[Mimedefang] Re: calling action_bounce() for viruses

David Meissner DavidM at instantservice.com
Tue Sep 30 16:53:00 EDT 2003

> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Ralston [mailto:qralston+ml.mimedefang at andrew.cmu.edu]

> I am aware that David posted (in another thread) that he now
> believes that silently dropping incoming mail messages which 
> contain viruses is the best thing to do.  I still disagree.  
> No matter how smart or experienced we think we are, we don't 
> even scratch the surface of the depth of the experience and 
> intelligence that went into the construction of the 
> mail-related RFCs.  And the RFCs don't permit you to return 
> 250 and then dump the message in the trash.
> If you want email to remain a useful tool for communication,
> then follow the damn standards, and refuse to accept messages 
> with viral content instead of silently dropping them.

I agree with you in theory, but the original standards did not take into
account the hostile environment in which we now find ourselves, in which the
majority of mail being sent should actually not reach its recipient for one
reason or another; because it is unwanted spam or dangerous malware. We need
smart and experienced people to revisit the standards and perhaps devise new
protocols. Filtering is only a stopgap measure until we can come up with
something better.

And, sadly, email is in fact losing its usefulness. I spend much more time
now studying the spam and virus problem, perusing mailing lists such as this
one, searching for better filtering capabilities, dealing with the spam that
gets through my filters, than I do corresponding with my friends and
colleagues. Many non-computer-professionals I know find their email accounts
almost useless due to the volume of spam.

I read recently on news.com that one company (I can't remember who) has
banned company email, requiring its employees to talk on the phone or meet
face-to-face. My first reaction was, "how silly", but on second thought I
realized they might be on to something.

-David Meissner

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