Open Relays

Popularity:

7

Simplicity:

7

Impact:

5

Risk Rating:

6

Open relays are nirvana for spammers and they must be avoided at all costs. An open relay is a misconfigured mail server that allows any client to send messages to any email domain (not only local and/or accepted ones as logic would dictate).

Spammers are constantly harvesting Internet address space for open relays, and as soon as they find them, use them for sending out SPAM at very high rates. The reason is that sending millions of messages directly from a Mail User Agent (that has no queue concept) or a spammer's own MTA server would be impractical when an open relay can be freely used. Other than adding a new hop in the chain, open relays allow spammers to abuse someone else's bandwidth and disk space for mail queues.

Of course, someone might open up a relay deliberately but the reasons for doing so, other than setting up a honeypot, are very obscure.

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