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Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 17,624
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Fixes: 158
Registered: 05-04-2007

Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Same thing as we did for Madasafish yesterday is being rolled to Plusnet this afternoon.
Quote
Planned Outbound Email Server Maintenance - Wednesday 21st January 4.00pm-6.00pm
When's this work happening?
Today.
What does it affect?
Outbound Email delivery.
How long will it take?
About an hour.
What does the work involve?
We will be making changes to the routing of customers' outbound email so that it passes through our IronPort spam filtering platform. This will allow us to reduce the volume of unsolicited email sent sent by spammers trying to abuse our email platform.
Is it likely to cause problems?
No.
Is there anything else I need to know?
We are performing this work to reduce the possibility of our mail servers being placed on third party blacklists. In the past this has created problems for customers trying to send emails to other providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Comcast.
Emails will still be sent to our relay servers, and you don't need to make any configuration changes. However all email will pass through the IronPort spam platform before reaching the recipient.
Customers who are using SPF with third party domains may need to update their SPF records.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework
The IP addresses of the new IronPort boxes are:
212.159.7.99
212.159.7.100
212.159.7.35
212.159.7.36

Kind Regards,
Chris Parr
Customer Support
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Help Team
48 REPLIES
mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Quote
Planned Outbound Email Server Maintenance - Wednesday 21st January 4.00pm-6.00pm
Is it likely to cause problems?
No.

Yeah right and did you seriously expected me to believe that and not try a 10 second test to confirm whether it was in fact reality or primarily fiction and/or the result of someone consuming a very large bucketful of wishful thinking  !!
Oh this is just brilliant  Roll eyes Well done PN for providing yet another good potential kick in the nuts to genuine paying customers all in the name of allegedly addressing the problems with spammers that have previously been allowed to abuse the system in just about any way they so wish for years. Grrrrrrrrrr  Angry
Not only is it virtually impossible to get genuine but potentially dodgy messages received by PN A/Cs via ironport without them getting silently eaten on the way REGARDLESS OF THE A/C MMM SETTINGS but it is now also apparently impossible to get them delivered to anywhere in the internet world at all because any potentially dodgy messages are currently being silently eaten following receipt by relay and thus never get any further than PN Towers.  So as well as the recipient not being aware that their email might have been quietly eaten by PN, the sender has absolutely no idea that it might well have been either.  Excellent stuff.
So remind me again as I have my daily wade through all the spam PN has generously provided me with at no extra charge ... Why am I paying handsomely to a company that has virtually welcomed spammers and has apparently done nothing whatsoever to curtail their activities over the best part of at least the last 10 years but who somehow insists on instituting draconian measures various in a blind panic, without proper testing or any published specification, that ALWAYS seems to manage to generally screw up the service provided to genuine paying customers rather than just that of the serial abusers ?
daveyb
Grafter
Posts: 128
Registered: 04-08-2007

Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

Hi,
Regarding the notification "Planned Outbound Email Server Maintenance - Wednesday 21st January 4.00pm-6.00pm" from yesterday (21/1/09).
Considering the current concern over IronPort, will we know if any email has not been sent (ie. will we, the sender, get a bounce-back notificiation, etc.)?
Thanks.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 17,624
Thanks: 610
Fixes: 158
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

Outbound email that is blocked by the IronPorts will be silently dropped AIUI.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Help Team
daveyb
Grafter
Posts: 128
Registered: 04-08-2007

Re: Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

Thanks for such a quick response Chris. However, I know that ocassionally (perfectly legitimate no-spam) emails I send get flagged as spam by the recipients servers. How am I going to know now if emails aren't being delivered? It's hardly acceptable to have to ring people after every email to see if it go tthrough.
Tony_W
Grafter
Posts: 745
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

You beat me to it daveyb - I was penning the following while you were replying....
I run a software support desk. If IronPort does not notify me that it has (mistakenly) blocked one of my emails, I will think that the customer has been replied to - when in actual fact they are still waiting for me to get in touch.
Tony
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,090
Thanks: 428
Fixes: 21
Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

