by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 12th 2009 4:56pm
Remember back in the late 90s when people freaked out on various email lists when people would go nuts with the "reply-all" function, leading to annoying conversation threads no one wanted to be in on? Then, the rest of the world discovered how to properly configure email list management software, such that you could have discussion lists and announcement lists, and all was good in the world. Apparently, the US State Department never got that far, and it's just now coming to terms with the fact that incorrect reply-alls can be annoying. So, annoying, in fact, that the State Department has now sent a note to all foreign outposts, saying that it will punish those who abuse the reply-all function (thanks to everyone who sent this in) and complaining that reply-all "floods" were taking down the mail system in a form of a denial of service attack. Honestly, though, this just makes me wonder what the State Department is doing that its mail servers can't handle a bunch of diplomats hitting reply-all around the same time. That's quite different than a true denial-of-service attack. If that's really all that it takes to take out State's email server, I would imagine foreign hackers are gearing up a decent-sized real DoS attack on those servers by now.
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