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Verizon's Aggressive New Spam Filter Causing Problems

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the annoyances-and-other-corporate-bothers dept.


aviancarrier writes "Verizon DSL has turned on a very aggressive spam filter that is blocking lots of long-time legitimate emails. Emails get bounced with an error: ' host[] said: 550 Email from your Email Service Provider is currently blocked by Verizon Online's anti-spam system. The email "sender" or Email Service Provider may visit and request removal of the block.' That whitelist web page lets you request one address at a time to be whitelisted with no guarantee for their response time to process it. I have tested multiple email sources and only one got through. As a VZ customer, I just spent 28 minutes on a call to tech support, eventually got a supervisor who knows nothing about the new spam feature, and would only agree to email a manager who doesn't work weekends about it. I warned her that VZ has a public relations problem but she was too clueless to understand." Many users have submitted this problem so it seems to be a pretty far reaching problem. There is also a discussion going on over at Google about this problem.

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There seems to be some mixup... (4, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190416)

I went to the referenced URL and it sure looks to me like, using the
ISP form, you can request multiple domains and multiple IP addrs in a
single request.

Also, the discussion over at Google currently has a whopping 6 entries.

Much ado about nothing?

looks good: wish AT&T would learn from Verizo (2, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190489)

This sytem from Verizon is a step in the right direction. AT&T's spam blocking is totally lame, wish they would learn a thing or two from their competitors. I do admin my own domains but keep my at&t for special purposes. It is possible to filter over 99% of spam through a combination of techniques.

Re:There seems to be some mixup... (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190522)

Also, the discussion over at Google currently has a whopping 6 entries.

Much ado about nothing?

It has probably not reached epidemic proportions yet, but as a former Verizon DSL customer, it does not surprise met that their idea of SPAM filtering is to block most legitimate incoming traffic. They tend to have a brute force approach to technical problems. Their tech support has been spotty for a long time; I would sometimes get really sharp people who could scope something out in minutes, other times I wondered if the tech knew what a router was.

If this goes on long enough, you can bet there will be a pretty strong backlash and the last thing Verizon needs is egg on its face. They'd hate to see customers flocking to cable and dumping their DSL, especially if those customers take their phone service along with them.

Re:There seems to be some mixup... (1, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190618)

We wouldn't have run this story if all we saw was 6 people on a Google discussion. We have confirmation that something's going on. But we don't know a whole lot about the scope, and we're hoping that readers will provide more data points.

Re:There seems to be some mixup... (3, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190791)

Perhaps the "we" that decided to run the story could have devoted a bit more time writing or editing the article synopsis? Perhaps even make it factually correct wrt to the ability to whitelist multiple domains/ip addrs with a single request (which the summary says must be done one by each)?

Re:There seems to be some mixup... (0, Troll)

arodland (127775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190835)

But it's so much less work to just quote the bullshit that the submitter came up with, regardless of whether it has any basis in reality.

Re:There seems to be some mixup... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190763)

well, some lawyers are filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of Verizon customers. i've got the e-mail somewhere in my junkmail folder.

but yeah, Verizon's anti-spam feature is broken. i logged on to my account with their web tool, and i disabled their spam block feature. but when i check my e-mail through their webmail interface, i see a bunch of unread mail in the spam folder. of course, it was all spam.. but still.

Teenage Wildlife (-1, Offtopic)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190418)

I love David Bowie.

But goddamnit if my old [] e-mail address isn't blocked by every SPAM filtering program under the sun.

It's a track from his Scary Monsters album, not a line of DVD's promising 'barely legal' actresses!

Re:Teenage Wildlife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190466)

You had me, then you lost me.

Re:Teenage Wildlife (1)

onedotzero (926558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190695)

It's a track from his Scary Monsters album, not a line of DVD's promising 'barely legal' actresses!


onedotzero []

Oh no! Not again! (1)

IlliniECE (970260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190422)

Gmail already ripped me off once when they put a job offer in the spam box. Now Verizon's at it!

Re:Oh no! Not again! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190540)

I been noticing that lately with AT&T (previously SBC) DSL where recruiter emails are landing in the spam box. Makes me wonder if I should respond to these emails if they can't get by a spam filter. Fortunately, nearly all of them are jobs that I wouldn't consider anyway.

Can't get past a spam filter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190693)

Maybe it was a test. Any tech applicant that can't get past a spam filter they don't want to look at anyway. You failed. Ever think of that?

Re:Oh no! Not again! (0)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190661)

That job offer wasn't really from an exiled Nigerian president.

the times they are a changin' (2, Insightful)

invader_allan (583758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190423)

Are we really entering an era where the only way to filter mail is to simply block incoming traffic so aggresively that we don't even get our mail? There does not seem to be much chance of filtering those hundreds of messages a day we get and still get the few we need. Viva la advertising!

Re:the times they are a changin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190446)

why they just use RDNS? Floods of spambots are killing the world email system. Requiring reverse lookups works.

