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posted by martyb on Friday January 21, @03:44PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

This actually seem to have started at least early in December. Microsoft (Hotmail) seemed to block all incoming mail from Linode, without alerting the recipient or routing to the spam folder. Looks like the problem is still afflicting Linode customers.

Email Blocklisting: A Christmas Gift From Microsoft That Linode Cant Seem to Return:

"Microsoft appears to have delivered the unwanted Christmas gift of email blocklisting to Linode IP addresses, and two weeks into 2022 the company does not seem ready to relent.

Problems started as large chunks of the world began packing up for the festive period. Complaints cropped up on Linode's support forums when customers began encountering problems sending email to Microsoft 365 accounts from their own email servers.

[...] More recently, the Linode team has offered to swap out affected IPv4 addresses for unaffected ones – or, for a fee, it will add some new ones to users faced with the problem. "While we cannot control how long it takes for Microsoft to address the issues on their end," said Linode, "we do have potential solutions that we can offer in order to help customers avoid the current 'Banned Sender' bounces."

[...] Blocklisting IP addresses to prevent the delivery of unwanted emails is not a particularly complicated concept, although Microsoft has perhaps been a little more enthusiastic about this than is strictly necessary over the years. In 2019, tsoHost's bulk email domain found itself on the naughty step for Outlook and Hotmail addresses and getting itself off again proved a bit of a challenge.

Linode itself is an infrastructure-as-a-service outfit, with data centres spread around the world. One can host one's applications (including email services) and data on its platform as an alternative to the bigger boys. Right up until Microsoft decides to slap the IP addresses one is sending from on to a blocklist.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday January 21, @03:58PM (12 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @03:58PM (#1214515) Homepage Journal

    I see some lawsuits on the horizon. Linode has an impairment of business and anti-trust suit, and customers have a sweet class action against Mickeysoft.

    --
    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Friday January 21, @04:50PM (11 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @04:50PM (#1214526) Journal

      You may very well be right.

      However we don't know all the facts. We haven't heard from Microsoft who might have tried and failed to work with Linode.

      Now that said, I tend to be on Linode's side here and believe Microsoft is lazily engaging in shotgun email blocking rather than BB gun blocking, to use an analogy you may relate to.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:04PM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:04PM (#1214558)

        I don't know why you both got downmodded. This place continues to be a downmod shitshow.

        • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:20PM (9 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:20PM (#1214565)

          I think Runaway got downmodded for making a basic bitch post, and DannyB for shitting on Runaway for no reason or defending M$. Get over it.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Friday January 21, @08:53PM (1 child)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @08:53PM (#1214611) Journal

            DannyB for shitting on Runaway for no reason or defending M$.

            Interesting. I didn't think I said anything particularly critical to Runaway. I suppose I could have used a "big fish net" vs "small fish net" analogy instead of a gun analogy.

            Nor did I particularly defend MS other than point out that whatever their side of the story is, it has not been represented here.

            As for Runaway's post, it seemed to be a simple, not inflammatory opinion of what could happen.

            --
            Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @09:30PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @09:30PM (#1214631)

              That's just how I seen it. You would need to ask the real moderators to explain themselves.

  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Friday January 21, @04:01PM (3 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Friday January 21, @04:01PM (#1214516)

    They are a private company they can do what they want.

    That's what I hear when companies abuse individuals and groups that the majority doesn't like all that well. Of course it's completely disingenuous thing to say. Private companies are held to thousands of individual laws and employee teams of lawyers to make sure politicians and judges are fat and happy.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Friday January 21, @04:46PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @04:46PM (#1214524) Journal

      They are a private company they can do what they want.

      That's what I hear when companies abuse individuals and groups that the majority doesn't like all that well.

      What you are hearing is when companies choose to not do business with certain individuals. Compared with companies not accepting inbound mails from certain addresses. In both cases, the companies choose to do this out of self interest. Because doing business with certain individuals has a a high cost (liability, reputational, security, etc) or accepting certain emails has a high cost.

      Microsoft probably really does not have to accept emails from Linode. But it is probably in their best interest to do so, excluding those Linode customers who are bad actors.

      Walmart does not just ban people for life from all Walmarts everywhere without a good reason. They WANT customers coming in their stores. Something pushed them over the edge. Likewise Microsoft does not block inbound email without good reason -- even if in this case Microsoft's email block is way overly broad.

      I don't see a problem in general with either. (1) companies choosing to not do business with certain people who cost them more to do business with than they are worth, and (2) companies choosing to block inbound email from certain IP addresses or ranges. (although Microsoft's block is overly large)

      It's not so different from social media platforms that see a high cost to allowing certain individuals to use their platform despite repeated warnings not to engage in certain bad behavior.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday January 21, @09:28PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) on Friday January 21, @09:28PM (#1214628) Journal

        I have a big problem with monopolies, including "monopoly over a line of communication" choosing not to do business with someone. But I have a bigger problem if they accept the messages and just drop them.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday January 23, @12:04PM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday January 23, @12:04PM (#1214979) Homepage
          I think that's what MS might have been doing. Several subscribers mentioned to the admins that they had problems receiving SN mails, so we did some sniffing around - SN's mail servers, hosted on Linode, didn't know there was any problem, MS's mail servers had accepted the message, and then binned it.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SomeGuy on Friday January 21, @04:32PM

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Friday January 21, @04:32PM (#1214522)

    I ocasionally deal with incoming support e-mails on a particular web site domain. For many years, Microsoft's e-mail services have been blocking anything we send. So we ocasionally get e-mails from outlook/hotmail users but we have no way to respond directly to them. Replies bounce as blocked. The theory is the site's IP address may have been used for spam a long, long, long, long, long time ago before we had it. But it could be political too. No obvious way to fix it.

