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PlusNet e-mail woes continue
Tuesday 28 August 2007 00:03:43 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Last week, PlusNet admitted to the latest in its series of problems with its e-mail systems which have plagued the provider over quite some time. PlusNet had scheduled work to take place on Wednesday morning between 6am and 7am and expected there to be about five minutes of downtime during the work to add a Criticalpath spam management system into the mail platform. There was no expectation that any e-mail would be lost during this work.

According to the company, at least 80% of mail passing through their systems is spam so spam filtering is clearly a key priority. During the installation of the spam filtering system for evaluation, it appears that some legitimate e-mails were incorrectly marked as spam and deleted:

"We now believe that approximately 10% of legitimate email that was de-queued from the new spam appliance to our network was incorrectly recognised as spam and black-holed. Additionally the same percentage of new legitimate mails received between approximately 5pm and 11pm last night have also been deleted. These mails will not be recoverable and we recommend customers who have not received email that was sent yesterday to ask the sender to re-send where possible."

PlusNet Comment, Problem Ticket 45835

An incident report is expected in the next couple of days. More information can be found on the PlusNet website.

Comments

Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
ISPs/WebHosts IMHO should never be making the decission to delete what they consider spam, it's something that should be left to end user choice:

1) Deliver all email, un-molested
2) Deliver email, with suspected spam tagged
3) Deliver email, with suspected spam deleted
Posted by ismoore999 over 9 years ago
"During the installation of the spam filtering system for evaluation..."
Err so we use the live system to evaluate software - Whose idea was that and do they still have a job - I know wouldn't! And that aside did no one ever think that they should make provision to store live email marked as spam before deleting it - just in case?
As pointed out I am surprised that anyone really should ask for their email to be deleted if it contains spam - I know that many email clients can detect flagged spam so that would seem like the real solution.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Server side filtering and deletion of email can be very useful where the volume of spam would otherwise be overwhelming. It does require high levels of accuracy and preferably whitelisting and similar tools accessible by the end user. I would agree with providing a user opt-out.
Posted by h0tbl4ck over 9 years ago
Sadly one of the main reasons the volume if spam PlusNet customers now receive is overwhelming is because they let a huge number of customer details into the hands of spammers through terrible security practices. I used to received none in some accounts until they screwed up.

The spam filters are still largely opt in, then they've been changing them and 'improving' them selling it as a good thing that they're adding worse controls and more mitsakes.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
In one way i admire Plusnet for holding their hands up and saying yes we screwed up, on the other it shouldnt have happened to begin with. However anyone that still moans about the spam issue should have had the sense to move rather than continue to complain, its obvious if plusnet admit to a problem it isnt going away anytime soon and just whining about it isnt going to solve the issue any quicker.
Posted by h0tbl4ck over 9 years ago
I completely agree Carpetburn. Anyone who is still with them who is unhappy with the leak should have more sense. But what about all the completely non PlusNet related info they let loose.

But what about those private addresses with third parties, business addresses, those of peoples contacts. Basically the many many addresses out of PlusNet's domain control who they let loose. Whether or not you are a current customer of PlusNet makes little difference in this and leaving them or even being a customer at the time of the leak doesn't help the problem.
Posted by beeflin over 9 years ago
Server side filtering varies wildly from one ISP to another. This is a major reason why I have been advising clients to move from Orange/Wanadoo/Freeserve (which marks a ridiculously large proportion of good messages as *** SPAM ***) to Madasafish (which never seems to do so).
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
Spam should never be deleted before delivery unless the user at the very least agrees to this before hand, better spam handling is scoring spam amd/or using greylisting.
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