[unisog] When you really need to blast email

James M. Blackburn BlackburnJ at brcc.edu
Tue Mar 11 18:37:19 GMT 2008


unisog-bounces at lists.dshield.org wrote:
> Our safety folks are working a campus-wide "emergency notice"
> system, where one option will be email (the logic behind that
> is outside the scope of this technical question).

I would argue that logic of selecting e-mail as a technology for
dispatching emergency notices is indeed within the scope of the
technical question.  Selecting an appropriate technology for a given
problem is always important, and I'm fairly certain that Internet e-mail
is not a great selection for dispatching emergency notifications.  The
reasons for this include the one you allude to below: we usually cannot
guarantee the proper transmission and delivery of a message over a
network that we do not control.

> Yahoo (and others) like to rate-limit email, and we've tried
> to no avail to remedy this .. usually we get a "421 try again
> later" (Yahoo). For things like our campus mail digest or
> notices of a snow day, a 15 minute delay isn't a problem. For
> something more serious like "stay inside and away from the window",
> it is. 
> 
> My first thought was was to configure a box with multiple
> virtual IPs (possibly on different subnets) and blast them
> out in parallel with hopes of staying underneath the "radar"
> .. by doing multipath routing with Neftilter, for example
> (since I apparently can't do this with sendmail directly).
> 
> Is there a better approach than this brute-force hack?

That may cause an angry system administrator to consider blocking your
entire allocation of IP addresses.  I would advise against it.  Would
you happen to have tried contacting anyone at Yahoo or any other free
e-mail provider about this?  If you must use Internet e-mail for
emergency notifications, working directly with the major e-mail
providers may help a lot.  They might be willing to make exceptions to
their rate-limiting if you explain the situation, especially in light of
the potential public relations impact.
-- 
Jim Blackburn
GCIH GCFA
Blue Ridge Community College
blackburnj at brcc.edu



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