Can a Mod move this to the correct forum please.
I was just reading a thread in the IronPort forum and wondered what it was about.
Well mikeb, I can now see, words fail me.
@PN
WHY?
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 12,799
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Introduction of IronPort to Mail Relay Servers

Outbound email identified as spam will be silently dropped. I'd like to make it clear thought that this is set *very* leniently. I am yet to see a legitimate email lost. @Anotherone, I will reply to mikeb's thread over in the IronPort forum, however I am also yet to see an example of a legitimate inbound email being silently dropped for a customer with Edge Protection switched off in the Manage My Mail settings.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Products Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Community Veteran
Posts: 38,206
Thanks: 898
Fixes: 54
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

[Moderator's note by Jim (Oldjim)  topic started by daveyb from Community support merged as is the same subject ]
daveyb
Grafter
Posts: 128
Registered: 04-08-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Hi Bob and others,
I'm really, really against this. It's difficult enough that ocassionally the recipient's servers flag emails as spam and you then have to ask them to check their spam folder, but if things don't get through now, we won't know where the problem is - whether it's at the IronPort end or the recipient's end. We need to know that our mail relay servers are faithfully and consistently delivering all mail to their intended destination. We really can't have a solution where things can get silently dropped and no-one is any the wiser.
What is the problem with PlusNet being blacklisted anyway - surely you only get blacklisted for high volumes of spammy email, so can't you identify the username that's relaying lot's of spammy email and (i) put a temporary stop on their account (ii) terminate the account if it is genuinely being abused. I am being too simplistic?
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Quote
What is the problem with PlusNet being blacklisted anyway - surely you only get blacklisted for high volumes of spammy email, so can't you identify the username that's relaying lot's of spammy email and (i) put a temporary stop on their account (ii) terminate the account if it is genuinely being abused. I am being too simplistic?

That's exactly what happens.  But we can't stop it straight away, however we do monitor for high volumes of email traffic.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 12,799
Thanks: 630
Fixes: 62
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Quote from: daveyb
What is the problem with PlusNet being blacklisted anyway - surely you only get blacklisted for high volumes of spammy email, so can't you identify the username that's relaying lot's of spammy email and (i) put a temporary stop on their account (ii) terminate the account if it is genuinely being abused.

Yes, when it's too late Wink
Quote from: mikeb
Quote
Planned Outbound Email Server Maintenance - Wednesday 21st January 4.00pm-6.00pm
Is it likely to cause problems?
No.

Yeah right and did you seriously expected me to believe that and not try a 10 second test to confirm whether it was in fact reality or primarily fiction and/or the result of someone consuming a very large bucketful of wishful thinking  !!

Mike, it's not the first time we've said that in a Service Status post and things have gone wrong. I'm not sure what you would rather we wrote? We didn't intentionally break anything!
Quote from: mikeb
Oh this is just brilliant  Roll eyes Well done PN for providing yet another good potential kick in the nuts to genuine paying customers all in the name of allegedly addressing the problems with spammers that have previously been allowed to abuse the system in just about any way they so wish for years. Grrrrrrrrrr  Angry

'Alledgedly'? - What exactly do you think our alterior motive is?
Quote from: mikeb
Not only is it virtually impossible to get genuine but potentially dodgy messages received by PN A/Cs via ironport without them getting silently eaten on the way REGARDLESS OF THE A/C MMM SETTINGS

Have I missed a post from you somewhere Mike, I didn't think we had any examples of this where 'Edge Protection' had been switched off via Manage My Mail?
Quote
So remind me again as I have my daily wade through all the spam PN has generously provided me with at no extra charge ... Why am I paying handsomely to a company that has virtually welcomed spammers and has apparently done nothing whatsoever to curtail their activities over the best part of at least the last 10 years but who somehow insists on instituting draconian measures various in a blind panic, without proper testing or any published specification, that ALWAYS seems to manage to generally screw up the service provided to genuine paying customers rather than just that of the serial abusers ?

