Mailing List SIMS@mail.stalker.com Message #15451
From: Stefan Jeglinski <jeglin@4pi.com>
Subject: comments please
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:07:49 -0500
To: SIMS Discussions <SIMS@mail.stalker.com>
Wanted to run this by everyone in case I'm missing something. I'm tempted to ask for ideas on dirty tricks to play, but that would not be appropriate, now would it...

I have a correspondent, dbrown@vifprogram.com (please do not send e-mail to her). She is mostly computer illiterate, but sometimes seems to know more than her mail admins. We've noticed for some time that only a relatively small fraction of my e-mails get to her, and I never get bounces. Often, she tells me that their e-mail is "messed up," and recently they did "a big upgrade" which broke things pretty badly but now she ways it mostly seems to work. Except for me. Well, I finally did some investigating, and found out what at least part of the problem was. At the end of this message, I include an e-mail I telnetted directly to their primary so I knew she would get it. She indeed did, and took it to her IT people. They hemmed and hawed, and she said it didn't seem like they really understood what I was saying. If that's true, they are in bad shape. They are a 100% Microsoft shop. By dint of what they do, their company gets e-mails from around the world, but I suspect they are not receiving more than a few.

But I wanted to get opinions here - is there anything else I can do probe-wise or otherwise for fun or science, eg probe what version of server they are using on their primary, since they are obviously obfuscating it? I don't really want to go to them directly now (postmaster), since they know I will be connected to her, and frankly, if they get their toes stepped on, I don't want her to suffer for it.

OK, enough discussion, here you go.


Stefan Jeglinski


------------------

Hi ***, pass this on to your IT people. I am sending it through the vif mail server via telnet, to guarantee that you get it. Sending it via regular SMTP may
not allow it to get there, for the reasons described below.

-------

The zone file for vifprogram.com shows 3 MX records, as follows:

vifprogram.com. 900 IN MX 10 mail2.vifprogram.com.
vifprogram.com. 900 IN MX 20 mx1.mail.twtelecom.net.
vifprogram.com. 900 IN MX 30 mx2.mail.twtelecom.net.

The latter two are obviously backup mail servers. However, your primary
mail server (priority 10) is refusing connections from both of the
backups (priority 20 and 30), as follows:

554 5.7.1 <user@vifprogram.com>: Recipient address rejected:
Primary MX refuses our connection

where "user" is any valid e-mail acct holder at vifprogram. This means that
only SMTP connections that happen to go to the primary will get sent.
During those times that the primary is not available, the secondaries
will reject vifprogram e-mail, and do so without bounce messages.

There's no telling how many e-mail messages have been rejected.

Also, mail2.vifprogram.com is in violation of the spirit of RFC2821 for not
providing a domain name in the initial 220 response. You can obfuscate which
Microsoft mail server is in use if you like, but at least try to be good netizens :-)

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