email problem or not
April 21, 2013 8:13 AM   Subscribe

I get a TON of bounced email, have I been hacked or is this something else?

here is one example:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO::
host []: 550 5.1.1 unknown or illegal alias:

------ This is a copy of the message, including all the headers. ------

Received: from [] (port=49997 helo=localhost)
by with esmtpsa (TLSv1:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:256)
(Exim 4.80)
(envelope-from )
id 1UTvV8-002JQg-Kq
for; Sun, 21 Apr 2013 08:44:23 -0600
To: Mark
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Reply-To: Chris Grubert
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2013 07:54:39 -0800 (PST)
X-Mailer: YahooMailWebService/
Subject: amazing!!!!!!!!!!
From: Chris Grubert

Hey, Mark. How are you doing? I found great site
Please look at this site right now. What do you think about this?

Best regards,
Chris Grubert
posted by raildr to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably a Joe Job. Spammers are using your email address as the "reply to" address.
posted by amarynth at 8:15 AM on April 21, 2013

Someone is using your mail address as the return address for spam they are sending. Since mail transfer is not authenticated, this is trivial to do. Spammers do this because anti-spam software has started checking to see whether the sender actually exists. Your address was probably chosen at random. It can also be done maliciously to fill up your inbox, if you happened to have pissed off a spammer who now knows your e-mail address.
posted by kindall at 8:16 AM on April 21, 2013

And unfortunately, there's not a damned thing you can do about it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:19 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

It could also be backscatter spam, which isn't targeted at you specifically. If you manage your own domain or mail server, there are a couple of strategies for mitigating this sort of thing (like Sender Policy Framework), but they're infrequently supported by receiving mail servers and may not do any good in your case.
posted by ddbeck at 9:29 AM on April 21, 2013

If you dig into all the headers, you might be able to figure it out.

But I've seen spam like this (and gotten FAX and voicemail spam like it too) where the idea is that nobody pays attention to a straight up pitch. But their curiosity gets the best of them if they "accidentally" receive something that looks like someone else's message.
posted by gjc at 10:41 AM on April 21, 2013

I had good luck with SPF. Since the emails "from" you aren't coming from an authorized mail server (after SPF is enabled) the emails just get silently dropped and never bounce back to you. My spam folder on Gmail (I was forwarding my domain mail there) dropped 90% after I enabled SPF on my domain.
posted by COD at 12:22 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

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