My understanding was that you don't use our spam filtering for your main account Mike? As you'll no doubt be aware there are alternatives, and customers are well within their rights to source a third party solution or run their own spam filters/mail server if they'd prefer. No solution is 100% perfect however I'm off the opinion that IronPort isn't too far off.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Products Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

I received reports that several messages I'd sent had not been received by the recipients within a reasonable timeframe and apparently still haven't been many hours later. Subsequently, a bunch of test messages sent at stupid o'clock via the relay/ironport(out) route were found to simply disappear. Others received odd error messages various similar to those posted by me and other users although some of these were regrettably down to my fat fingers introducing a sneaky typo that I didn't spot until very much later unfortunately  Embarrassed
However, excluding those with typo issues, the same test messages sent direct to PN A/Cs via ironport(in) were accepted and delivered. The same test messages sent via postini (to PN/postini enabled A/Cs only of course) were also accepted and delivered. If that doesn't demonstrate a problem with ironport(out) then I don't know what the h*ll does. It also indicates that the performance of ironport(out) is perhaps substantially different from ironport(in) for some strange and unexplained reason (and in the 'wrong' sense for that matter because 'out' filtering appears to be more severe and draconian than 'in' filtering) despite your constant assurances that any filtering is always set to mild/conservative or whatever. 
Please note that by ironport(in) I mean not using relay.plus.net but simply SMTPing to mx-ironport.core.plus.net as any external system would and by ironport(out) I am referring to wherever mail gets passed to after being accepted by relay.plus.net because I haven''t yet had time to find out if they are one and the same and if not try that route directly rather than via relay.plus.net.
Please also note that the fact my main A/C has filtering disabled is almost completely irrelevant in this discussion because as you are well aware,  I have several A/Cs all of which are intentionally configured differently for a variety of reasons including for proving whether PN's announcements, statements, explanations or denials are in fact correct as well as for assessing performance of the mail platform in general. The problem as I see it now is that whilst I can possibly just about guarantee receiving all my incoming mail by disabling PN filtering as/when necessary it would now appear that I cannot in any way guarantee that my outgoing mail will actually be sent despite being formally accepted by PN.  In addition to this, it also depends on which particular route I happen to send it.
Silent deletion of anything is fundamentally wrong and it will remain fundamentally wrong no matter how many times PN try to implement it, no matter what possible reasons PN may have for doing so and no matter how anyone tries to justify it as being acceptable and reasonable practice.  Occasional 'lost' data is a sad fact of life (and hopefully has a very small probability of occurring) but the intentional quiet dumping of customers' data without notification for whatever reason is most certainly not acceptable and nor should it be a sad fact of life.
No one would ever accept the guy at the Post Office counter or Royal Mail in general arbitrarily choosing which mail to try to deliver from all the mail they have accepted and then putting the rest straight into the recycling bin. Likewise, no one would ever accept the Postman arbitrarily choosing which mail to put through the letter box and then putting the rest straight into the recycling bin either.  But paying ISP customers are apparently expected to lie back, think of England and accept this as 'normal' and 'good' practice when it comes to e-mail.  It isn't.
I'm fairly sure that you already have examples of messages being silently deleted on receipt from ages ago so I would suggest that you might like to try these out again on both ironport(in) as well as ironport(out) and report your findings here because unless something has changed since stupid o'clock this morning, there's something not quite right and it's not performing as you would like me and other customers to believe that it is.
If I get some spare time later then I will investigate further, if not then I will have to leave it to you/PN to investigate ... and either fix it or provide a 100% guarantee that things are exactly as they should be and that no genuine mail is or will ever be lost because ironport is *that* good ... placing money where mouth is is always guaranteed to focus the mind and all that Tongue
ChrisL
Grafter
Posts: 733
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Registered: 13-12-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Help me here, but if my email client gets taken over by a bot and sends out thousands of similar messages in short time, wouldn't I want them to be silently dropped?  A bounce to tell me I was infected might be useful, but filling up the incoming servers with thousands of them and expecting me to download them would be adding insult to injury.
I'm also against silently dropping messages but, provided the criteria for identifying outgoing messages as blatant spam are sufficiently tight, I can see the point in this case.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,339
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Plusnet Outbound mail filtering

Quote from: mikeb
The same test messages sent via postini (to PN/postini enabled A/Cs only of course) were also accepted and delivered.

Huh
How do you think you are sending via Postini? Everybody has been moved to IronPort.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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