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Re: Remailer Attack



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Robert A. Costner wrote:
>>Also, by my reading of the "uptime" statistic in Raph's remailer
>>chart, a reply block is not going to be very reliable for receiving
>>mail.
>
>The Redneck remailer, for instance, has a 99+% uptime rate.  The
>reason for this being high is that it is run under a business model.
>The connectivity basically cannot go down.  There has only been 23
>minutes of connectivity downtime in the last year.  Redneck is run on
>a business quality network with multiple backbone feeds.  But things
>break down after that.  Redneck also runs on an underpowered 486 with
>no "hotfix" backup machine.  It is not considered to be a mission
>critical piece of equipment.  I might notice Redneck have a problem
>at 1:00 am, but it can wait until in the morning to get fixed.
>Situations like this, combined with software upgrades account for
>downtime.

Thank you for this detailed description.

One more question: When redneck is down, do other remailers discard
their mail if they cannot connect to it?

If this is the case, it would seem to be a serious design flaw,
probably prompted by the desire to save disk space.  A quarter per
message would probably cover the cost.

Another general comment on remailer statistics: 99+% uptime sounds
good, but really it isn't.  For some reason, we are accustomed to the
idea that remailers should lose messages.  Well, they shouldn't.  A
remailer is just electronic mail with a few extra features and
electronic mail is exceptionally reliable.

According to Raph, redneck has an uptime of 99.83%.  By my
understanding, this means for every 1000 messages handled, redneck
loses 17.  That's actually pretty high, especially if it's your
message that gets lost.

I do not mean to pick on redneck in particular, or, really, any of the
remailers.  But where the remailer network stands right now, it cannot
be used for everyday mail which cuts down its usage quite a bit and
makes it a lot harder to build nifty things on top of it like reply
block systems.

>This is similar to the AOL effect.  It is often hard to have respect
>for an unknown poster from AOL.  The remailer at EFGA is new.  I've
>come to realize that this natural hostility towards a remailer is a
>good reason to put the remailer on a separate domain.  We might do
>this.

Ideally the domain would be shared by other non-anonymous users, but
hostility would probably be reduced even if the domain were something
like "guest.efga.org", even if many people knew that really meant
"anonymous".

Monty Cantsin
Editor in Chief
Smile Magazine
http://www.neoism.org/squares/smile_index.html
http://www.neoism.org/squares/cantsin_10.html

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