READ RECIEPTS automatically generated

From: Jeff Lewis (
Date: 01/26/04

  • Next message: Brad Arlt: "Re: security advice"
    Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:45:36 -0500

    I now have the unhappy duty of going through a company website email account and a domain catchall email account to look for sales leads. I do get leads for marketing there, today was 2 out of 290. Of course, the rest were SPAM. This is a POP3 account associated with an industry specific, custom-built website. And of course, the targeted email address is not obscured in any way. (I'll get to that next.)

    Much to my surprise on day 1 of doing this, I got an auto-response from my SMTP server's postmaster account saying that a message could not be delivered because the target mailbox was full. It was a READ RECEIPT from me!

    I use Outlook XP and have specifically turned these OFF, not "prompt me". So how did this get through?

    So I boluxed up the SMTP server name in the account settings before I went through those messages today (day 2). I started getting prompts right away that Outlook wanted to send a message, but that the server couldn't be found. Nothing in the OUT box.

    I exited Outlook XP and then restarted it just to see if this could eliminate the issue. Still nothing waiting in the OUT box, still complaints that the SEND server was not functioning.

    Finally, opened up the SEND QUEUE directory on the mail server and then corrected the SMTP server account setting on my Outlook XP client. Two messages immediately popped in, which I immediately pulled out. Opened them up with a text editor and sure enough, they were from me as read reciepts, along with the typical winmail.dat attachment.

    I've had this particular account for 9 months, and have had less than a dozen spam messages during that time. I've worked hard NOT to make the account available to SPAMMERS (like using this account for messages to newsgroups, dist lists, etc.) and feel like I may have blown it all now because of what I didn't catch on Day 1.

    So how do I stop this crap? I do NOT have an Exchange Server yet, but will in three months. Right now, I've inherited a crappy little SMTP server. (Don't ask, it's a networking nightmare here which I am cleaning up slowly.) But I need to protect myself and the rest of the employees here now.

    I have all of the latest patches deployed on my WinXP PC per Shavlik's HFNetChkPro 4 and Windows Update. I have all of the latest NAVCE updates, and have completely scanned the HD twice. Nothing found. Spybot shows nothing found as well. The individual sent messages include this:

        X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook, Build 10.0.4510
        X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1165

    So I am assuming that it truly is coming from my Outlook client and not from some installed malware. So why doesn't the waiting message show up in the OUT box? Why isn't Outlook following the rules about READ reciepts?

    I haven't re-opened the messages that sent them, as I would have several hundred to go through to find it. I was hoping that someone here might have a clue as to what I am clueless about.


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