  • (Score: 4, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Friday January 21, @04:51PM (2 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Friday January 21, @04:51PM (#1214528)

    If you have contacts with a Microsoft email address, perhaps it's time to go through your contact list and do some cleaning up.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @03:21AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @03:21AM (#1214698)

      Hotmail didn't used to belong to Microsoft. Some of us have been using our email accounts for a LONG time.
      Just sayin'.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by hopp on Saturday January 22, @03:41AM

        by hopp (2833) on Saturday January 22, @03:41AM (#1214701)

        Yup, I first had my HoTMaiL address in 1996.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Unixnut on Friday January 21, @05:09PM (8 children)

    by Unixnut (5779) on Friday January 21, @05:09PM (#1214536)

    I sometimes wonder if the "big" email providers are not colluding to either block or "mark as spam" any emails from small ISPs/email servers.

    I have pretty much given up on running my own email server, not because of the overhead of doing so, but how so many times my emails just never arrive to the destination. Admittedly Microsoft and Google are the main culprits here, but the problem is so many people use them, especially business who just slap their domain in front of a "managed email service" by one of those two.

    So I send emails, and am never even certain they are seen. I have had "read receipts" and even "delivery successful" messages, for mail that the recipient never arrived, so even those can't be trusted anymore.

    And the thing is, I even jumped through all the hoops to set it up (DKIM, SPF etc...) and still the mail can't get through reliably.

    Seeing that even Linode has that issue, I am not sure what luck the "one man band" out there running their own email servers can do. It isn't like I have the money or time to sue them for it. From my perspective, email has been broken as a communications medium. The only way to be sure I can communicate with people is by having an account on one of the "big" email providers. It is no longer a distributed system

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:41PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:41PM (#1214547)

      If it looks like they're colluding, it's probably because they are seeing the same patterns of abuse and choosing to block the vendor until they clean up their act. Early December, I noticed my spam in my gmail account went down by 80% or so. No idea what happened. Maybe google colluded with Microsoft to block Linode. Maybe not. I'll never know. I'm just pleased I'm getting less spam.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @03:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @03:31AM (#1214699)

        > Early December, I noticed my spam in my gmail account went down by 80% or so.

        Gee thanks, that's just when the spam in my gmail account went up by 80% or so.
        Most of the new spam had the subject line in Spanish (I don't speak/write Spanish).
        Go figure...

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:50PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:50PM (#1214551)

      Google sells cell phones. They want you to text like a teenage girl.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @06:15PM (#1214562)

        OMG like OMG you guys!!!
        That's like SOOOOO discriminatory!!!!
          🦄 😭😢

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday January 21, @09:01PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @09:01PM (#1214614) Journal

        What if I text like an old man instead of a teenage girl? Will Google discriminate against me?

        If I started claiming I was a teenage girl, would anyone believe me?

        --
        Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @09:17AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @09:17AM (#1214746)

          If I started claiming I was a teenage girl, would anyone believe me?

          I don't know about believing, but they'd have to accept it and address you accordingly. It is your right (TM). Given to you by God. And the USA and the EU and other associations who have the right (given by God) to remain anonymous (aka in the shadows).

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @09:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @09:01PM (#1214613)

      I haven't personally used them (just learned about them).

      Free to relay 1000 emails per month:

      https://support.smtp2go.com/hc/en-gb/articles/223087947-Free-Plan [smtp2go.com]

      If 1K/mo. is right on the edge of being enough, you can use a transport table in postfix to send mail to problematic recipient domains via this service and direct for every one else. Or, default to relaying through these guys, but send directly to known working recipient domains via transport table rules.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JeffPaetkau on Friday January 21, @11:49PM

      by JeffPaetkau (1465) on Friday January 21, @11:49PM (#1214666)

      I'm seeing this as well. DKIM and SPF all setup correctly but customers can't get email reliably FROM THEIR OWN WEBSITE. It makes me look bad as customers don't understand that it is their provider blocking the email. I can show them logs that show the email successfully delivered but all they know is that they didn't get it and it's not in their SPAM. When I encounter this I've started routing the emails through SendInBlue. It's a shame to have to resort to that but it seems that only large providers are left in the email game :(

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by acid andy on Friday January 21, @08:07PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Friday January 21, @08:07PM (#1214593) Homepage Journal

    This is completely piss poor. You don't just eat an e-mail without sending some kind of error message back or better at least deliver it to the recipient's Junk folder. In the past when I used some of the big e-mail providers I was starting to doubt my own sanity when e-mails seemed to just vanish into the aether. It's good to have confirmation that it is in fact big corporations providing a horribly broken service. Fuck them!

