back to article What is it with hosting firms being stonewalled by Microsoft? Now it's Ionos on naughty step

Ionos, the hosting company formerly known as 1&1, has found itself on Microsoft's naughty list as emails from its servers won't reach Outlook.com accounts. Problems appear to have been ongoing since 09:46 BST on 20 August, according to Ionos's status page. More than 48 hours later, engineers are still working to resolve the …

  1. sal II

    The "problem" has two parts:

    On one hand MS is upping the ante in spam control, simultaneously better protecting their Outlook.com users and highlighting shortcomings with other providers to promote O365

    On the other hand mid size e-mail hosting providers have grown complacent and not staying on top of the spam emitted from their networks.

    I'm surprised that in this case where it appears only individual IP addresses are being blocked, they haven't redirected the traffic to the servers that are not yet blocked by MS.

    1. RM Myers

      This is the exact opposite of the situation I ran into 3 years ago. My ISP was blocking email from my attorney (I was the executor on my mother's estate), and I ended up getting an outlook.com email account to communicate with her (mostly legal documents I had to print out, sign, and then fax back - !@#$ lawyers and faxes).

      I have a gmail throw away account I use for websites that absolutely "must" have your email address, but it gets so much spam that I try to avoid using it for anything else.

      1. M.V. Lipvig

        I use https://www.guerrillamail.com/ for those sorts of sites. It lasts up to 3 days and you can receive verifications if necessary. Great little service.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Trashmail is good, too.

  2. iron Silver badge

    "Now 4,823 and counting auto-response emails bounced back to our inbox... great start to our day!"

    That's an awful lot of emails to one provider in one morning. Maybe @BritTravAwrds is the problem.

  3. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    MS are getting very painful

    Had the same problem a few times now and only MS block my services, and not once was it spam coming from my IP addresses. Arse

  4. ricardian

    Trouble for me started a couple of days ago when emails to MSN, Outlook or Hotmail accounts were bounced back with this note:

    "SMTP error from remote server for MAIL FROM command, host: eur.olc.protection.outlook.com (104.47.4.33) reason: 550 5.7.1 Unfortunately, messages from [212.227.126.187] weren't sent. Please contact your Internet service provider since part of their network is on our block list (S3140). You can also refer your provider to http://mail.live.com/mail/troubleshooting.aspx#errors. [AM5EUR02FT050.eop-EUR02.prod.protection.outlook.com]"

    IONOS first posted this:

    "Some customers may be experiencing issues sending E-mails.

    Posted 2 days ago. Aug 20, 2019 - 09:46 BST"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Active / Passive redundancy?

    > Your outbound smtp service being blocked for delivery to hotmail (and I presume lots of others) because you have IP addresses on spamhaus blacklist again.

    Is it too simple for a hosting provider to have more than one address (or set of addresses) for their outbound SMTP, with the spare set kept as, well, spares? So that if one or all of the main ones get onto a block list they can be swapped over quickly - in minutes?

    They would of course have to block whichever it is of their customers that got them on the naughty list first (otherwise the spare addresses would get blocked as well) but since that customer is likely to be the one sending millions of messages per second they shouldn't be too hard to find.

    1. DougMac

      Re: Active / Passive redundancy?

      An ISP can't just switch IPs out of the blue, you have to warm up new IP addresses, by sending a tiny fraction of the email through, to push your legit to spam ratio up higher and higher, all the while the larger providers will start accepting more and more email from your new IP addresses as long as that ratio is maintained well.

      You also have to keep email flowing from time to time through your new warmed up IP addresses, or they will grow cold again, and you start over from scratch.

      Finally, if you start ping ponging around, and you haven't taken care of your internal compromised accounts/systems that are the problem, and Microsoft/Google/Yahoo notices you doing this ping-ponging, you are much more likely to get whole swaths of your IP space banned instead of individual servers.

  6. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    MS have been strict of late

    Myself I found on one of our domains the PTR record was invalid, so reverse lookups failed.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

      Re: MS have been strict of late

      For me it had always been MS bulk blocking a providers full up range. My servers show fully compliant when I test them. Having said that Linode have always sorted it very quickly when I informed them of the issue

    2. Steve Foster
      FAIL

      Re: MS have been strict of late

      Pity they aren't so careful with their own stuff - the SPF records for Office365 are very badly done (they nest 6 or 7 levels deep, even before you consider that anyone with their own domain hosted there will add another level or two).

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: MS have been strict of late

        Is that for a corporate domain or their own such as outlook.com

        1. Steve Foster

          Re: MS have been strict of late

          Obviously, MS have their own SPF records for their domains. Corporates using Office365 with their own domain are recommended to include the MS SPF in theirs.

          I just re-examined the SPF for outlook.com. It has 6 INCLUDEs, and 2 of those have INCLUDEs of their own. This is quite an improvement on the last time I checked, when the INCLUDE nesting was much worse (as I recall, they had SPF > SPFa > SPFb > SPFc > SPFd > SPFe!). Mind you, it also looks like they've dropped back to ~all instead of -all.

          MXToolbox doesn't automatically follow all the includes now, but dmarcanalyzer.com has a checker that does.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Stop

    Read the blacklist comments!

    It says:

    The IP addresses listed in this SBL are used by 1&1 solely for delivering emails that have been internally (by 1&1) classified as SPAM.

    You have been referred to this page for one of the following reasons:

    a) Your own legitimate emails have been erroneously classified as SPAM by 1&1's systems. In this case please contact 1&1 directly using the following link to clear up the matter:

    http://postmaster.1und1.de/en/blacklisting/?ip=82.165.159.10&c=sbl

    b) You found non-delivery reports "bounces" in your mailbox for messages other than your own. This indicates that a third party has sent these emails through your mailbox without your consent. Please take the following steps to re-establish the security of your 1&1 mailbox:

    i) Check your computer for viruses:

    Perform a thorough anti-virus scan on all computers which have been used to access the mailbox.

    ii) Choose a new password for the affected mailbox.

