Feeds

Telewest blacklisted by Hotmail in spam fracas

Blueyonder blunder

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Cable outfit Telewest has endured the ignominy of being blacklisted by Hotmail for sending spam.

Earlier this month Hotmail blocked email coming from the mail servers of Telewest Blueyonder broadband service for around 22 hours. During the period of the problem Yahoo mail servers were not accepting commands from Blueyonder's mail servers, stopping the delivery of mail.

Blueyonder users were also informed they might also have problems connecting to Lineone email servers.

Chris Kilian, a problem management analyst at Telewest Communications, told users through the telco's Blueyonder support page: "We are presently being blocked by Hotmail from sending any mail to them from our SMTP (outgoing mail) servers.

"If any attempt is made to make an SMTP connection to a Hotmail mail server, it is immediately being cut off. Any connection attempt from any other public interface (eg web front end servers) is successful."

A number of Register readers wrote to us about the problem, and when we contacted the firm a spokesman said that a blacklisting by Hotmail of Telewest was "a rumour". However he confirmed that "a businessman has been relaying spam through our service and this was stamped out".

The admission of spamming through Telewest's mail servers points to a root cause, suggested to us by our readers, that the configuration of Telewest's servers allowed relaying of spam messages, a common security mistake but a surprising gaff for a service provider to make.

Technology failures could explain the inability to deliver email, but only lax security would explain both the misuse of Telewest's service for spamming and the subsequent blocking - especially in the absence of a credible answer from Telewest.

'Spam relaying', is the process of using third party 'victim' email servers to send junk mail, thereby protecting the spam sender from identification and receipt of angry replies. Spammers also use the technique to offload the work of sending bulk emails onto somebody else's machine.

It is responsible for overloading mail servers and Internet connections, potentially causing servers to crash and preventing the flow of genuine email traffic for the abused organisation.

Since last week we've repeatedly asked to speak to someone from Telewest for comment on whether the inability to send email to Hotmail was due to open relays, but it said a suitable qualified spokesman was not available.

Networking problems with Blueyonder have resulted in a service where users are regularly unable to access news group or browse the web, a subject of regular complaints to The Register which is documented on the service's support page here.

In fairness most of these problems, although occurring on an almost daily basis, are quickly resolved and Telewest is rolling out a program of upgrading its network infrastructure. The question is when will things improve - any answers Telewest? ®

Related stories

Telewest's blueyonder under strain
Telewest cuts cost of broadband Net access
Telewest crows about numbers
Blueyonder suffers curse of free ISPs
Cable steals a march on 'Windows-only' DSL

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.