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:49PM (#1214610)

    At my prior employer, We had a combination of Google Apps for student accounts and self-hosted for staff and faculty email.

    New upper management person insisted that faculty/staff mail be moved to Microsoft Office 365 (o365).

    I went from 1 or 2 spam mails in my inbox every month or two with our old on-prem email, to 10-25 spam mails per day in my inbox with o365; my email address was published publicly on ARIN records, the website, etc., so it was the target of a lot of spam.

    I had written some anti-phishing rules that were very effective for the postfix setup (nearly 100% with 0 false positives ever reported). As a failsafe/canary, I also had postix setup to hold (not deliver) responses to known phishing addresses, and we would get an alert telling us the sending address, so we could let the person know they responded to a phishing mail (it never caught anything besides my test messages; our anti-phishing rules pre-o365 worked well). Upon moving to o365, we had four credential compromise incidents, in the first week, due to successful phishing attacks (o365's crap spam filters didn't catch *any* of the phishing mails that I received-- including phishing emails claiming to come from Microsoft?!!! ). Our user support group began sending out at least one notice per month reminding people to be careful of phishing emails, since it was impossible to block them with o365.

    o365 spam filtering is so bad that I even got Nigerian prince spam mail in all caps in my inbox?!!!

    o365 has terrible options* available to the admin to reduce missed spam, the options provided will cause a high false positive rate-- they only let you match things like keywords?!!! Our prior rules looked for things like quirks in headers sent using common spamming software for 0% false positives. Or, regexes on content that when tested on a corpus of many millions of ham messages, triggered 0 false positives. I added headers that could be used to track down, and fix, the responsible rule(s) if anyone ever sent a message to our email account to report legit mail that was marked as spam. We tried for 0% false positives, and yet we were still a million times better at blocking spam than o365. On o365, even with their shit rate of catching spam, I personally had many legit mails, every day, incorrectly marked as spam (mailing lists were unusable with o365).

    And, o365 allows discarding mail after it has been received based on their crappy keyword matching. Once you finish the SMPT conversation, and accept mail, that is a contract to deliver said mail. You may flag it as spam, but it must be delivered. If you don't want to deliver mail, it needs to be rejected during the SMTP conversation, so the sender is aware the intended recipient never received the mail (and, no backscatter is generated). Any competent mail admin is horrified when they find out what MS does.

    Then there were reports about external entities that could not send us mail because o365 was blocking them. If they didn't publish DKIM, SPF, DMARC etc., I'd try to help them get things setup properly. But, even folks doing everything correctly would be blocked by o365 broken filtering / blacklists.

    I commented about how o365 is a dumpster fire to a guy who is the mail admin at a different school that also switched to o365 from on-prem. He said they ended up putting their old spam filtering stuff (with postfix) in front of o365, so they could get spam filtering that didn't suck.

    Everything about MS hosted email screams incompetent morons are running the show.

    MS's downtime was so bad that I used to always refer to it as, "Office 356" in email with that management moron who forced us to use it.

    * Google didn't offer anything for fine tuning spam filtering, but Google did a million times better job, at filtering spam, than o365, so it was less of a concern.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by hopp on Saturday January 22, @03:38AM (1 child)

    by hopp (2833) on Saturday January 22, @03:38AM (#1214700)

    Linode addresses attack my network daily.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:48AM (#1214729)

      Linode and all of these common and cheap providers are notorious for spamming. Lots of Linode addresses blocked? No big surprise here. Their own statement says they have unaffected addresses. Some spammer probably used the Thanksgiving weekend to evade Linode's notice as they launched a campaign and managed to get a rather large chunk of the space blocked. In the email business, reputation is everything and Linode doesn't have the best one.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @05:53AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @05:53AM (#1214720)

    But you notice one of the fiercest critics of Microsoft is no longer appearing in this thread. They have killed aristarchus, banned him, cancelled his free speech rights, and deprived Soylentils of a relevant view of things like this. So sad. Guess I will just go play my Blizzard games, and try to forget about what might have been.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:46AM (#1214728)

      And some grifter has the audacity to mod this Offtopic? Oh, the mendacity! The meanness! The total corruption of what once set out to be a bastion of free speech and liberty!

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @10:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @10:11AM (#1214751)

    This has been going on for years, not since last December.
    I got my Linode IP address whitelisted at MS 2 times before.
    Now I don't bother anymore.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @05:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @05:13PM (#1214823)

    "Microsoft appears to have delivered the unwanted Christmas gift of email blocklisting to Linode IP addresses, and two weeks into 2022 the company does not seem ready to relent.

    Problems started as large chunks of the world began packing up for the festive period.

    Who wrote this? Oh right, it's a The Register article; guess that explains it :P

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, @07:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, @07:48PM (#1215078)

    It's called "Blacklisting", you Cuck bitch! This cowardly cultural marxist tool Brit will have Niglets for grandchildren soon, assuming he can even procreate.

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