Feeds

Message storm turns DHS email list into social networking utility

'May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits'

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A misfired attempt by one subscriber to change the email address he used for receiving messages caused a storm in the a US Department of Homeland Security's mailing list today.

Instead of sending a message to the list administrators, job-changing security consultant Alex hit the reply-to-all button. His message was sent to every subscriber of the DHS's Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report. Attempts to recall this message were futile.

At first several people began firing off tetchy don't reply-to-all messages, which were, of course, sent to everyone on the list. Quickly this led to the disclosure of the email addresses of fellow members of the list, addresses that are normally hidden in the DHS's daily updates.

Some remarked that the message storm had generated an excellent social networking tool before swapping weather reports with each other. Again these messages were sent to everyone.

Minutes later, spam messages such as one for a "handhole locking device" that controls access to utility vaults and fiber boxes, began circulating on the list. Some of the replies that continued to flow featured the name, phone numbers and company name of list subscribers - useful information for would-be scammers if it fell into the wrong hands.

Some subscribers got pretty upset at around this and vented their spleen. "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits and may a yak in heat make love to your shin," noted Michael.

A couple of hours into the storm, more than 200 messages were generated turning the mailing list in a 21st century equivalent of a news net group. Most security experts took it all in their stride, though some asked to be removed from the list.

"Stop the insanity," pleaded Terence.

"I can see the headlines now," noted Steve, "'DHS gets spammed with its own reports'." Another subscriber wisely noted that the whole mess could have been avoided, if only the email mailout system had not been set up to automatically forward replies. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.