RANT: Spam and Sonic.net

General discussions and other topics.
148 posts Page 1 of 15
by tensigh » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:16 am
<warning>This message is going to be a rant. Feel free to ignore it</warning>

I've always thought Sonic was kick-ass and their technical knowledge is top notch. But damn, when it comes to Spam, Sonic is really starting to suck. I'm getting way too many messages that are clearly spam. I've contacted support and have received a lot of advice but I still get stuck.

I've tuned SpamAssassin to mark anything above 2.0 as spam and have had to tweak many of the settings hope to weed out the crap, but I either get a number of false positives and/or spams that slip through.

I still would like to hold out some hope for Sonic since they're a.) trailblazers b.) have great service and c.) are a local SoCo company, but this is getting more and more frustrating.

Thank you to anyone who's read this.
by cdkeen » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:35 am
I notice some blacklist rules to discard foreign spam; you could also restrict which locales can deliver here: https://members.sonic.net/email/spam/spamassassin/ . Notwithstanding, hopefully the spam subsides. Good luck!
cdkeen - Sonic.net System Operations
by tensigh » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:01 pm
Yeah, done that too. Most of the messages are in English and the domains are forged, so that doesn't help. :(
Thanks anyway.
by virtualmike » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:13 pm
It's not a perfect science. The spammers constantly are trying to get their spew past our filters. I'm amazed that anyone can keep ahead of them.
by kevinmcm » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:53 pm
I gave up on Sonic's mail years ago after getting into some trouble with them about it. I host my own on a Mac Mini running an old copy of Snow Leopard Server.

The problem with content filtering like SpamAss is that it encourages networks to hosts spammers and it costs nothing at all for spammers to work around it. Spammers can also tailor their spam until filtering errors rise - legitimate e-mail becomes lost in a flooded "graymail" inbox as spam and real mail becomes indistinguishable.

I've found blacklists to work better. Sonic offers a handful of blacklists in the "Blacklisted Servers" panel. Spamhaus and Spamcop are pretty good. I'd avoid SORBs. The blacklist causes mail to be refused rather than accepted and re-routed. This is better because it targets spam-friendly networks and the sender knows that a message can't be delivered. Nothing is silently lost. You're also more likely to be removed from spam lists if spammers know they can't deliver to you.

What's missing from Sonic is a custom blacklist. China, S Korea, and Taiwan have no intention of controlling network abuse but people would hesitate to use a general purpose blacklist that included them entirely. For an individual, blocking those countries can be more effective than anything else. I also block some "marketing" companies that specialize in helping US customers avoid CAN-SPAM laws.
by tensigh » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:46 am
I've considered switching to blacklists. I'm amazed at how well Google is at filtering spam. I don't use my Gmail account as much but I can't recall the last time I got a spam on that account. Granted, it's Google so it's evil, but evil with no spam is still mail with no spam.
by wa2ibm » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:14 am
I, too, run my own mail server and use block lists. I do include two different SORBs lists and haven't had any trouble with them (so far). I have a gmail account that forwards everything to me at my server and haven't seen any spam make its way to me via that path. My sonic account also forwards everything to me via my spamcop account.

What spam that does make it through to the few family member mailboxes gets reported back to spamcop, so eventually those will end up on their block list.

The block lists that I use are: cbl.abuseat.org, bl.spamcop.net, xbl.spamhaus.org, rhsbl.sorbs.net, safe.dnsbl.sorbs.net
by bobrk » Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:20 pm
I use Sonic's awesome spam filtering, but I set my score so low, I have to whitelist anything that doesn't look like personal email directly to me.
by patty1 » Thu May 01, 2014 8:28 am
Yeah, the spam situation has definitely gotten worse in the past couple of months. I've tweaked my settings on the Sonic website but am still getting 8-10 spam messages per day; it used to be a handful per week. I wish we could blacklist on more items than the ones currently available. Yes, I can add keywords to my .procmailrc file, but I'd prefer to not have all those messages come to my account in the first place.

I'm not about to drop my SA cutoff point to 2.0, but if anyone has less drastic settings to recommend, please share them!

by tensigh » Thu May 01, 2014 3:24 pm
Patty, I'm not sure dropping the SA setting to 2.0 will make that big of a difference. I'm at 2.0 with many of the conditions customized and I still get several per day.

I'm beginning to doubt SA as a viable means of stopping spam. If this many users are complaining, something needs to be done. Maybe time has passed SA up. There are a lot more tools out there and I'm hoping Sonic will explore other alternatives.

I just received a spam that had my email address as the sender so it got through (naturally I didn't send it). I really hope someone at Sonic is paying attention to this issue and takes action. I'm going to start using my Gmail account more often (never had ONE spam on that account) and if the spam situation doesn't get better I'll just drop my Sonic account. I love Sonic - I've been a customer since it was founded but paying for email where I get spam seems stupid when I have a free account that NEVER gets spam.
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