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Linux Email: Set up and Run a Small Office Email Server by Patrick Ben Koetter, Magnus Back, Alistair McDonald, Carl Taylor, David Rusenko

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Dictionary Attacks

Dictionary attacks are attacks where clients try to send mail to countless potential recipients, whose e-mail addresses are derived from words or names in a dictionary:

anton@example.com
bertha@example.com
...
zebediah@example.com

If your server doesn't have a list of valid recipient addresses, then it must accept these mails regardless whether the recipient actually exists. Then, this onslaught of e-mails needs to be processed as usual (virus check, spam check, local delivery) until, at some stage, the system realizes that the recipient does not even exist!

Then a non-delivery report will be generated and sent back to the sender.

So, for every non-existing recipient, one mail is being accepted and processed and additionally another ...

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