Trouble removing a Server from a Blacklist – Help

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Networking
Spam
Hi, On Fri 20 Jan I made an error of configuring a DOmino 6.5.1 Server as an Open Relay. This was to get round an internal problem (which it did). On Monday I discovered that my server's mail box was full of SPAM mail waiting to be relayed and people using the server were getting Mail Delivery Failure reports with some recipients. Investigation showed that the external ip address of our mail server had been placed on the Open Relay Blacklist of ORDB (Open Relay Database) - ordb.org. I corrected the problem of the Open Relay status and then followed the instructions on the ORDB website on how to get your server removed. Basically you use their request system to remove your server following a test. I sent in the first request 1pm on Mon 23 Jan. The ORDB system never acknowledged the request (automatically or manually) and I have since made 3 more requests to have the server removed with the same result. I have used the site's contact system to enquire about the status of my requests for removal but have received nothing. There is no phone number to contact. ORDB say that removal takes up to 72 hours and they test every 5-10 hours. The 'denial of service' that ORDB are imposing on my company is particularly offensive and damaging to the business in that dependence on e-mail communication with external agencies and people is very high. Does anyone know or have experience of successfully getting a server off the ORDB Open Relay Blacklist. Are there any e-mail addresses or phones numbers one can use to talk to a human about getting a server off the list? Any help, comments would be very welcome. These anti-spam blacklisiting service are great contributors but they should have decent processes in place for removal which provide suitable timely feedback to 'victims' or at least be a little more discriminating about the treatment 'offenders' receive.

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I am sorry I can’t offer you a fix. I had the same thing happen to me (although a differenct scenario) and I was really ticked off. There has to be a better way. These organinzations sometimes do more harm than good and should be scrutinized by somebody.

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  • petkoa
    Hi, In the first place, I'm sure there is no "internal" problem which should require setting an open relay mailserver. Several years ago I got into the same problem with one of my mailservers because of ill-thinked policy, but at that time we got about 2 spam messages per mailbox per week (sweet times...). Since then, I'm adamant against user and menagement requests to configure open relay again (lucky I can afford it...) Anyway, any orbl lists IPs - isn't it an option to assign (may be temporarily) a new IP for your mail exchanger (properly configured this time)? BR, Petko
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  • DAPSynch
    Thank you for the replies to this plight. I'd like to assert that my action which allowed the server to become an Open Relay was not intentional but done through ignorance - no defence, I know, but I think we all make mistakes sometimes big and a lot of times small. I made a bit of progress in that I was able to find out using CompleteWhoIS the company which hosts the ORDB servers - Teledanmark or TDC and using Google I was able to get a telephone number to talk to the Internet Support. Unfortunately, despite a great deal of restrained persuasion, I was stoned walled when I asked to have a contact number for ORDB - the agent even put the phone down on me mid conversation (admittedly my frustation level was getting very high by that time). I guess the agent was protecting the customer which is understandable. The advice I was given by TDC was to got to my ISP for help. My ISP has already said the problem is out of their scope and we have to work with ORDB. However, I am in further dialogue with another part of the ISP's organisation which has magically 'come to light' and can deal with this type of issue... I live in hope but I'm not holding my breath!! To get round the problem I have arranged with our ISP to use a smarthost so changing the source address but I am still getting SMTP Permanent Error 554 referencing the original ip address as blacklisted by ORDB. Does anyone know why this could be? Is it some DNS lookup against my company domain name which is causing this ie the lookup against the domain still returns the old address, so it will eventually go away as the DNS tables are updated? Even more strange is that e-mail recipients which were bouncing e-mails from us with the 554 error are now getting through. I suppose this is also related to DNS updating themselves. Doing a DB Lookup on ORDB still shows our mail server address as BlackListed. This is now 11 days of being blacklisted and 10 days since the first request to be removed - so much for the 'up to 72 hours' for removal. It looks to me that the only solution to this problem is to change the IP address of our mail server. I have been fortunate as regarding the company I am working for - I'm 'just' a contractor and they have chosen to keep me on despite this somewhat horrendous mess for which I am responsible has certainly had an impact on the business and its ability to communicate with its customers and suppliers. I strongly believe the ORDB has a responsibility to provide a fast and effective blacklist removal system for situations such as I am experiencing. Their inefficiency can have a bad affect a company's business and lose people their jobs - I do not believe they have the right to affect people's lives in this way despite their action being in the name of preventing Spam which I salute but not at this potential cost. I would say that with this continued total disregard/disrespect for its 'victims' is very likely to result in court cases for damages and lose of earnings both of individuals and companies. That would be unfortunate as they could potentially go out of business and thus a valuable facility to reduce Spam would disappear - from my various web searches on Spam and BlackListing it is obvious that ORDB is very well respected. I shall update this thread with any further developments. Happy e-mailing....!
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  • DAPSynch
    Just to close this thread. My mail server is finally off the ORDB blacklist. A mere ten days since the first request to be removed was submitted - somewhat different to the the 'up to 72 hours' they quote in their FAQ. We pre-empted the removal by setting up our mail server to route to a smarthost kindly provided by our ISP. I'm not sure this actually made any difference though as we still received SMTP error 553/554 messages which doesn't make sense but that's how it was. I guess there are certain servers which use cached information which contains the Blacklisting and it wont be until the caches are refreshed that we will be able to send to all recipients reliably. All the best to you who read this saga. I hope you don't find yourselves in a similar position. Dave
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