The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Sunday, January 14, 2007

SPEWS is dead, long live APEWS?

As some of you may have noticed, and as I mentioned last week, anti-spam organization SPEWS went quiet a few months ago, issuing no database updates since August.

As many have predicted, a new organization has appeared to fill in the gap. Calling themselves APEWS (Anonymous Postmaster Early Warning System), they've imitated the look-and-feel of the original SPEWS. Presumably they intend to provide the same services that SPEWS provided.

The domain name was registered in late December. The registration is in Brazil; the name servers are in Germany. According to their web page the site went live on Jan 1. SORBS, UCEPROTECT, and TQMCUBE have already started mirroring their zones.

In their inaugural post announcing their existence, APEWS announced how they will be doing business. As with SPEWS before them, there will be no contact for them (although they'll be monitoring the anti-spam mailing lists, especially Unlike SPEWS, APEWS will occasionally contact ISPs with problems, and presumably warnings of impending listings. The announcement stresses that all official email from APEWS will come from an IP address resolving to Any other IP addresses indicate faked email.

Of course, in the long run, the proof will be in the pudding. Creating a DNS blocklist is more than just building a web page and exporting some DNS zones. They need to establish a reputation for publishing accurate and fair lists and keeping them up to date. Clearly, their adoption of a name and web style similar to SPEWS is an attempt to leverage off of SPEWS' own reputation.

Although I welcome a replacement for SPEWS, I take a cautious view of APEWS, who have yet to prove themselves in their own right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they are mirroring uceprotect, I think they are uceprotect. The list is rather uselist in that they aren't a spam block list as they list the IP addresses of spam blocking services that compete with them. They are more like invisible bullies that use the list to harass legitimate spam filtering services.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not so sure apews will make it any more than spews did. From what I saw spews lost credibility by listing whole blocks of IP's for one or two bad ppl and no way to whitelist good IP's within this block.

This tactic makes it very hard on many innocent admins like me. Currently I am in one of these blocks of IP's with my upstream provider. I am now faced with contacting my upstream provider and having them go after whoever in my IP block is mucking the works, which is one possible virtue of apews because it will make big dedicated hosting companies remove spammers. The other tactic is to move to a different host on a clean IP block that will stay clean, but this is a huge job and not a positive solution as in a few months it may happen again.

I am not rich and don't have endless time on my hands to move my whole server(s) around, so I am forced to be against apews as with the old spews. My opinion, there has got to be a better way to encourage large dedicated hosting companies to remove spammers that dosn't burden small dedicated server admins like me in the process. I am loosing faith in for using the apews list and am considering using a different resource for blacklist lookups if dnsstuff keeps apews in their listing.

Sooooo, I say down with apews, find a better way, let me contact you and plead my case. Let me whitelist my ip in the block if I prove innocent. And pooh on you dnsstuff for empowering them. There are many currently working spam databases that work good and don't burden the innocent small guy admins. Lets use those and keep looking for better ways to rm -rf spammers.


10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

APEWS is reducing its viability by blacklisting entire /16 and /17 nets. Is the collateral damage worth it? This is the same mindset that says civilian casualties are OK if you killed the evil target. Very dangerous thinking, IMHO.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:46 AM  
Blogger centraldns said...

APEWS.ORG is a fake service.They banned my IP address without a cause ;-( and they run thousands of false positive also !!!!.Beware.

1:02 PM  

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