David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

April 30th, 2007 at 10:43 am Print This Post Print This Post

Junk Emails from Google Video

Last Thursday and Friday, someone decided it would be fun to use the Google Video feature that lets you invite a friend to view a video by email to send emails to most of our staff referring them to some questionable/conspiratorial videos (which I haven’t watched, but they sound more like hate and conspiracy videos than anything obscene from the descriptions).  The videos are set up so they appear to come at first glance from our senior pastor, with his name (run together and all lowercase) in the From line, even though the email address is [email protected] (and the Reply To address is his real email).

The emails appear to have stopped on Friday, although if they continue I can easily block them at one of several points (such as our spam filter).  I’ve sent an email to our staff explaining the details in case anyone was confused about the sender of the emails.  But there is no easy way for me to track down who actually sent the emails, since technically, Google did.  I could contact them about the abuse, and will if there is more of it.  But it is very annoying to have an email system that’s so open to abuse and spoofing and takes time out of my day to deal with such petty junk pulled as a prank.  And we have no idea whether this was sent to any church members or anyone outside of the staff, and if it was…will they know enough to realize it’s a spoofed piece of junk?  I know there are email verification and authentication schemes out there, some good, some bad, and none universal.  There are big problems with most, and the likelihood of authenticated emails becoming a global practice anytime soon is not something I’m holding my breath for, but an IT guy can dream, can’t he?

Thanks for letting me vent, as much as my strong feelings have been held back above to prevent publishing anything I’ll later regret :-)