Re:the times they are a changin' (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190803)

No, reverse DNS is damn near impossible (unless you only ever want a single mail domain hosted from a particualr IP address) because reverse DNS only returns the first PTR record for a given IP address.

SRV records (SPF specificaly), on the other hand, are actually helpful here.

Re:the times they are a changin' (1)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190537)

Our ISP has recently had to filter mail via SORBS ( [] ) to combat the amount of spam - it's been causing havok as hotmail and yahoo users get their mail randomly rejected. I'm presuming this is a simlar line of defense.

Messages in bottles. (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190566)

Seems like it.

I used to send all my email out of my own mailserver, out of my home firewall/router/"box-in-a-closet" machine.

Recently -- like within the last six months or so, I've noticed an alarming number of domains that aren't receiving my emails. And no, I haven't been blackholed or otherwise put on anyone's shit list, nor am I running an open relay. The mailserver is perfectly well-behaved, standards compliant, and only relays from within my home LAN.

I also don't mass-mail or do any other sort of sketchy activity, I just always liked having my own mailserver and never having to worry about when my ISPs (or Google's, or my web hosting providers') was going to flake out on me. But it's becoming nearly impractical to do. I'm never sure if an email that I sent out has actually gotten through, or if it's just been silently eaten by some spam filter somewhere.

The worst offender that I've found so far is Comcast; I haven't been able to get any messages through at all to Comcast subscribers, and they don't provide back any sort of acknowledgment that a message has been blocked. Every time I send anything to them, it's firing a shot into the darkness.

I hate spam as much as anybody else (probably more than some); I'm in favor of using some of those Federal "computer crimes" laws -- the ones that have harsher penalties for electronically violating a system than if you walked in and stole it in person -- against spammers. See what 20 years of pound-me-in-the-ass prison followed by another 10 or 15 of no-computer probation (and consequent unemployment) does for their attitude. Or there are the always popular vigilante death squads, I could find a warm place in my heart for them, too. Either of those would be preferable to the current patchwork system of blacklists, whitelists, greylists, RBLs, and unilateral policies on the part of ISPs that break up the nature of the network.

Sending an email shouldn't be like tossing a message in a bottle into the ocean, but that's how it's getting to be with some ISPs.

Re:Messages in bottles. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190608)

If you are in an CIDR block that is listed in any of the big DULs, you're hosed.

Re:Messages in bottles. (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190630)

> I used to send all my email out of my own mailserver, out of my home firewall/router/"box-in-a-closet" machine.

> The worst offender that I've found so far is Comcast;

Sorry, but you're sending email from a residential IP with a rdns of something like "" and you're calling comcast the offender?

The days of running your own mail server on a residential account are over -- blame the thousands of zombie spammers on your /16 alone. Sorry that it's come to residential accounts being treated like second class citizens, but we gave this class of account YEARS to clean up its act, and it's only gotten worse.

You can get mail hosting for like five bucks a month. It's the cost of spam. Deal with it, because we sure as hell are.

the world's mail administrators

Re:Messages in bottles. (4, Informative)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190666)

A large number of mail providers arbitrarily block any mail originating from net blocks identified as being used by "consumer" ISP's for dynamically assigned IP addresses. It's kind of lame, but also very effective at stopping large amounts of spam. Use your ISP's mail server as a smart host, or (if you don't trust the clue level of your ISP) one of the many SMTP relay services out there, I believe DynDns does one.

Re:Messages in bottles. (1)

citabjockey (624849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190810)

I have a similar setup - but within the comcast domain. However, I relay all my outgoing mail thruogh comcast's smtp server (have to because they block outgoing port 25 access) so the receiving system's smtp servers see the mail as coming from a comcast network. I don't seem to lose things with this setup. Is it possible for your personal mail server to do this with your ISP's server too?

Re:Messages in bottles. (1)

armus (632028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190815)

i also run a mail server at home. been using speakeasy (static) for the past 5 years. no problems with end users receiving emails ... maybe you need to change your ISP? -armus

Re:Messages in bottles. (1)

skinnygmg (964698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190823)

maybe this is a way for mialhosts to get us to use thier mail service, or thier competitors. they make money because you either pay, or look at gobs of ads. if they are big enough, and they get together with other big hosts, noone can get email form anyone but them!!

Re:Messages in bottles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190824)

Since reverse DNS for your mailhost can't be resolved to the same FQDN as your MX record, a lot of modern SMTP servers will block your traffic. Fixing that will allow your traffic to get through to the ISPs that are currently dropping it(Comcast, AOL, etc)

Re:Messages in bottles. (0, Redundant)

david.given (6740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190826)

Recently -- like within the last six months or so, I've noticed an alarming number of domains that aren't receiving my emails. And no, I haven't been blackholed or otherwise put on anyone's shit list, nor am I running an open relay. The mailserver is perfectly well-behaved, standards compliant, and only relays from within my home LAN.

