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Posts Tagged ‘backscatter’

Bounce Back & Backscatter Spam: Who Stole My Email Address?

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

spamSo, you’re minding your own business, going about your daily tasks, checking your email, and suddenly your INBOX is flooded with a series of non-delivery reports (aka NDRs or bounce messages). But wait just a minute, you didn’t send these. How did this happen? Did someone steal your email address?  How is that possible?

What has most likely happened here is that you’ve fallen victim to “backscatter“, or as it’s commonly known, bounce-back spam. As spam-detection techniques have evolved and become more accurate, the spammers have been forced to devise increasingly complicated and devious methods of getting their messages delivered. For example: email forgery.

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Enforced DKIM Filtering Eliminates Forged Email

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

LuxSci’s Premium Email Filtering has been enhanced to provide customers with the capacity to filter email based on DKIM signatures to provide more accurate protection from forged email.

Customers can add or upload lists of domains to be covered by DKIM checking (e.g. their own domains to start with) and can then say what should happen to messages when:

  • a DKIM signature is present but is not valid
  • no DKIM signature is present
  • a valid DKIM signature is present

Enabling DKIM helps mitigate backscatter email and, even more importantly, eliminates inbound SPAM forged to appear to be from your own users or domains.

All LuxSci outbound email services support DKIM-signing messages; so enabling inbound filtering based on DKIM completes the loop of email authentication.

Premium Email Filtering also supports enforced use of SPF and TLS for inbound email from domains you choose.  All of these things together serve to lock down your email flow and eliminate unwanted messages.

Email Delivery Failures Reports: Real-time and Automated

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Generally, when you send an email message and it fails to be delivered, you get a “bounce back” to inform you of this.  This delivery failure notification system is inherent in the way email works and does a good job, in general.  However, it has some serious limitations:

  • The failure notice is spam filtered or otherwise lost, you will never know the message wasn’t delivered.
  • Email spoofing is prevalent and that can cause you to receive all kinds of “backscatter” failure notices about messages that you never sent.  As a result, you may be blocking or deleting failure messages or may merely not notice a real failure notice amidst the back scatter garbage.
  • The failure messages are long and in varied formats.  It may be difficult for the average person to determine the actual reason for the failure.
  • If you have many failure messages (e.g. because you are sending out a newsletter) it is hard to convert a bunch of failure messages into a list of failed recipients together with the reasons for the failures.
  • It is not simple for a manager to get reports of send failures by his/her staff … which may be very important so that business opportunities are not lost.

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Stop the Backscatter Spam with a Custom Filter

Monday, December 15th, 2008

We recently talked about the problems created by backscatter or bounce back spam.  I.e. the pain caused by getting lots of "delivery failure" messages for messages that you never sent, but which arrive at your door anyway. One of the solutions we have provided for dealing with backscatter, if you have this problem, is to create a custom email filter in your LuxSci WebMail interface that will delete or save all bounce messages.  While this works well, it also has a drawback.

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