More e-mail Problems with MWEB


MWEB and Spam

e-mail blocked by spam filterToday I received a mail from a client of MWEB regarding blocking of e-mail incorrectly identified as spam. Respecting the complainant’s request to remain anonymous, all names and any other identifying terms have been edited or deleted. The complainant found an article on this blog referring to this service provider and e-mail blocking.

Quoting the e-mail received

“This is not an inquiry but I thought it may be of interest after reading the comments on your site regarding Mweb and spam.  I ended up on this site after Googling to see if anyone else has experienced my problem which is basically that for the past few weeks, except intermittently, I have been unable to contact my largest and most important supplier in Germany.  The reason given is:

“Service unavailable; Client host [196.28.80.38] blocked using ix.dnsbl.manitu.net; Your e-mail service was detected by mx.selfip.biz (NiX Spam) as spamming at Fri, 16 Dec 2011 14:20:53 +0100. Your admin should visit www.dnsbl.manitu.net/lookup.php?value=196.28.80.38

A mail from my supplier’s IT department goes further:

“The problem is, you are using the mail server relay08 which frequently is sending viruses, spam and other malware.

At 14:45 this mail server was blocked by the biggest German malware protection blacklist which we are using.
So the mail to Mrs. P was blocked.

Between 14:45 and 16:06 this mail server was removed from the blacklist.
The reason for this was, that the server stopped sending viruses, spam and other malware.
So your Mail to Mrs.  K  got through.

If this server starts again to send viruses, spam and other malware he will be blocked again.

You should have this problem with many contacts which are using such blacklists.

To solve the problem you could switch to a mail relay service which is checking the outgoing mails for  viruses, spam and other malware too. Or you can use an own secured mail server.”

I sent all of this to MWEB expressing my disgust at using a service accused of being a spammer, and received the following reply from MWEB:

“The blacklisting of our server “196.28.80.21” on the dnsbl.manitu is no longer listed.

Our subscribers are learning the hard way that the indiscriminate actions of a few can cause problems for many. We have had to terminate a number of accounts recently due to subscribers either deliberately spamming or failing to secure their computers and routers. This allowed spammers to relay spam attacks through their systems resulting in the blacklisting of a number of our IP addresses.

We regret this inconvenience caused by irresponsible clients.”

Sadly the “inconvenience” continues right up until tonight… and further complaints to Mweb have elicited a string of excuses blaming some of their subscribers who are using the service to send out span, malware, viruses etc.  Mweb even tried to suggest that I was responsible as a result of sending out bulk mail… hello?

 The mails being blocked are replies in response to mails received from my supplier.  By no stretch of the imagination can they be described as bulk mail.  At no point did Mweb accept responsibility for the fact that their mails are being blocked and are quite clearly doing little or nothing to resolve the problem.

This is shocking service from a service provider that is virtually a monopoly in this country…. I never use my old Mweb address nor my even older pixie address which became part of Mweb when they took over pixie, because I get loads of spam courtesy of Mweb arriving at both of these addresses.

As a matter of interest, after contacting Mweb using my info@… address I’ve started getting spam at this address too after never ever receiving any spam in the past!  It seems to be quite evident that one way or another that Mweb themselves are the source of virtually of all the spam that appears in my mailbox.   I’ve even gone so far as to suggest that  Mweb or one of their employees are providing my and no doubt numerous other addresses to spammers.  No response has been received!

Unfortunately, mails via the site hosting my info@… address are ultimately relayed via Mweb too so there is no way I can avoid using their service and in the meantime I’m tearing out my hair because my business is suffering.  I know you can’t do anything about it but thought it would be of interest to you and people visiting your site to know that Mweb are being accused of to quote “frequently is sending viruses, spam and other malware” and is being blocked by to quote “the biggest German malware protection blacklist”.

I wonder if anyone else has had this problem or is even aware of it.  You are welcome to post my comments on your website on the condition that I am not identified.  Thank you.

PS: Since complaining to Mweb one of my customers had the return receipt on a mail sent to my info address returned stating that her message was undeliverable.  She then contacted me on my old pixie address and the message came through.  I can’t help wondering if other mail to info@… has also been blocked and being a bit paranoid wondered if Mweb had anything to do with this.”

Blog Author’s Remarks (This article is based on an e-mail submitted to Graphicline. Graphicline, its management and staff, and the blog author cannot vouch for the accuracy of the report).

Mailing list sharing

Companies in South Africa while telling clients their mail addresses or cell phone numbers will be kept private and confidential seem to often make this information available to third parties. I cannot point a finger at the company; quite likely it is a member or members of staff that are stealing the information for commercial gain.

With income levels very low, and an exceedingly high poverty rate, many workers support large extended families and the attraction of easy money overrides ethical conduct.

Not that there are no unethical senior persons in businesses. I recently added some contact details – personal e-mail accounts and cell phone numbers to a direct marketing association opt out list.. Within a week the number of spam mails received had trebled…

Consumer e-mail services

The large providers of internet connectivity do however face a problem in handling both incoming and outgoing spam.  Having large client bases of technically illiterate clients means they cannot allow too much access to configuration settings, or will be overrun with support tickets by people who have made a mistake and don’t know how to fix it.

Controlling what clients do with their mail accounts is difficult; restricting outgoing mail too often will alienate customers, being too lenient leads to  situation where the IP address is blacklisted or grey listed in a list of spam or malware sources. Telkom SA’s mail service SAIX.net has a number of it’s  IPs grey listed.

Own Mail Server

Ultimately using one’s own ,mail and web-server for a business service is the only way to gain total control over what goes out or comes in. However the cost of running such a system is high, and out of reach to all but the largest enterprises.

Problem to identify outgoing spam

Diagram of sending spam e-mails

It is hard for an e-mail service provider to identify spam mail. Granted they can use keyword filters to find the most common spam words, monitor the number of mails sent from any on address… but then what about the business client. Businesses generate a lot of e-mail in day to day activity, as well as bulk mail to subscribed customers and occasion mail shots to prospective clients.

Often an organisation uses a common sending mail address for a large number of staff, so what is an acceptable number of outgoing e-mails at any one time, or in a day? One? Ten? Ten Thousand?

info@yourdomain blocking

Several mail filters block mails from an info@ address, as it is a common sending mail name for spammers (and noreply@ and similar mail address names).

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About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on December 17, 2011, in E-mail, General News, Spam and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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