It's also, I'm afraid, going to be automatically blackholed --- as you're finding out --- because you're inside a slum IP block. Nobody trusts mail sent from a residential IP range any more. The solution's easy, and is to use your ISP's own mail server as a smarthost; you can still receive mail --- assuming your ISP doesn't block incoming port 25 connections --- but if send directly, nobody will listen.

Re:the times they are a changin' (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190870)

Yes, or better we're moving towards a day where a global whitelist determines what SMTP servers you listen to, no exceptions. Wouldn't it be great if all a nation's mail, say China's or Romania's or Russia's, were required to pass through a small set of servers?

In the US, large network carriers would relay mail to one another and smaller organizations would be required to relay everything through them. I don't see the problem with that ... we route packets that way ... why not mail?

Whitelist-only email is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190882)

In my not-so-humble opinion, I feel that the only way to really save Internet email will be for everyone to adopt a whitelist-only solution. All inbound email to a recipient's mailbox gets filtered except from pre-approved senders. Any mail coming from a new sender who has not been approved prior, should get an automatic email sent back to them which contains a form to fill out in order to "subscribe" to becoming an authorized sender to that recipient. Put the usual "please type in the text you see in this melted plastic, ocr-proof photo to prove you are a human" security measure on the form to help weed out the bots.

Such a system wouldn't be perfect but it sure would make a serious sized dent in the spam problem.

28 minutes? (5, Interesting)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190429)

Here's a trick for Verizon Online phone service: Call up, listen to menu items, then say -nothing-. Don't ask for an operator, don't enter in your phone number: just chill for about two minutes while the prompts repeat. In under three minutes, you'll be transfered to a live operator.

Re:28 minutes? (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190478)

Bookmark this page. [] It will be your best friend.

Mod Parent up (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190560)

That page is pretty interesting. Especially the gethuman database []

Re:Mod Parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190634)

You, sir, have been down-modded for being a Karma WHORE

Re:Mod Parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190704)

Uhm...I was't trying to karma whore.

I was trying to make sure that such a fascinating page got modded up.

Crap, I should have posted anonymously. My mistake.

PS: I don't care much about my karma, as long as it's not negative.

Re:Mod Parent up (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190859)

Nah, you didnt make any misstake.
The mod was just a knee-jerk retard.

No Email... No Spam... (2, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190431)

So, looks like they're blocking almost every email to eliminate spam. heh, How long till they do this with Telemarketers too?

Re:No Email... No Spam... (1)

skinnygmg (964698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190854)

this is also an anti-virus tactic. telemarketers don't take down networks!

aviancarrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190434)

I'm sure that after bringing this up on Slashdot you will be able to spam all the verizon customers you like.

So, what are you selling?

Obviously... (5, Funny)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190445) need to power-cycle your DSL modem, disconnect everything but a single ethernet cable from your modem to your PC, reboot your PC, count to 30 while hopping on one foot, and say the alphabet backwards first before anyone at Verizon will turn on their brains and acknowledge they have a problem. Plus...28 minutes on the phone?? Pffft. You don't get the "real" tech support until they keep you on the line for at least 60 minutes.

Don't you know how they troubleshoot already?

Re:Obviously... (4, Funny)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190761)

"Sir... Sir... I'm going to have to ask you to find your Start Button."
"I have OSX"
"Sir... I understand, but I need to walk you through this. Please locate your Start button."
"You don't understand - I'm on a Mac, I don't have a Start button."
"Sir... You're not making this any easier. Once we go through this we can identify your issue."
"Actually, my issue is that my cable modem arrived without a power supply."

- Actual conversation I had with tech support. Long live tech support. Long live tech support scripts.

Verizon have been jerks for quite awhile (4, Interesting)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190447)

I ran a bulk-sending system (legitimate!) to email Frontier Airline's frequent flyer members, and Verizon was the biggest single problem getting mail through. I don't think I ever did get them to accept our runs at all.

The big thing they already had in place was that they want to connect back on port 25 to the sending system AND make sure it responds initially with the same name it's using to send mail out. Not a bad thing overall, I suppose, but I can see how it would block quite a few messages from providers that use separate sending servers from their receiving servers. I finally had to set up SMTPFWDD on both outgoing servers to accept connections and silently drop any emails they get, that helped, but I think they still rate-limited heavily.

I'd say if you depend on getting your email, Verizon's not a good ISP to use.

Ah, yes, the "mailing list" defense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190746)

Ah, yes, the "mailing list" defense for "why we should allow spam". Because mailing lists might get blocked. Well, mailing lists are obsolete now. They've been replaced by RSS.

Of course, by offering an RSS feed, you'd have to host the infrastructure instead of simply using your customer's ISP to host content. Plus you'd actually have to offer something that the customer might actually be slightly interested in subscribing to, instead of just spamming - oops, I mean "sending an email list to" - anyone who ever gave your company their email address. Probably because the email address was required to get the password and 32-digit "verification" code to use the website in the first place. Gotta get that email, so you can send "mailing lists" to your customers!

