FC: FAA.gov ran open mail relay, could let people forge FAA email

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 05:53:04 PST

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    [Excerpted from RISKS Digest Vol 21 Issue 73. (ftp://ftp.sri.com/risks) --DBM]
    Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 17:15:16 -0500 (EST)
    From: Bill Duncan <bduncanat_private>
    Subject: FAA Asleep at the Control Column?
    A few days ago while looking through the e-mail rejection logs, I was
    surprised to find some e-mail blocked by virtue of being in an RBL list and
    coming from a host in the FAA.GOV domain.  The e-mail was obvious spam, as
    I'd blocked the same sender (from a domain in the UK) from various other
    Being a new private pilot and with the recent of September events fresh in
    my mind, I quickly investigated.  Sure enough, there was a host on their
    network, loaded with software from that outfit in Redmond, and happily
    spewing relayed mail.  (I tested whether it would relay mail from anywhere
    to anywhere else by telneting to its smtp port.)
    Furthermore, to get on this exclusive RBL list, the e-mail relay must've
    been in operation for some time.
    Imagining scenarios where relaying e-mail through the FAA system might at
    best be an embarrassment, and at worst might be some kind of a security
    threat, I immediately e-mailed whatever addresses I could find on their
    website as well as the usual postmasterat_private etc.  So far, no response,
    and according to my log files, I'm still rejecting spam from them.
    While many US Federal Government agencies are discovering the virtues of
    Open Source for security, I'm dismayed to find that the FAA is still using
    software well known for insecurities on their website as well as other hosts
    connected to the Internet.  Getting junk e-mail relayed through the FAA might
    be just an annoyance, but it might also point to other security issues
    So if you get any e-mail from the FAA, be careful.  It's probably just
    SPAM, but it might be worse.
       Follow-up: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 15:41:11 -0500 (EST)
    I didn't want to include the identifying IP address in the original
    submission, to protect the guilty, but it looks like they took it off this
    morning.  I tried pinging the address and they are no longer there.  The
    last SPAM which was sent my way from that address was at 1:15 this morning
    Although I e-mailed about 4 addresses at the FAA, including one for emergency
    response, I've received no replies as yet.  But I guess the message finally
    got through this morning.  Maybe they'll take it as a wakeup call, which I
    didn't think they'd really need after the recent events...
    Here's the last log entry from my mail log, with the local address changed.
    I'm using Exim.
    2001-11-05 01:15:18 recipients from atos.faa.gov [] refused
    2001-11-05 01:15:18 recipient <localnameat_private> refused
       from atos.faa.gov []
       sender=<masterdisc8745at_private> (host_reject_recipients)
    Bill Duncan, VE3IED http://www.beachnet.org bduncanat_private
    +1 416 693-5960
    Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 20:39:12 -0500
    From: Monty Solomon <montyat_private>
    Subject: Sony uses DMCA against Aibo Enthusiast's Site
    Sony Dogs Aibo Enthusiast's Site
    Courts: The company uses a controversial law to stop owners from altering
    the robotic pet. Some consumers balk.
    Sony Corp. is using a controversial U.S. law aimed at protecting
    intellectual property to pull the plug on a Web site that helps owners of
    Aibo, Sony's popular and pricey robotic pet, teach their electronic dogs new
    tricks.  Aibo owners are outraged, and hundreds have vowed to stop buying
    Sony products altogether until the company backs off. Sony has sold more
    than 100,000 Aibos worldwide since 1999, at prices ranging from $800 to
    $3,000. The dogs have spawned a community of enthusiasts who fuss over the
    mechanical marvels as if they were real canines.  [Source: Article by Dave
    Wilson and Alex Pham, *Los Angeles Times*, 1 Nov 2001]
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