Bouncing Spam

Feature request…

Recently my e-mail address was broken for most of a day, and what I noticed when it came back up is that my spam volume had drastically reduced.

That got me thinking that I wish there were a feature to bounce Junk Mail instead of just deleting it. From DH webmail, in the Junk Mail box, the spam I see has rather intelligent return addresses that seem like they are designed to unsubscribe invalid addresses. I’d like to be able to “toggle all” and then select “BOUNCE to sender” as though the message simply couldn’t be delivered.

Seems like a nice idea. But this isn’t much of a place for a feature request - we’re all just customers like your self. Log into the panel > Home > Sigguestions and put in your isgguestion there.

–Matttail - personal website

Done! Thanks for the tip.

There’s a subtle difference between having your email address broken and bouncing spam. If your email address is broken, it usually means the destination server doesn’t recognize the recipient address. This check is fast enough that it can be done while the message is being sent. The destination server returns an immediate error to the spammer and never actually receives the message.

Because spam scanning can take some time, most mail servers don’t do it while the message is being sent. Instead, the destination server accepts the message, saves it to disk and runs the spam scan later. In this case, bouncing the message involves sending an error to the sender. But since spammers almost always forge the sender, such an error will either not be delivered or will go to an innocent victim. For this reason, it’s usually a bad idea to bounce spam/viruses.

I don’t think the hard-core spammers pay attention to either kind of failure; it’s just not worth their time to worry about errors. I used to have a catch-all address on my domain, which meant I’d receive spam addressed to a bunch of made-up addresses. Turning that off hasn’t cut down on the amount of spam I receive.

But at least leaving a catch-all that goes to /dev/null (delete, no reply), it reduces the amount of bounced mail clogging up the Internet.


But it encourages a spammer to just fire spam at a range of addresses without even needing to worry where the bounces will end up. They can’t really use the bounces to check if you exist because it is too dangerous to have a legitimate return path without being detected, logged and sued :slight_smile:

That approach avoids bouncing mail back to a bogus sender, but it also means that the DH mail server has to read the spam and then throw it away. Even if it doesn’t take up any disk space, it uses some bandwidth.

If you remove the catch-all address completely, then the spammer will get an error at the point where it tries to use the non-existent recipient address before it even gets a chance to send the message. Unless the spammer can guess a valid address it won’t get a chance to send the actual message.