If you have a mailing list that people actually care about reading, use RSS. Since people actually want it, they'll be willing to set up an RSS client to receive up-to-the-update-interval information about whatever. (Keep in mind most email clients simply poll the POP/IMAP server anyway, so it's not like you're really changing anything anyway.)

Now, to be fair, I dunno if any of that actually applies to your situation. But I'm getting sick and tired of hearing about how anti-spam measures might block mailing lists, when mailing lists are essentially obsolete anyway.

from annoyances-and-other-corporate-bothers? (1)

endrue (927487) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190449)

How about the holy-crap-thank-you-for-the-whole-error-message-wh ere-is-the-stack-trace department?

- Andrew

Now thats rich. (4, Interesting)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190463)

Verizon is a spam sewer itself. []

Re:Now thats rich. (1)

johnfink (810028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190872)

The linked items don't seem to be about Verizon, but users under Verizon's service. You know, like, anyone with a address?

I think that's a different job (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190471)

"I warned [a tech support supervisor] that VZ has a public relations problem but she was too clueless to understand."

Having worked in tech support for a large company, I can assure you that the position of supervisor for a tech support call centre really doesn't have nearly as much influence on coprorate public relations as you seem to think that it has.

Most of the people in her position would be surprised to find out that any one from the head office even knows that they exist, let alone cares about what they do or asks their opinion on issues like PR. It's normal to be annoyed when a company like Verizon screws up like this, but lashing out at the tech support staff just because they're the easist people to reach really doesn't help anybody.

Re:I think that's a different job (2, Funny)

CRMeatball (964998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190585)

Having many friends who work in call centers for "tech support", they tell me this supposed "supervisor" is actually just the person sitting next to them.

Re:I think that's a different job (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190594)

Thats just another way of saying "I'm no good at my job". Whether you feel appreciated by your corporate overlords or not, you're a customer facing part of the company and you are therefore every bit as important to PR as sales. Even more so in a large way - anyone calling tech support *already has a problem* and your attitude and ability to solve that problem are a *huge* PR influence.

that's sort of a ridiculous attitude (5, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190730)

Saying a phone line tech support manager is bad at her job because she can't do anything about an engineering 'feature' in under two days is impossibly naive.

Re:I think that's a different job (3, Insightful)

CaptCovert (868609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190740)

It's much easier to cause a problem than to solve one. Sure, you could start a 'PR Nightmare' in a low-paying customer-facing position, but you're not empowered in the slightest to actually solve them. It's not as if the 'supervisor' in a tech support centre has the authority or influence to actually change anything, especially in a company as large as Verizon. Just as important to PR as sales? Not really. Sales (executives in the larger companies) get to actually change PR. Tech support merely tows the line....

Re:I think that's a different job (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190840)

Tech support merely tows the line....
I was about to correct you for spelling.....but I found it much too apt a description.
/poor sob stuck in IT tech-support hell
//You haul Sixteen Tons, whadaya get?

Re:I think that's a different job (2, Insightful)

VGR (467274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190813)

Verizon keeps the support centers completely isolated from any of Verizon's actual workings. I'm pretty sure the support people have no ability to contact anyone at Verizon, no matter how far a call is "escalated." This way, Verizon can happily ignore complaints and/or drag its feet as much as it wishes. What are us customers going to about it? Verizon is an entrenched monopoly. It owns the lines. Except in some very rare cases, our only choice is to suck it down.

What you say is true, of course. It's not the fault of the support center. But there's no one else who can take the heat, and Verizon has set it up that way deliberately. I'd rather we continue to fume at the support center until it becomes clear to them that they're being screwed by Verizon corporate as much as we are. Eventually Verizon will get a reputation for only being able to retain unskilled idiots in their support center, which will hurt their name brand. Which will hamper their attempts to branch out into other areas of business where they're not a monopoly.

Re:I think that's a different job (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190899)

"Eventually"? From what I have heard that train has already left the station.

The Fragmenting Of The Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190473)

I have read articles over the past few years talking about concern over future fragmenting of the Internet. A few years back I didn't think such a thing would ever be possible, I thought we all needed each others networks to keep the world coherent. How ever more and more incidents such as this one, things like Yahoo and AOL charge for teird email, BellSouth wanting to charge for teird bandwidth, and many other "black lists" on the Net have got me very concerned. And these things tend to only get the spot light thrown on them when it some problem between BIG companies, in this case Gmail users being block to Verizon customers. What about all the thousands of times that the little business running their own email server gets blocked? I help maintane a LOT of small / medium sized business servers, many companies choose to host their own mail. Black listing gets to be more and more of a problem, one idiot in your subnet gets a virus infection and all of a sudden major ISPs email servers are blocking your ISPs entire subnet!!

