A pint of Guinness flavoured spam

It seems that someone signed me up for “Guinness Poker Nights” and Guinness, God bless their black hearts, saw that as an invitation to spam me in the future.

I don’t know how to play poker, I have no interest in it, I don’t like the taste of Guinness. Why didn’t Guinness ask me to confirm the invite? That would seem like the most polite thing to do. Who the hell is Conor Wiley? I bet he knows the other Donncha who told all his friends and colleagues that my gmail address was his address. I was CCed on a few very personal emails for a day or two going back a bit ..

Since that time I’ve received a couple of spam emails from Diageo, the owners of Guinness. The first one gave me a start. I wondered if Guinness had started spamming people, but then I had things to do and never investigated. Here’s the latest email from Guinness:

There is a “Privacy Policy” link but that brings you to this page where I’m asked for my location and date of birth. The form has to be filled out before reading the policy. *sigh*

The “unsubscribe” link goes to which the redirects to Finally, I thought I was getting somewhere, but no. To stop them sending me more spam I must fill out my name, address and email, despite the fact that I clicked on an identifying URL in the email.

Thankfully, entering, Mr. Blah Blah of 131215 and my email address into the unsubscribe form worked. I hope.

Diageo – please learn from your mistake. You should confirm invitations and registrations by email, especially when you send out marketing material.
Here’s what the Data Protection Commission says about spam. I certainly didn’t opt-in anywhere to be spammed. What do I do next?

Ireland Web

Anatomy of an AIB Phishing Email

I’m well used to getting phishing emails for American or internationally known banks but this morning an email supposedly from AIB made it past Gmail’s spam filters.

AIB phishing email

AIB posted an alert a few days ago to watch out for fraudulent emails, but this one appears to be different. I’m forwarding it on to

The content of the email is a Jpeg image, and it links to a php file on

As the rest of this post has a number of large screenshots click the link below to read the rest. You can probably ignore this if you’re not living in Ireland. 🙂

Continue reading “Anatomy of an AIB Phishing Email”


Does your Mr. Winkie need upgrading?

Sometimes trawling through the Gmail spam folder is worth it. One email reminded me of the Scrub’s character, Elliot Reid and her fascination with bajingos.

Much more entertaining than the usual 419 scams ..

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please i need your answer, i am Mr. Latif Khalid, manager and head of computing department here in BANK OF AFRICA (BOA).I have only written to seek your indulgence and assistance. I wish to make a transfer involving a huge amount of £22.6,000,000.00.(TWENTY TWO MILLION SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND POUND STERLING).


Will get away with spamming?

Oh dear. is the latest company to spam bloggers. Both Michele and Tom were spammed as part of an email campaign targeting it@Cork members. Monster harvested the emails from a members list on the it@Cork website which has since been removed.

Stewart Photo Supplies spammed a large number of photography related email addresses a few weeks back, but then they apologised which is great. Unfortunately someone from a Monster IP address left defensive and abusive comments so I don’t think an apology will be forthcoming.

Damien has dugg the post so give it a digg if you can! Tom has a new post including a voicemail he received from Monster threatening legal action. That’s bad, really bad.

Just say sorry John, it’ll help (a small bit).

The legislation surrounding this kind of behaviour is very clear, data can only be used for the purposes for which it is obtained. We in it@cork were obviously naive in publishing the members directory (since taken offline) but that doesn’t confer on anyone permission to harvest that address list and spam them.

The Irish Data protection Commissioner takes a very dim view of this and has the power to levy fines of up to €3,000 per address spammed (so potentially €570,000 in this case).

Update! Monster apologised and Tom has the email.


gmail: no third-party DSNs

Be careful if you forward email to a gmail account. Gmail doesn’t like receiving mail delivery status notices or reports. This server filled up overnight with tens of thousands of email reports bouncing back and forth between it and gmail. If you emailed me in the last 24 hours and I haven’t replied, I may not have received it (yet).

postfix/cleanup[12107]: 9FE58326C1: reject: header Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=delivery-status;??boundary=”A507733AD3.1188834275/” from local; from=<> to=<>: no third-party DSNs

I really haven’t had any luck with email recently …

How I fixed everything

  • First of all I disabled the forward to my gmail accounts by moving .procmailrc out of the way.
  • Then I deleted a lot of log files to make more breathing space for everything and watched the mail spool into my mail file.
  • That was taking too long so I shutdown Postfix and went into /var/spool/postfix/ and into the active, incoming and maildrop folders where I moved every file with the string “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender” out of the way:

    for i in `grep "Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender" * -rl`; do mv $i /tmp/xxx/ -vi; done

  • After restoring the .procmailrc, I restarted Postfix and lots of legitimate email started flowing again!
  • I added the following recipe to my .procmailrc which I hope will stop bounced messages getting to Google:

    * ^Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender

What caused the problem in the first place? A bounced email from Yahoo. Someone left a comment with a fake email address, subscribed to the post and when another comment was left on that post the subscription email bounced. It’s worked before fine so I’m not sure why Google are complaining now! Over 2GB of bounced mail. My poor server.

