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Re: Queued Mail or Unreturnable Mail?

2008-05-05 05:03:52

Douglas Otis wrote:
Mention of SPF should be accompanied with security
admonishments not to expand evaluation macros.

The fine print is a bit more convoluted, most macros
are simply shorthands for "this domain", "space", or
similar harmless cases.

What you are talking about is the "this local part"
macro, and some esoteric contructs to extract labels
from "this local part".  I'd love to know if anybody
actually uses these baroque features.  In one case
I'm aware of the policy hit the RFC 4408 processing
limits, "PermError", tilt, game over.

these lists are often incomplete and allow NEUTRAL
or SOFT-FAIL results.

For the "accept and bounce later" question a PASS is
good enough.  It's also a start for white listing and
reputation schemes.  I also like either PASS or FAIL
better, but sometimes that's no option...

Such results are easily exploited.

...exploiting NEUTRAL makes no sense, it is just what
you have without XYZ (not limited to SPF), you won't
get a bonus for trying in vain.  Quite the contrary,
after receivers wasted their time and bandwidth for
nothing (NEUTRAL) they could treat it slightly worse
than only NEUTRAL.  

Abusing SOFTFAIL cannot work, it is already tricky to
use it in any meaningful way.  It's in the drirection
of DKIM-ADSP "all", it lets receivers do "something"
with it, anything from "ignore" to "discard them all".

SPF's use of generic TXT records at base domains is
unlikely to completely transition to the service
specific resource record, and will conflict with
future protocols and revisions.

For wildcard uses that is already the case, sooner or
later folks hopefully decide that using SPF records
is better.  If there is ever a v=spf3 it will build
on the new SPF RR alone, and not abuse TXT.

expecting MX for acceptance eliminates publishing  
or retrieving other SMTP related records within
sub-domains lacking MX records.

A decree that everybody should have "v=spf1 mx -all"
implicitly (without saying so) for all addresses, and
similarly "v=spf1 a -all" for HELOs, is a nice idea
in the spirit of RFC 821, but I fear it comes decades
too late.

Assume for a moment that a "v=spf1 mx -all" could be
mandatory.  Then publishing SPF policies stating this
fact would be unnecessary, and we could get away with
a variant of BATV.  But obviously that's not the case,
folks use other IPs to send, not only the MX IPs, and
some policies aggregate more than one sending ISP.