    Please carefully note that if you contact Spamhaus regarding this SBL listing, you will not receive any answer and the listing will not be removed. Your only resolution path is through 1&1, as indicated above.

  8. Giles C

    I’ve been affected as well, luckily the club I run using a mailing list service for a lot of comms but it is still a pain.

    Incidentally (and not that I want to give them ideas) how come Hotmail can still send emails to you but you can’t reply..... surely if the ip is a spam link then you should block traffic both ways?

    1. M.V. Lipvig

      Mail coming in is spam. Mail leaving is customer traffic.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Their customers may also look on incoming mail as customer traffic.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      surely if the ip is a spam link then you should block traffic both ways?

      Nope - not unless you have outgoing blocklist checks and hardly anyone does that (it's quite an overhead in the process and the ISPs would have to deal with their own angry customers rather than being able to say "not us guv - it was them wot done it").

  9. David Nash Silver badge

    Not the first time

    The same thing happened earlier this year too. Ionos resolved it but it took a few days.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cultural differences

    It's telling to see the aggressive, arrogant winghing from the two UK customers quoted in the article versus the polite and respectful request from the German guy whose customer is "a lil' bit sad". :-)

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Cultural differences

      Anecdote =/= data.

      Or, how about: It's telling to see the aggressive AfD in Germany, versus the much more sedate UKIP in the UK. Maybe Germans are closet Nazis?

      You see how easy it is to take a small amount of paint and dip an incredibly broad brush into it?

      In reality, Germans are much more direct and less polite than British people, so the cultural difference works in the other direction.

  11. mr_souter_Working

    it's not just externally routed email

    I am trying to email another user in the same organisation, and the email is being rejected by Microsoft

    A communication failure occurred during the delivery of this message. Please try resending the message later. If the problem continues, contact your email admin.

    The following organization rejected your message: BY2NAM05FT033.mail.protection.outlook.com

  12. big_D Silver badge

    Not just Microsoft/Ionus

    Several of our customers have had problems reaching us recently, we use Deutsche Telekom as our mail provider. They have blacklisted a lot of data centres and ISPs.

    Usually we can provide them with the server address of the customer and they are whitelisted again. But one recently was served through a major Mexican data centre and when we provided DT with the details, they wrote back that until the customer's provider got its house in order and provided them with specific information how they would stop a spam wave in the future, they would not whitelist the hoster or any of their customers.

  13. bpfh Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Had a similar issue with online.net and Kimsuffi

    Very cheap hosting and some (for me) anonymous scalable spam cluster software where some small mail slingers can install a couple of webservers that allow tracking and unsubscribes and read online mirror pages but loads of cutouts before being able to identify the actual company that ran the campaign- generally some small web agency who found a cheap way to get into the mass mailing business, plus old servers not upgraded for possibly years that are easily pwnable, and these hosters become a bad neighbourhood, and the big mail providers (Microsoft, Google, et al) end up blocking the complete range.

    I have had success using the MS feedback loop and mailer tools in getting my server’s IP whitelisted even when the rest of my B class was in the doghouse , but these companies need to do more in ensuring compliance. I have had limited success in getting some of the spamming servers shut down by complaining to their abuse & NOC mails but success is not guaranteed...

    I only send personal mails via my boxen, so I’m not even a blip on the radar for the big mail providers but if you want to guarantee mail delivery and/or you rely professionally on these cheaper services, you need to start using a dedicated ip range provided by these companies rather than using their pooled offerings if you want to limit the risk of getting blacklisted. And check your logs for abuse & pwnage on a regular basis.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The email system is dependent on co-operation. WHat a pity Microsoft haven't worked out what that means. A rational response would be for MSPs to organise a back channel for sorting out problems. If MS have a problem with another MSP then use that channel to raise it and let that MSP sort it out. Blocking the entire SP should only be the last resort. Of course it may well be that such an arrangement is in place and has failed to resolve the matter so an additional action should be to announce that this mechanism in use. In that way innocent users of both services (yes, Microsoft, it's your customers who are rendered unable to receive mail) at least know what's happening and can take avoiding action.

  15. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    Maybe everyone else should start blocking Hotmail and Outlook as spam and not returning Microsoft's calls? They might finally get the message then...

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      A nice sentiment

      And sure to get some reaction, but the issue is that MS has probably id’d the whole network as abusive after a *lot* of spam...

  16. ricardian

    All appears to be back to normal now. Nothing on the Ionos site to say that the problem is fixed but the previous updates have been removed

  17. ricardian

    29 August - the problem is back! Latest from Ionos:

    Update

    Issues with the delivery of emails to mail accounts managed by Microsoft may occur. We are working with Microsoft to find a Solution.

    Posted about 17 hours ago. Aug 28, 2019 - 16:56 BST

    Update

    We are still working on resolving the technical issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. We appreciate your patience as we worked to resolve the issue

    Posted about 17 hours ago. Aug 28, 2019 - 16:40 BST

    Update

    We are still working on resolving the technical issue. Thank you for your patience.

    Posted about 20 hours ago. Aug 28, 2019 - 13:32 BST

    Identified

    Some customers may be experiencing issues sending E-mails.

    Posted about 22 hours ago. Aug 28, 2019 - 11:39 BST

  18. ricardian

    Once again all appears to be back to normal now. And once again there is nothing on the Ionos site to say that the problem is fixed but the previous updates have been removed

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