Spam-fighting operation is shut down

The Open Relay Database (ORDB), which kept a blacklist of open relays being used to send spam, has shut down.

Spam-fighting operation is shut down

ORDB kept a database of the IP addresses of verified open SMTP relays, which sysadmins could block email from. However, the non-profit organisation announced yesterday that ‘the general consensus within the team is that open relay RBLs are no longer the most effective way of preventing spam from entering your network as spammers have changed tactics in recent years, as have the anti-spam community.’

It says that this, coupled with the fact that the maintainers’ time is demanded elsewhere, means that the DNS and mailing lists were switched off yesterday, and the site will be taken off air by the end of the year. It had been active for five and a half years.

The group advises sysadmins to investigate alternative means of spam filtering.

Steve Linford, of antispam organisation Spamhaus, told us: ‘ORBD did a great job and were very successful in ending the open relay problem, which was up until a few years ago the main way spam was sent. Thanks to systems such as ORDB there are nowadays very few open relays on the Internet, so much so that spammers no longer use open relays.

‘Anyone still using ORDB today needs to remove from their mail server configurations. There is no need to seek an alternative ‘open relays’ list, since the problem no longer exists in any serious form.

‘Nowadays 90 per cent of spam is sent through hijacked proxies (PCs infected by trojan and viruses through which spammers send out spam) and the other 10 per cent comes direct from servers operated by the spammers off their own domains. To block spam from those two main sources most networks use the Spamhaus XBL (hijacked proxies) and the Spamhaus SBL (direct spam sources).’

Alex Eckelberry, of antispyware company Sunbelt said: ‘Good. Open relay RBLs had their use years ago, but even then generated false positives. They’re useless now.’

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