I just hope some of the technologies we are all working on now, such as SPF, will prevent us from splitting into smaller networks again. Or worse, all paying huge fees to a handful of uber large monopolies for Net access, teird at that...

Resistance is useless (2, Funny)

amstrad (60839) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190488)

Attempts to contact Verizon to verify claims have been met with resistance.

Verizon and Public Perception (0)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190512)

I warned her that VZ has a public relations problem but she was too clueless to understand

Meh. Some of us can't complain. They have excellent coverage in the midwest, compared to a lot of carriers. My parents have it, my siblings have it, my wife and I both have it, most of our friends have Verizon cell coverage... we all talk for free. I only spend maybe 20 minutes a month talking on "paid" minutes. Rates are reasonable compared to what I hear some people are paying for Cingular, etc. I haven't found a reason to complain yet...

Re:Verizon and Public Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190557)

VZ and VZW are two separate companies anymore, so while your post may be entirely true, it's pretty irrelevant to this article.

Re:Verizon and Public Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190694)

That use of "anymore" is an abomination, and makes my head hurt. Please stop that.

Re:Verizon and Public Perception (1)

mdobossy (674488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190584)

Heh.. just wait until they start changing the playing field on you.. advertise the next great phone (which is 7 generations in technology behind every other carrier) with 100 brand new features, then deliver 20 of those 100 features promising the rest will be enabled in a firmware release, which never comes..

Just wait until you have service problems with your cell phone, and it takes 2 hours on hold to get ahold of someone who can barely speak english, and is clearly reading off a script and does nothing to fix your problem.

Just wait until Verizon is the only DSL/broadband choice in your area, and it takes them 4 weeks, yes, 4 weeks to flip the switch to turn on your DSL.. Had the modem plugged in for that long, and they just took their sweet little old time to turn it on..

Just wait until your land line mysteriously goes out, and it takes them 2 weeks to send someone out to fix it.

Oh, and how about the old "this slip is pink, so you must have dunked your cell phone in the water" trick.. I hold up a piece of paper to the sticker, and it is as white as the white piece of paper..

Verizon- we never stop working for you (well, unless it isn't within our profit margins, or it will require us to have a competent employee do some work).

Re:Verizon and Public Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190626)

A company with as many customers as Verizon is going to have happy customers.

A company's response to unhappy customers is far more revealing than its response to happy customers.

Re:Verizon and Public Perception (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190788)

Verizon Wireless has almost nothing in common with Verizon "The Phone Company."

VZ should greylist and then bogofilter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190514)

My spam dropped 90% after I implemented a greylist, that just tells first time IPs to try and reconnect at a later time.

The rest of it is filtered by bogofilter [] that does bayesian filtering.

VZ could easily do the same, and when someone registers (or doesn't do anything) a good email that IP / sender goes into a whitelist. After a month they've solved their spam problem.

Right now it sounds like they have a clusterfuck on their hands. Honestly I'm not surprised.

I'm not all that surprised (1)

DarthChris (960471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190527)

Something like this had to happen sooner or later. I have my Hotmail account's junk filters set to exclusive (address book only) and I still get junk in my inbox.

Re:I'm not all that surprised (1)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190574)

Hotmail's junk filters are valueless. Your only option is to block the sender's email, or slide the protection level, whatever that is, over some more.

Just about any other service will let you filter on subject, header, body, filter out domain, etc.

Re:I'm not all that surprised (1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190860)

I bought my own domain name and ran that for a while. I started doing that after my Hotmail account was getting a hundred SPAM messages a day. My SPAM dropped to nearly zero until I got on the radars of the SPAM folks. Then it went up gradually for two years until all I could do was to delete an email account for a week and then reinstate it. That would help significantly. But that method would only work for about six months.

Recently I migrated my email from self hosted over to GMail for domains. Nothing gets through except for maybe one or two a week, if that. One account that I have has over 650 SPAM messages recieved in just three weeks. But my inbox is fine.

Update on the blocking (5, Interesting)

aviancarrier (570516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190538)

Sometime this morning two of my email addresses got whitelisted and could get through again to Verizon Online. Earlier in the morning I received form emails from Verizon's whitelist group saying they have attempted to contact the blocked company/domain.

Regarding the person who accused me of being a spammer: No. Just a husband trying to email my wife's VZ account.

Regarding the "lashing" out at the customer service supervisor: I was trying to get her to help her own company out. The fact that she was not told anything about a new level of spam filtering nor had (she claims) a way to contact a manager on a weekend about a PR problem may be a standard problem for that level of supervisor, but I wanted to give her a way to be a hero internally and stop a PR problem from getting worse.

Why are you using Verizon email anyway? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190553)

ISPs provide bandwidth only. Find a Real Email Provider if you want decent email service. If you use your home.luser@verizon... email address, you deserve what you get. No, you aren't Paying Them For It. You're paying them for connectivity.

