No junk mail can sometimes be a BAD thing…

I may be an oddity, but I honestly don’t ever have to worry about spam. My gmail account works for EVERYTHING, and I honestly never have any issues with Spam in my Inbox, or good messages in my Spam filter. Maybe I dont have that many friends, or rely on email that much, but I find it hard for someone to ‘keep’ unread messages in their inbox.

At work this is usually the case to, Outlook does a pretty great job keeping my inbox clean (and then I do the rest of my work, hitting Zero Email Bounce almost every other day). I empty my Junkmail folder every other day, and everything is fine.

But when that Junk mail folder isnt filling up 10 messages every 30 minutes, something is wrong. When its empty for 2 hours, something is VERY wrong. We had a recent issue where I had to bounce our Exchange box (it had been up for 6 months no issues), and things worked great. But of course, this time after a restart, mail still was not flowing.

Once I got to looking into it (I had to run out of the office to reboot a machine at our datacenter), I noticed that I could send email out, but not in. But if i tried sending through gmail, comcast, or even the command line,  everything was marked as Spam. And not just moved to a spam folder, the machine was actually REJECTING EVERY MESSAGE CLAIMING THEY WERE A SPAM DOMAIN!

Reading through many posts online, people said to clear out your RBL lists. But our exchange server nor spam software had any of these set up! After digging a little further, a few people (years ago) posted into newsgroups that Symantec would sometimes lock up on these. Going through our config, I noticed a list of servers. Once I removed this, and applied the new setting, mail was flowing faster than ever before!

This morning a co-worker sent me an email on something he had received from a friend. It was an article on Slashdot (one of my old favorite sites, I dont even look at it much anymore) about a Long Dead ORDB returning False Positives for everything. AH HAH! So we were not the only ones seeing this problem. Luckily I had fixed our issue an hour and a half before this was posted. Things are running back to normal, and actually faster than usual now.

Two things that I really question though:

  • Was there ever any notification, or at least warning, that on 3/25/08 at 12 PM Eastern this ‘dead service’ would turn on again to tell people to stop using it?
  • Why would Symantec NOT warn their customers about this?!?! This server was on a list that we had been setup AFTER the ORDB had been offline! They have our email, I got an email today to renew our subscription!

This was really a wakeup call. Even though their system was dead, tons of servers will still requesting this service, and still taking up bandwidth. While having companies possibly loose email by flipping the switch like this, you learn that you should have much more complete control over your systems, and properly manage them in all aspects. If you dont know what that system is doing, find someone who does know, or learn it yourself. Thats going to be my job over the next few months as we start making quite a few changes!

Lastly, you also learn that sometimes the Internet isn’t as fast as it needs to be at times, and good old debuging and monitoring really makes you solve your own problems, learn stuff, and feel good about it.

Listening To: ‘Welcome Home’ by Coheed and Cambria


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