Update! It happened again but I stopped Postfix at 9.5MB free on the filesystem and this time I found out what went wrong. I implemented these Postfix rules Justin blogged about without running Spamassassin. Well, I used to run SA but then when I started using Gmail I stopped, which is probably why I didn’t see this earlier. Not Justin’s fault, my own for playing with fire!


Why not let Google filter your spam?

I’ve been running Spamassassin and Postgrey on my mail server for the past few months. It was only since the server was upgraded that I had enough juice to run the very intensive SA processes (even using spamd), but still on occasion the server would grind to a stop when a particularly nasty Rumpelstiltskin attack was underway.

So, last week I met Mark for a coffee and he showed me his Nokia N90 (or N80, I can’t remember) and the gmail app that was installed on it. He collects his gmail email on his phone, after it’s filtered for spam, and what with the cost of GPRS data, that’s quite a saving. I don’t intend reading my email on my phone (I hate my W810i anyway), but he did give me the idea of sending my email through Google and then popping it off into Thunderbird!


Now, I have a simple .forward to send on my email. I was able to shut down Postgrey and Spamassassin and email is delivered quickly and with few false positives or spams getting through. When I think of it, I can use the web interface to check what’s due to come down the line. You also get the added bonus of encrypted pop3 data, useful when you’re at a conference or simply on public wifi.

I’m sure everyone else has been doing this for ages and ages but hopefully this will inspire at least one person to follow suit and rid themselves of spam once and for all!


Filter spam through Postfix and Spamassassin

It has been a long time since I used and configured Sendmail, and I don’t miss it one bit now that Postfix is on the scene, but the amount of spam I receive does bother me. My Junk folder had reached 160MB, mostly due to some idiots sending huge spam attachments, but also because spam still works and a majority of the email circulating is spam and not legitimate.

Spamassassin is how we fight back. Unfortunately it needs a reasonably powerful server, gobs of memory and CPU when there’s a lot of incoming email and time to configure. Using spamd/spamc makes things easier on your server but it’s still a hefty price to pay for being spam free.

Here are a few pages I found useful this morning when getting things up and running on my Ubuntu server:

I also recommend running Postgrey to stop some junk mail before it gets into your system at all.

Now, if only there was a Spamassassin for the junk mail and clothes collection leaflets we get to the front door. How’s about a Defense Tower that would fire pellets when it noticed someone with leaflets calling to the door?

Edit: Justin talks about one of Spamassassin’s honeypot traps and about goings on at

Humour Web

Where's the evil in top posting?

Where is the evil in top posting when replying to a message on a mailing list? It’s something I’ve never understood, even after reading the many “why top posting is evil” posts and FAQs around the interweb.

Inspired by yet another email complaining about a top post to the GIMP mailing list I briefly searched Google, the source of all information in the world, and found this enlightening page on the evils of top-post complaints.

Regardless, top-posting flame wars are always fun to watch from the sidelines. People on both sides of the arguement will fight for their own side in what is a subjective matter and way of writing. Flame away!

Email Linux

Postgrey – Postfix Greylisting Policy Server

Greylisting is an anti-spam and virus measure you can use on your mail servers. When a remote server connects for the first time it’s automatically disconnected and can’t connect for a set time limit (default is 5 minutes). If it’s a real mail server it should keep trying to deliver the mail but viruses and spam will more than likely be stopped cold.

Postgrey is a greylisting server for Postfix that Colm Buckley installed on the machine that runs
On Debian, it’s as easy as apt-get install postgrey but then you have to configure Postfix to use it:
Edit /etc/postfix/ and modify the line that starts with:
smtpd_client_restrictions = ...
and add inet: to the end of it.
Now, you probably want to enable white listing of clients too so edit /etc/default/postgrey and change so it looks like this:
POSTGREY_OPTS="--inet= --delay=300 --auto-whitelist-clients"
You might want to add the IP range for your local network to /etc/postgrey/whitelist_clients so they’re not greylisted:
/^192\.168\.1\..*/ does the job for my situation I think.
Now, restart Postfix and Postgrey and you should see the following message appear in /var/log/
Client host rejected: Greylisted for 300 seconds (see
If you don’t, it’s not working!
Much later… It’s been active for about 20 hours now and I’ve only received about 10 spams, down from well over 200 usually! The delay in delivery is annoying, but it’s something we can hopefully live with!


Thank you SpamAssassin, again!

Every Monday morning it’s the same. There’s a pile of spam and it numbers in the hundreds of emails. Thankfully almost all of it was caught by SpamAssassin.
So, for those of you interested:

  1. Regular email: 1.3MB
  2. Spam email: 4.2MB
  3. Total spam: 507 emails.
  4. Spam that auto-trained: 400.
  5. Spam to my inbox: 3

Gives one a good feeling when you’re winning the battle on a daily basis. The war is another matter unfortunately.