Thursday, December 18, 2003

as long as i make this weblog available to the world, why not all my e-mail too?

I have been trying to use this fancy new SpamSlayer spam filter, which is supposed to use this fancy Bayesian algorithm to facilitate its spamcatching, but it wasn't actually filtering any of my e-mail. I just got the following e-mail from a computer consultant regarding the problem:

I think the problem was the fact that your .procmailrc file was group 

writeable (mode 664). Not many people have their umask set up like
that, and procmail is very security conscious--it'd be possible for
someone other than you to direct your mail anywhere with those
I changed the permissions on the file, I think that should
fix the problem.
The obvious question being: How the hell did my e-mail account get set up so that anybody with any account could step right up and have copies of my incoming e-mail resent wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted? Do I have some freaky technologically-inclined stalker in the department? Am I the target of research espionage? Is the department monitoring exactly how much of my time I spend doing e-mail?

I know I didn't do this, since I have the airtight alibi of having only a vague idea of how to set UNIX permissions and no idea what the .procmailrc file or a "umask" is.

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