Network administration over the holidays



Nobody wants to be tied to their job over the holidays, but what if someone has hacked your servers and is using your machine to scam thousands of people a day? Does that keep for two weeks? Does someone monitor the abuse address? Incidents.org has a post on messages they’ve got from some reporting to abuse administrators receiving back vacation notices that things are basically on “autopilot until sometime next year.”


They also have some other reminders which I know I need to refresh my memory on…

Unless you turn off the systems, they will still need a bit of watching and caring. Do you have someone on call in case the burglar alarm goes off? Make sure you have someone checking the ‘abuse’ or ‘security’ mailboxes once a day (at least). You may have them even forwarded to a pager if you can filter the spam.

And while I am on the topic: Make sure you do actually have an ‘abuse’ and a ‘security’ alias for all of your domains. There are a number of aliases you should define for each of your domains:

RFC2142 provides a number of references to other RFCs, and suggests the following aliases:

postmaster@domain (RFC822). This should exist on all mail servers. You should also have postmaster@IP-Address-of-the-mail-server.
usenet@domain (RFC977). I know a lot of people will write to say differently. But I consider usenet dead for all practical purposes. You can probably do without this address.
abuse@domain
trouble@domain
noc@domain
security@domain
Take a look at your domain name and IP address whois entries and make sure they are current. For IP addresses, you may just find your ISPs contact info, which is fine as long as they notify you.

Spam to these addresses has become a problem. I don’t think there is a great solution, as some of the mail sent to these mail boxes may include copies of spam messages (even if you don’t send them, others may impersonate you and you still want to know. Abuse reports are one way you will find out).

That much said, if you’ve got all the bases covered, good for you. I think I need to make sure all the required addresses are aliased on the domains I control. Also, I hope that the holidays can be a quiet time that you don’t HAVE to go chasing problems, or respond to abuse messages….

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