Feeds

This emergency alert has been cancelled by Hotmail

More friendly fire in the war on spam

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Yesterday's story showing evidence that Microsoft has placed Draconian caps on the number of Hotmail recipients who can receive an email prompted a message from reader Jeff Willis. He says Hotmail routinely blocks mass emails his company, MIS Sciences Corporation, sends on behalf of universities and government agencies.

That's a problem, and it would seem to us, a potential liability for Microsoft, because the blocked dispatches occasionally relate to emergencies, such as when a transit agency notifies subscribers that current weather conditions have rendered a particular traffic route unsafe.

"What's going to happen is an emergency message is going to go out and they're not going to get the message," says Willis, who envisions a handicapped driver getting stuck on a washed-out stretch of highway shortly after Hotmail blocked a warning about a flash flood. "Somebody's going to get hurt."

For the past three months or so, every dispatch sent by MIS results in a flood of rejection notices from Hotmail that read: "452 Too many recipients received this hour." If his list includes 100 Hotmail addressees, Willis will receive 90 failure notices, leading him to surmise that Microsoft lets in 10 and rejects the remainder for a set period of time.

MIS imposes a double opt-in policy for every email list it maintains, meaning users must first visit a website to request their name be added and then they must respond to an email sent to the address they gave. The company connects directly to the Qwest backbone, has SPF, domain keys and proper DNS pointers.

Willis's story comes as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and other large email providers struggle to cope with the growing amount of spam and other email-borne crud that floods their servers daily. Hotmail alone receives 4.5 billion fraudulent emails per day, an official said a few months ago.

But while the spam problem is global, Hotmail is the only provider that blocks the the alerts, Willis says. He has been in regular contact with Hotmail support people, who have been unable to fix the problem.

A Microsoft statement said in most cases Hotmail will deliver a given email to 100 recipients within a short timeframe.

"But, for IPs that are categorized as unknown or known to be bad, Microsoft limits this number below the recommended default, limiting the spam and abuse to the system. For IPs that hit their max recipients limit we return "552 too many recipients." Microsoft is committed to investing in sender classification and will be limiting the False Positives for users, as well improving their escalation experience."

The statement didn't explain how Willis's outfit could reasonably be categorized as "unknown or known to be bad." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.