[Gllug] Email Autoresponders

Ryan Cartwright r.cartwright at equitasit.co.uk
Sun Jan 18 20:48:12 UTC 2009

2009/1/18 Stephen Nelson-Smith <sanelson at gmail.com>:
> On Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 2:45 PM, Martin A. Brooks
> <martin at hinterlands.org> wrote:
>> On 17/01/2009 14:05, Stephen Nelson-Smith wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> Notwithstanding the general feeling that we don't much like
>>> autoresponders... suppose one has been asked to implement one - I'm
>>> looking for recommendations.
>>> I'm using exim 4.63 as the MTA.
>>> The requirement is that each user can easily set or unset an
>>> autoresponse of their choice.
>> I would use the aged but entirely servicable "vacation".
> Installed and tested - looks super.
> One worry - how does "vacation" know not to reply to spam?  Inbound
> email is scored with spamassasin, and dropped in a SPAM or PROBABLY
> SPAM imap folder if appropriate, but it does still get delivered, so
> presumably would get answered?
> I could imagine the following:
> "Hi, I'm travelling for the next 3 days, but if your matter is urgent,
> call my cell on 07890 123456.  I will be checking my personal email on
> notreal at donttryit.com, but won't have access to work email until my
> return."
> Yummy, thinks spammer, I got a reply, I have another email address to
> try, and (although they probably don't care) I have a phone number.
> Joel's link to the exim wiki looked comprehensive, if complicated.
> However if vanilla vacation is going to reply to spam, I guess I can't
> really use it unmodified?

Most spam we receive has a spoofed sender/reply-to so vacation would
thus reply to somebody who did not send the original message.

Presuming you call vacation in a router and use SpamAssassin. SA will
add a new header ( e.g. X-Spam-Flag ) and you can have your vacation
router run only if X-Spam-Flag does not have a value of YES (or is not
present if that is how you have SA setup) .

Of course that will mean vacation does not respond to false negatives
and will respond to false positives but it's better than nothing.

Ryan Cartwright
Equitas IT Solutions
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

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