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Re: mpeg files/attachments

  • Subject: Re: mpeg files/attachments
  • From: Steve Marak <samarak@arachne.uark.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 00:37:00 -0600 (CST)

On Wed, 28 Nov 2001 SelbyHort@aol.com wrote:

> In response to Steve Marak's message about the BadTrans virus:
> Would our listserve not even recognize any address with an underscore as
> being a subscriber? Is so, the message would not be processed and distributed
> to the list. Is this correct, Steve?

The short answer is you are correct, at least in this instance. That
glosses over a lot, so read on only if you care for more detail.

Aroid-L is a "closed" list - you have to belong to post - so messages
from any address not in the list of subscibers will be rejected, whether
the address is valid or not.

This virus is altering real e-mail addresses into ones that are (probably)
not real, and certainly aren't in our subscriber list, so it won't have
much luck posting to Aroid-L even if Don and I failed to shoot it down.

As to whether these addresses (with the leading underscore) are invalid
.. well, that's a whole other can of worms. Strangely, last year at this
time I was trying to mediate between pro- and anti- Microsoft factions on
almost exactly this issue. If someone did manage to subscribe an address
like this to the list, it would certainly accept anything they posted.
(Don or I would probably zap it, though. For that matter, we'd probably
zap the address as soon as we noticed it, too.)

We don't know of any way to strip attachments from Aroid-L, leaving the
text - if we did, we'd block all those HTML attachments that show up. We
must either accept or reject the whole message. And the list processor
will forward any type of attachment, whether it recognizes it or not.

However, we don't let any kind of attachments other than those HTML
duplicate messages go out on Aroid-L (really, we only allow those because
it's so hard to turn off that feature in some mailers that a lot of people
wouldn't be able to post). One reason is just this - it drastically
reduces the chance we'll contribute to the spread of a virus through
Aroid-L, and doesn't put Don and I in the error-prone position of trying
to separate the sheep from the goats. We have seen virused attachments
show up in posts to Aroid-L, from legitimate subscribers, and had we
not killed the posts the virus would have been forwarded to everyone.

Another is that most attachments (again, other than the HTML duplicate
messages) show up in "encoded" form, meaning they take up more room than
plain text, and many - audio, video, and image for instance - tend to be
way larger than even a very long note. For people who do not have mailers
that automatically handle these attachments or don't have high-speed
internet access (and there are more of them than most people realize), it
can multiply their connect time, and maybe cost, to download mail several
times. It can also overflow people's mail storage quickly, especially if
they can't check mail every day - we see lots of bounce messages from
that. (Posting images on a web site is a more efficient option anyway,
from the network perspective.)

Several other lists I'm on have turned on features that strip out
attachments since this last virus scare started. A good idea - except for
the poor image list moderators, who just have to take their lumps - but in
this case all the copies of the virus I got came not from lists but
directly from individuals, referencing a note I had sent to some list to
which they were subscribed.


-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@arachne.uark.edu

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