OT RSS MPS Relay Spam Stopper--I need help and info

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Recently I tried to respond to an email I had received from a user at island.net by replying inside the received email. That reply was bounced back to me with an "undeliverable mail" message and a further note that the address I was sending the email to was incorrect. In my mind, the latter was impossible because that was the address I had originally received the email from.

I copied the bounced email and sent it to "help" at the technical service dept. of my ISP.

This is what they responded to me with:

"Over the past little while some spam was sent from the (my ISP) domain through some of our clients who had open relays on their mail servers. Outside users took advantage of these open relays to send large amounts of spam to the Internet, using us as a gateway. As a consequence (my ISP) was added to a blacklist known as the RSS. Although we have identified the problem and have a plan to correct it, the RSS has refused to remove us from their list until the changes are implemented. For that reason some domains who subscribe to the RSS are choosing to refuse mail from us until such time that we are removed from the RSS' list. At present we have implemented one solution; however, this proved to cause instability in our mail servers and has therefore been backed out, but we are currently entering the testing phase of our second solution implementation and if this goes well we hope to have this resolved soon."

My questions are these: who and what is this RSS? Has anyone else encountered it? How can one site like this have such incredible power over an entire ISP? Could a site like this possibly block all of a large ISP, say like AOL, just by someone putting it on their list? How can a site like RSS get away with blocking all mail between legitimate users from one ISP to another, without both sending and receiving users even realizing it?

Seems a shame. RSS can be found at:


If anyone else has had any experience with this site or with a site like it, I would appreciate hearing from them. I think my ISP would also appreciate garnering any info it can. My ISP is a large, legitimate company that seems to have been brought to its knees by this site.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 28, 2000


I support what they are doing. I made that judgement after studying the problem for over a year. If you want some insight into what is happening, try reading the newsgroups:

news.admin.net-abuse.email news.admin.net-abuse.misc news.admin.net-abuse.usenet

My ISP supports this campaign. I have not been able to send e-mail to my brother because his ISP is on the list.

-- Lynn Ratcliffe (mcgrew@ntr.net), March 28, 2000.

Trying again so that the list is readable. Sorry.




-- Lynn Ratcliffe (mcgrew@ntr.net), March 28, 2000.


You don't have to convince me that abuse is going on nor that spam occurs. My question is: why punish innocent people? Why blacklist IPS's that are not the cause of the problem?

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 29, 2000.

>> Why punish innocent people? <<

Leverage. A lot of customers upset will force changes that would otherwise not occur.

>> Why blacklist IPS's that are not the cause of the problem? <<

Because they are allowing the problem to occur by leaving their relays open. Btw, blacklisting is usually not the first step in the process.

-- Lynn Ratcliffe (mcgrew@ntr.net), March 29, 2000.

Thanks, Lynn. As I understand it, it was not my ISP that left its relays open but rather some of its customers. So, I have emailed the ISP to see what it is doing about those customers, asking why the rest of us should lose business because of their behaviour. I can only assume the customers are large customers that the ISP does not want to offend. Would that be your take?

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 29, 2000.

> As I understand it, it was not my ISP that left its relays open but rather some of its customers. <

LOL.....They go upstream if there is no success with the offending party.

Some of the upstream providers don't feel that this should be their problem. Even AT&T has ended up on this list a few times. :)))

I hope that you get this resolved soon.

-- Lynn Ratcliffe (mcgrew@ntr.net), March 29, 2000.

Today my ISP said "We are contacting them on a daily basis to allow them to close off their open relays and conform to our policies." This kind of response leaves me just more confused! BTW, what is an open relay, anyway?

The entire situation is making me wonder if we could have reported AOL when it appeared to refuse to do anything about the apparent spamming coming from one of its customers. Would RSS touch something as big as AOL?

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 30, 2000.

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