Re:Why are you using Verizon email anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190569)

If they have an email service, they're obviously providing more than just bandwidth..

Re:Why are you using Verizon email anyway? (1)

elix3r (760009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190650)

agreed!! Its part of the deal when you sign up, so obv you ARE paying for it.

Re:Why are you using Verizon email anyway? (1)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190729)

That sounds suspiciously like "you paid for a running car, not a working horn or radio." If they advertise a service bundle, they need to deliver.

Your DIY/hire a craftsman approach to this problem is certainly one way to handle it, but the average user has a right to expect the entire purchased service bundle to work.

Re:Why are you using Verizon email anyway? (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190768)

I set up the accounts that they gave me (I think I get like 5 from Comcast) and then I signed them up at porn sites and free mac mini/ipod sites. I use gmail for my email.

I know I am costing everyone money for me to have a little sick satisfaction, but it helps keep my spirits up when I am on hold for billing/tech support.

verizon's response (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190558)

Emails to Verizon to find out more information have gone unanswered...

Re:verizon's response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190838)

That's the greatest use of their spam filter - blocking unwanted complaints.

The only reason I'm on Verizon... (1)

nugneant (553683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190583) that Comcast [] is the alternative (that I know of).

I remember one day the phone line went down. Pfft. Zzt. Nothing. No dialtone, no incoming, and of course no DSL. Called Verizon Support and got level 1'd for two hours. "Did you check the test line?". You fucking robot, did I not just say that three seperate lines, plus the DSL, were all out, and yes I have unplugged each and every phone in every possible combination? The test line isn't going to tell me anything I don't already know.

Anyway, three days later (can't get an engineer on a weekend, no siree bobsiree) some guy shows up and fixes the issue. Aside from that, and the usual LinkSys router + DSL modem teething troubles, Verizon's been okay, though hardly optimal.

At least Comcast could get a greasemonkey out here in 24 hours to wiggle the wires and shrug in perplexion, since everything "seemed fine" at the moment. Of course, who cares if the service is quick when the shit's down at least two hours per week? And don't get me started on the cable TV.

Anyone know of any good, reliable, cheap, non-firewalled broadband in the DC Metro area?

Re:The only reason I'm on Verizon... (1)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190759)

Anyone know of any good, reliable, cheap, non-firewalled broadband in the DC Metro area?

Cavalier [] may fit the bill. And no, I don't work for them, though I am a customer (of both Cavtel and Verizon) and the one Verizon problem I have a year that takes 180 minutes of my time to fix is way more obnoxious than the 3 Cavtel problems I have a year that take a combined 60 minutes to fix.

Re:The only reason I'm on Verizon... (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190892)

Speakeasy [] has a POP in the DC area. If you can get DSL, you can most likely get them. They're not the cheapest out there, but their sysadmin packages include static IPs standard, and they have no problems changing reverse DNS on the IPs they give you to whatever you ask (which is part of why my home mail server is still forward and reverse match).

Even Better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190598)

My ISP is now offering a digest of my spam emails. So even though I have the filters set to make these spam messages disappear, my ISP conveniently sends me spam to let me know what spam I've gotten. I was going to make a filter to get rid of that message too, but I decided it was only a matter of time before they send me a digest of my digests...

Re:Even Better... (1)

CaptCovert (868609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190795)

This actually sounds like one of the most useful features for an ISP I've ever really heard of. What ISP do you use?

what a bunch of whiners (0, Troll)

pele (151312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190612)

nothing is ever good for you, now is it? spam is no good, no spam is no good either. what the hell do you want then? well how about you get rich and get yourself a personal assistant with huge titts that'll sift through all your emails and make you coffee too so you don't have to whine about it anymore?

So why don't these filters block outgoing mail? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190619)

So if these hosts are so spammy, why don't these filters block the outgoing mail being sent to these hosts??

The issue of these spam filters and blacklists come up all the time. The one question I don't see being asked (let alone answered) is why these companies don't also bounce back the outgoing mail that their clients send? Perhaps because that would lead to lots and lots of complaints?

If the filters are good enough to block incomming mail, they should also be good enough to block the outgoing mail.

ISP Blocks (2, Interesting)

kingradar (643534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190628)

Just a quick note, I run an email service, and I've had the most problems getting past blocks from:


The easiest was AOL, they have a number you can call 24 hours a day to get removed (but it takes 48 hours for the removal to take effect). The other two have been blocking mail from my servers for two weeks. I have filled out contact forms, and left voicemails to no avail.

I haven't recieved a complaint about Verizon yet, but that could be because I have SPF records.

Such a hassle (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190656)

Unfortunately, email spam fighting is always more work than you'll ever have resources available for, and it'll never be 100%.

Even if you let users manage it, about 60% of them won't have a clue, they'll bollocks it up for themselves, and they won't be able to distinguish between your web appliance and the OEM Norton Antispam which continually misconfigures itself again and again.

