea, at least it seems.  This site has all
> the details:
> http://www.technoids.org/spamlovers.html
> I think that most email to postmaster should be allowed,
> any everything to abuse.
> thanks for the tip! (and a tip of the hat),
> gary
> -- 
>    Gary Kline     [EMAIL PROTECTED]   www.thought.org     Public
service Unix

Delay_checks does indeed work. However, there are some side effects that
need to be taken into consideration.

Since you're basically filtering on the delivery of the message,
sendmail doesn't check if the user exists until after acceptance. This
means, that for each and every spam message you receive for an invalid
user, Sendmail has to send a bounce back to the originator. See the
gotcha yet? If not read on. :)

For example, let's say, your mail server handles 50 - 100 thousand
messages every 24 hours, and 25 thousand of those are spam. Not too
uncommon in today's internet. Now, let's say that of those 25 thousand
messages, 20 thousand (conservative number) have forged return
addresses. You don't see these forgeries on unknown users under
Sendmail's normal config as the message is rejected at connection time.
Still don't see the gotcha? That's ok. I didn't either at first when it
happened to me. Let me explain what I saw with it.

If sendmail bounces after message acceptance, it now has to send a
bounce to each of those 20 thousand forged addresses. Each of those
messages will then bounce and return to postmaster after it can't
deliver them and at least, 2 things will most definitely occur.

1. The amount of mail sitting in your mail queue will increase.

2. The amount of mail to postmaster will most definitely increase as
these messages fail delivery to the forged originators.

If you're like me, you tend to keep tabs on your postmaster email for
possible problems, but in my experience, my mail load, both for the
server and in my mailbox, jumped 150% on my 2 mx's because of
delay_check. I ended up disabling delay_check and using amavisd and
spamassassin so that I can filter on connection.

I personally don't recommend delay_check to be enabled on a large
production mta. For smaller systems that don't pass a lot of email, it's
fine. However, for larger systems, I'd recommend using a different


Micheal Patterson
TSG Network Administration

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