Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321

Sam Varshavchik <mrsam@courier-mta.com> Sun, 04 October 2020 23:09 UTC

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From: Sam Varshavchik <mrsam@courier-mta.com>
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Subject: Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321
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Keith Moore writes:

> On 10/4/20 5:46 PM, John Levine wrote:
>
>> *  Do not host your email system ‘in the cloud’
>>> I'm not sure what this actually means or why it's still a bad idea.
>>> Cloud hosting makes a lot of sense for various reasons.
>> It's a bad neighborhood, since you can expect your neighbors to be
>> poorly managed botted spam-spewing web servers. It varies by cloud
>> provider but the median is pretty bad.
>
> Is it really fair to assess senders based on their "neighborhoods"?    At

Life's not fair.

Whether it's fair, or not, if someone wishes to evaluate an individual IP  
address based on its "neighborhood", a.k.a., the hosting provider, it is  
their prerogative to do so. Their mail server, their rules.

Or, if someone decides to willingly outsource their evaluation to a third  
party provider, it is their prerogative to do so as well.
 
> what point does this depart from common sense and into the realm of pure  
> prejudice?  ("That IP address is from across the tracks, which is a bad part  
> of the net.")

Yes, it is prejudice. So?

I'm prejudiced against Chinanet, China Unicom, Digital Ocean, and a few  
others. All I see from those providers are dictionary attacks, and spam. And  
no response to abuse complaints. So, goodbye. Is it fair to the lessors of  
the IP addresses that do not launch dictionary attacks or spam outbursts?  
Yes, it's unfair. Well, that's life. Sorry. I don't have to the time to keep  
track of bad IPs, on a one by one basis. I have other things that are more  
important on my priority list.

There happens to be some entities who do not like the side of railroad  
tracks that I live in, by the way. Or, they outsource their mail filtering  
to third parties that carry that opinion. I never whined about how unfair it  
is. And it never entered my mind to complain to them as well. I recognized  
that it's their mail server, their rules. They are free to take care of  
their business, and I'm free to take care of mine, in whichever way I see  
fit.

> In most respects outsourcing of server provisioning, maintenance, and  
> connectivity has become normal, widely accepted, often recommended  
> practice.   Why should email be different?

Who said it should be?

> It's hard to escape the impression that a lot of spam filters are based on  
> imposing completely arbitrary restrictions on senders, on the belief that  
> "good senders" will know which hoops they have to jump through (and have  
> sufficient funding to do so) while "bad senders" won't.

Yes, they may seem to be arbitrary to an outside observer. But, they must  
have merit to whoever is using that spam filter. If it didn't have any  
merit, then they would not be put into place, by definition. And the only  
ones whose opinion counts, with respect to their mail server, is them. If it  
makes sense, to them, to enable EHLO domain verification (dragging this  
subject matter back into the thread kicking and screaming), then they're  
going to do that no matter what verbiage remains in the successor to RFC  
5321. You can take that to the bank.