I wonder if we should just ban email altogether so that we can actually get some other work done.

Ironic (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190663)

This is ironic considering Verizon is one of the major SOURCES of spam. We've ended up wholesale RBL'ing most of their DUL space. Here's a good Sendmail-based blacklist [] to start with.

Generally speaking, I think it's a good idea to implement something like this, but the problem with Verizon is that they need to filter port 25 on their broadband IP space first and foremost, like AOL and Bellsouth and many other providers are starting to do.

Ultimately, what Verizon is doing is not a bad thing. It will force other ISPs to more closely police the illegal traffic on their networks from zombie PCs, but it's ironic that Verizon isn't controlling their own zombie PC traffic before blocking other ISPs SMTP packets.

Verizon? PR problem? You don't say! (2, Interesting)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190665)

I warned her that VZ has a public relations problem but she was too clueless to understand.

Perhaps she was too jaded from hearing customers complain that Verizon has a PR problem.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."

From what I've heard (and what I experienced from having their service in the second half of 2000), this is nothing new for Verizon. They're only interested in the money-making aspects of the telecom business, and drag their feet on everything else. The setup of this aggressive new spam filter was probably one of those "money-making" items, since it means far less spam traffic and decreased accusations of hosting spam bots. Of course, when customers start complaining that they can't send email to specific addresses, they have to deal with Verizon's understaffed, undercapable customer service departments, who will most likely be faced with fierce opposition from the suits in opposing the "grand money-saving, liability-reducing spam filter".

Also, keep in mind that when Verizon acquired MCI, they acquired UUNet, a tier-1 ISP with some serious spam problems of their own [] . I wouldn't be surprised if taking on UUNet's elephant-on-their-back was part of the rationale behind the new spam filtering policies.

Stop the presses! (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190690)

This is a major PR issue! I'm sure if you contact them, the New York Times will run a front page article about the lack of a guaranteed response time for Verizon's whitelisting service. That is, unless anything else at all happens on the planet today.

google embracing and extending usenet? (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190701)

At first I was thinking, "'discussion at google', doesn't he mean usenet?" But apparently he was correct since google seems to have extended usenet to have their own "groups" that aren't actually in the usenet heirarchy.

Oh wow, now I see they are also hosting mailing lists as "groups" as well. Way to muddle the terminology; I guess that is the point. I hate marketing/advertising people.

Right On! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190705)

I warned her that VZ has a public relations problem but she was too clueless to understand.

Oh yeah! Snotty assed customer calls me and starts getting snippy with the "warnings and what-not: "I'm an Internet professional, I know how these things work, I'm a sysadmin, I'm this and that...". Yeah right, I'm all over your problem dude. CLICK.

And now seems to be IE-only? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190715)

As always, in such things I may be mistaken, or the condition may be transient, but I no longer seem to be able to access their web-based email with Firefox for Windows 1.0. It used to work perfectly. Of course, IE works...

Re:And now seems to be IE-only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190898)

Yes, you are in fact mistaken. It works fine with Firefox

Huh? (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190733)

Why is Verizon blocking any of it's customers' mail by default and then putting the onus on them to fix any problems that arise in the first place? This should be an opt-in service for those who want to make sure they don't miss anything.

spam paranoia rampant (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190745)

SPEWS is a good example of idiotic spam filtering. They list my site as a spammer because I hosted DNS for a netblock that was grabbed and abused by a spammer. I spent some time on Use(less)Net trying to correct the situation, and was met with suspicion, paranoia, and abuse.

There's only one place that my site regularly exchanges email with that uses SPEWS, and I know exactly who to talk to for the fix. The problem is, it keeps on happening every couple of months. What a Pain in the Ass.

Re:spam paranoia rampant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190846)

No one serious or big-time uses SPEWS, so their holier-than-thou puffery really is meaningless.

Are you in the right? (5, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190747)

My company implemented my blocking methods [] and saw an instant reduction in spam from a deluge to a tiny trickle. The three most effective filters are:

  1. Requiring HELO,
  2. Rejecting non-FQDN HELO strings ("" will get you in, but "myleetmailserver" won't), and
  3. Rejecting HELO strings that blatantly lie (you're not "localhost" or my public IP address, no matter how many times you ask).

More and more ISPs are starting to implement the same compliance checks. Would any of these reject your system's mail? Several of our customers had misconfigured outbound servers and we helped them fix their systems. We were only early adopters, though; if we hadn't caught the problem then a major ISP or five would have started rejecting their email without being so helpful.

Maybe VZ is in the right this time. Are you sure they're not?

Re:Are you in the right? (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190903)

Still more effective is to check that the remote obeys the sequencing specified in the SMTP protocol, i.e. it does not send commands before it has received the welcome message. Especially when this welcome message consists of multiple lines with continuation markers.
Most SPAM mailers fail this test.

