Stupid Practice in Email Virus Protection Systems: Stop Spamming the Innocent

This dog is angry.

Spam is a reality, some 40% of email traffic. But there is absolutely no reason for the email scanning systems put in place to be sending reject emails back to accounts when the viruses generating them are spoofing (forging) the emails.

I cannot be the only person wasting work time deleting messages from “Network Associates Webshield”, “MAILER-DAEMON”. “postmaster-smtp”, “McAfee” etc telling me that some message I did not send was rejected, e,g:

Date: Mon Sep 8, 2003 7:40:17 AM America/Phoenix
Subject: Report to Sender

Incident Information:-

The file attachment your_details.pif you sent to the recipients listed above was infected with the W32/Sobig.f@MM virus and was not successfully cleaned.

From: postmaster-smtp-am
Date: Tue Sep 9, 2003 6:38:03 AM America/Phoenix
To: xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
Subject: Delivery Report (failure) for RM186061@xxxxx.com
Attachments: There is 1 attachment

This report relates to your message:
Subject: Re: Details,
Message-ID: <200309091216.HAA20040@mailgate1.xxxxx.com>,
To: <RM186061@xxxxxx.com>
of Tue, 9 Sep 2003 03:14:07 -0500

Your message was not delivered to RM186061@xxxxxx.com
for the following reason:
A problem with the message content was found
Infected with the W32/Sobig.f@MM virus !!!

Do you get how stupid and abusive this is? The software recognizes the message as generated by soBig, a known email spoofer, but bothers sending a message back to the unwary spoofee (me).

So this is my request (and a social networks experiment). Echo this blog, pass it on, write about it, move the news around the net, and see if somehow, this one, desparate person, howling to the moon, can generate enough momentum for the people who program virus detection software to wake up and change their stupic, lazy, and crappy systems.

If for some reason, you do not understand what I am barking about, let’s try this again. There are email viruses that jump from computer to computer, and they scan Outlook addressbooks, web cached files, and any other document looking for any text string that looks like an email address, quite possibly yours. Then it writes a fake email message, forged (or “spoofed”) to look as though it came from your own email account, and sends itself (the virus) as an attachment to numerous other victims.

Now, the email virus protection systems many sites have in place are actually smart enough to recognize a message sent by the known spoofing viruses (e.g. SoBig)– WHY ARE THEY NOT SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THE MESSAGE AND EMAIL ADDRESS LISTED AS A SENDER IS SPOOFED? and why do they send a message to the person who’s email address is been spoofed to let them know a message they did not send was stripped of a virus? Are these programs that stupidly written that they think a real person sat down to a real computer and composed a message about “Wicked Screensaver”???

Stupid, stupid, stooooooopid McAFee and company.

And why does one server send 8 repeated warning messages to the same person? Have the programmers heard about log files and string matching?

This leaves the poor victim nervously wondering if they do have a virus (and they likely do not as the message originated from someone else’s computer) AND those poor folks at the computer help desks are left trying to explain to people that they truly are not sending virus infected messages.

It is time to march up to the Network Associates, Virus Detective, Norton et al and say, “I AM MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!’ Stop sending rejected emails back to the innocent. The stupid software written by these companies are creating nearly as much spam as the virus itself.

Now in the time I have taken to write this, my inbox has another 30 “Mail Delivery Problem”, ” Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender”, “Confirmar alta en la lista”, “Delivery Status Notification (Failure)” messages that I must waste time discarding.

Blog on this. Pass it around. I am counting how long it takes my rant to act like a virus and infect the minds of the companies writing such supposed “virus protection” software than in essence is a significant propogator of rejection volume spam.


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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. You Know What?,,,, I feel ya.

    I really don’t know alot about viruses. I only know that they are NOT GOOD.

    I have also been getting emails saying “Mail delivery failed, returning message to sender, or Delivery Status Notification” it’s mostly saying my email was rejected, and it was sent back to me.

    I have no idea who none of these email addresses belong to. I knew I wasn’t sending them.

    This has been going on for over 2 weeks now. I couldn’t receive my emails because my mail box was always full of the junk mail attachments, saying it’s an upgrade of something from Microsoft, but I know better than that now.

    I’m tired of deleting.

    To get legit email, I have to go in my mail box 6 or 7 times a day and clean out the junk mail. I have blocked about 20 email addresses with all the funny looking letters they’re using, it’s not working because they have dozens of addresses. My address block is just about full.

    I went online to find out how I can keep the emails from coming to my address. I saw this site and that’s when I discovered what was really going on.

    Soooooooooo here goes.


  2. So far, as a social experiment, this has been a bust. I guess you cannot really sit down and start a meme, they just happen.

    Until then, keep on deleting those mails, those offers for strange things that you never knew needed supplements, offers for knives, printer toner, marriage enhancements, discount mortgages, yadda yadda yadda. There is no end in sight.

  3. Even worse….some telemarketer spamming techies have learned how to spoof my domain name URL and send spoof emails from it to everyone and their brother with a solicitation for buying this or that schemes. HTML pages…not so they can collect data, but to try and make a sale. So they aren’t spreading a virus, but they are hoping to get a sale. So I get tons of mailer return emails, and I get my domain name listed as a SPAMMER even though my domain name was spoofed. Go figure that one!

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