Feeds

Open relay spam is ‘dying out’

Controversial findings

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Open relay spam is dying out as a problem, according to a survey published today that is likely to raise eyebrows in the spam-fighting community.

Only one per cent of corporate UK mail servers tested by security testing firm NTA Monitor last year were poorly configured in a vulnerable way that allowed spam to be distributed by 'open relay'. In 1997, 91 per cent of servers tested by NTA Monitor were similarly vulnerable.

The firm tested only corporate - and not ISP - email servers.

Even so NTA's Monitor's findings fly in the face of conventional industry wisdom on the topic and are likely to prove controversial.

Open to abuse

Spammers traditionally used 'open relays' to distribute their spam. Open relays allowed spammers to off load the job of sending thousands of emails to a powerful server with high bandwidth. The practice slows down the processing of legitimate email and clogs up bandwidth, to say nothing of the potential damage to reputation that comes from even innocently sending out spam.

Years ago spammers were spoilt for choice for open relays, but now the window for exploitation of corporate mail servers has reduced dramatically, according to NTA Monitor.

So why has the tactic declined?

"The dramatic fall is due to manufacturers making it easier to turn off 'open relaying' functionality in their mail server products and disabling it in their default settings, in addition to understanding of the problem and its remedies from security staff," NTA Monitor states. ®

Top three mobile application threats

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.