My sincere apologies to the 10,000 or so people who received spam sent through our TidBITS text issue list on 28-Aug-07. Joe alerted me to the problem while I was out picking up Tristan at his grandmother’s house, so I rushed home to deal with it. When I saw that our server still had some 12,000 messages to deliver, I shut it down and deleted the entire outgoing mail queue. After examining the traces of what happened, I don’t believe it was a targeted attack, just the result of an automated spam program happening to forge mail to and from exactly the wrong addresses in such a way to evade various anti-spam blockades we have in place. I believe that I’ve identified the hole and plugged it, and that this shouldn’t be possible again. It’s worth noting that the problem was entirely unrelated to the fact that we use an Xserve; if anything, my error lay in relying on a “secret” that couldn’t be protected sufficiently well. I feel terrible about allowing this to happen, and again, I apologize for the inconvenience. For anyone who unsubscribed in reaction, but who wishes to receive TidBITS in email again, you can do so on our Manage Mailing List Subscriptions page.
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