DHS gets spammed with its own reports

October 03, 2007 11:34 AM EDT

That’s not our headline. It was suggested today by someone on the Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report mailing list after it started a spam-like inbox flood. 

 

Here’s the story: DHS provides a daily summary of news items for its mailing list subscribers,  which includes people with security and disaster response roles, vendors and news media. But its mailing list was misconfigured today. Anyone who hit "reply all" reached everyone one the list,  triggering some 200 emails -- and counting.   The temptation to reach out was too much.  It quickly became a big networking party. (Although as time went on, frustration mounted prompting more and more people to send emails to everyone on the list asking everyone to stop sending emails to everyone on the list.)

 

Many used it as a opportunity to say hello, where they were writing from, inquire about jobs, show support for their team, "Go Hogs,"  there may have been some matchmaking, and one even mentioned that his firm sold anti-spam products.

 

Wrote one:

 

I don’t think everyone realizes that yet, but what a nice way for all of us to get to know one another!

 

Some of the responses

 

-- I like long walks on the beach and a nice chardonnay with my roasted duck.  

  
-- Or even a nice chianti with that roasted duck - it is autumn!

 

-- Look at this as a business development opportunity.  (To that end, one chimed: does anyone need homeland security consulting?)

 

-- Howdy from Tampa, a sunny place for shady people.

 

-- I’m a Sagittarius ...

 

  -- I like scuba diving ...

 

 SysAdmin’s advice: Today’s lesson… Folks!
Always place large distro lists in the BCC field. 
Reply or reply to all is a non issue.

 

And, finally, wrote one person:

 

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

 
what does that mean?

Update: Are there any security issues raised by this? Some of the responses are from the world over. One list subscriber, who said he was writing from Iran, broadcast this query: "why are so many messages today?" This prompted another person to write: Open source really does mean open source!!!!! For those of you that have responded to this email from an official computer with your snazzy little signature at the bottom, especially those that have every piece of contact information listed, including those of you that have disclosed sensitive phone numbers and classified email addresses have knowingly provided this information to people all over the world.

 

See also:  DHS e-mail snafu reveals info on thousands of security pros