Verizon DUL IP space (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190762)

Here is a list of some of the most troublesome Verizon DUL IP space that spam activity is coming from. You can block port 25 traffic on these class B and Cs since they don't control their own users' zombie PC spamming:

64.222.104 68.160 68.161.156
68.162 68.163 70.16
70.17 70.18 70.18.155
70.18.11 70.19 70.20
70.21 70.22 70.23
70.104 70.105 70.106

Please excuse the weird format here but the junk filter on SC is annoying.

70.107 70.108 71.100
71.101 71.103 71.104
71.105 71.114 71.116
71.117 71.118 71.119
71.123 71.124 71.125
71.127 71.162 71.241

It would be nice to line these all up cleanly but it's not possible with the way things are filtered on message submissions.

71.242 71.243 71.244
71.247 71.251 71.252
71.253 71.254 72.65
129.44.9 138.88 141.149
141.150 141.151 141.152
141.153 141.156 141.157
141.158 151.199 151.200
162.83 162.84

Most of the IP space above are DUL/broadband that includes tons of zombie PCs. There should be very little (if any) legitimate SMTP traffic coming from these IP blocks, yet there is, and it's all spam and worm activity.

Verizon possibly the worst ISP name ever? (1)

Edzor (744072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190863)

i dont know if its just me but i could never sign up with Verizon due to its highly annoying name.

  They probably spent thousands on ad people to come up with it.

[annoying ad guy #1:] We need a name which "encapsulates the broadband generation", something with "reach" and "go ahead qualities" which says "hey, we're here and going places! but we couldnt gave a rat's ass about you customers"
[annoying ad guy #2:] hmmmmm, yeah it need something distant, but not too distant on the wave...or horizon.....horizon!!
[annoying ad guy #1:] yeah horizion! Great just what we're looking for....but its missing *IT*
[annoying ad guy #1:] yeah it defiantly needs *it*....
[annoying ad guy #2:] yeah....*it*....something on the horizon but its closer.....not unattainable yet still special with pazazz..
[annoying ad guy #1:] Nearizon..hmmm....Hereizon....!! I GOT IT!
[annoying ad guy #1:] this is going to be great......HQ will just love it!
[annoying ad guy #1:] get this VERIZON!!
[annoying ad guy #2:] get this VERIZON!!
[annoying ad guy #2:] annoying ad guy #1 you are totally the best! Wow that defiantly has *it*!
[annoying ad guy #1:] >>false modesty mode>pointed gun finger gesture

Peer-2-Peer Antispam? (1)

Wikipedia (928774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190877)

I was thinking about what if I could build a peer-to-peer antispam system which might solve the problem of spam once and for all. For example, using a Kademlia-based distributed-hash-table might work. Your client-side outlook or Thunderbird plugin would do a hashing of your complete email message after the headers, and/or hashes the attachments and/or the fields contained in the headers, then quickly, using the genius of Kademlia (which I really don't understand too well) possibly combined with a local bayesian filtering system, you are able to quickly find out if a message is: 1. spam 2. mailing list 3. not spam. To prevent spamming just leave out 3 & 2, so that any message that gets reported at all is going to be spam; why would a spammer report their own messages as spam?

Of course they could try reporting known common email like mailing list messages, etc... that aren't spam as spam, but a local adaptive filter similar to gmail's spam filter, that adapts to each user would sort that out.

A further protection against spammers spamming the system would be a way to trust a certain node, like everyone has an option to generate a guid that identifies you as unique. Then over time, you build up a trust percentile with other people who marked the same messages as spam, and the more closer they do, the more they trust your choices, and you trust them.

This could even work for usenet, which is filled with so much spam that it makes it nearly unusable, especially since in the case of usenet generally everyone has the exact same message beyond the headers.

So after this genius brainstorm I searched for 'kademlia spam' and find this guys page:
SpamWatch - A Peer-to-peer Spam Filtering System []
Also he wrote this interesting paper: re.pdf []

Here's a similar project, but unrelated: []

Also other things could be implemented, like for example, quickly reporting email worms and the like.

For more in-depth Kademlia information: []

Ugh! (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190883)

SPAM filters are REAAAAAALLY annoying to me as a Sidekick user. The email servers are actually handed by Danger Inc, and I'm not sure exactly how it works but I think they're relayed through TMobile's servers or some other such weirdness so we can have a on our emails instead of

Problem is several ISPs block all emails from these devices. "Relaying Prohibited" or something like that. The one I know for certain is Mindspring, but strangely Earthlink emails get through just fine. I guess it's the goal of SPAMMERS to be so twisty and hard to identify that eventually all sorts of legitimate email gets filtered by mistake, at that point they'll simply have to stop blocking it.

Now This... and GoDaddy's new Web E-Mail Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190896)

GoDaddy put up a new online e-mail manager (Starfieldtech) that screws everything up: JavaScript and AJAX and not-working in FireFox. Great jeorb, Homsash!

With that and now an explanation for my Verizon e-mail fouling up, I'm SOL.

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