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Tue, Feb 12, 2008 9:43 pm

Smart Network Data Services for Tracking Email to Hotmail.com Addresses

Microsoft offers Smart Network Data Services, which allows someone to view data on email transmitted from IP addresses for which he or she is resonsible to hotmail.com email addresses. Microsoft describes the service as follows:

Smart Network Data Services (SNDS) is a revolutionary Windows Live Mail initiative designed to allow everyone who owns IP space to contribute to the fight against spam, malware, viruses, and other internet evils, and to protect e-mail and the internet as a valued communications, productivity and commerce tool. Windows Live Mail and MSN Hotmail, with over 250 million active user accounts world-wide, is in a unique position to collect and analyze e-mail activity data. By providing that data to service providers, most of whom wouldn.t otherwise have access to any such data, they are empowered to use their relationship with their customers to react and take repair actions, such as preventing spam from originating within their IP space. The overarching goal of SNDS is to make the Internet a better, safer place. Working together, Windows Live Mail and service providers can make their respective customers happier and more satisfied with the various services we all provide.

To request a Smart Network Data Services account, go to SNDS - Request Access. Enter the IP address or address range for which you are responsible and for which you wish to track email being sent to Hotmail.com addresses.

When you click on Submit you will see the message "We've determined that the following email addresses are associated with the specified network in an appropriately authoritative way. Please choose one that you can receive mail at and we will send instructions for completing the signup process to that address." You may then see 4 addresses similar to those below:

abuse@yourdomain.com 
noc@isp1.net 
noc@isp2.net 
postmaster@yourdomain.com

Two of the addresses will be of the form abuse@yourdomain.com and postmaser@yourdomain.com, assuming that a reverse DNS lookup on a provided IP address yields "yourdomain.com".

A "whois" lookup will also be done on a provided IP address using the relevant registrar, which, if you are in the U.S. will likely be the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). The "OrgTechEmail" address listed for the IP address may be used as one of the possible addresses, e.g. noc@isp1.net, if that was the "OrgTechEmail" listed for the ISP.

You can see further information on how the email addresses are derived at SNDS - FAQ.

If you have PTR record in DNS that points back to yourdomain.com, and wish to use one of those email addresses, make sure that you have valid abuse@yourdomain.com and postmaster@yourdomain.com email addresses.

What data does SNDS provide?

The data provided by SNDS is meant to provide as broad a picture of an IP's mail sending behavior as necessary for the system's consumers to be able to stop spam.  It reports on a variety of characteristics of mail traffic.  The data points provided are designed to be difficult or impossible for spammers to avoid differentiating themselves from well-behaved mailers.  Similarly however, data isn't provided on IPs that send very little mail because they (currently) account for a negligible amount of spam.  For each IP within the ranges that the user has been authorized, the following data is provided:

An email message is sent to the address you specified. You will need to go to a link provided in that email message to grant access to the data to a Windows Live ID account, such as a hotmail.com email address, you specified when you requested an account.

Once you have confirmed access, you can view data at SNDS - View Data There you will see a calendar where you can select dates for which to view data. You have the option to change your settings to allow access your data as a .CSV file without the need for browser-based authentication technologies such as Windows Live™ ID. This facilitates access to your data via your own automated scripts or programs.

I didn't see any data listed for an IP address I specified. I know email is sent from that address to hotmail.com users, but the volume of traffic is fairly low. The SNDS - FAQ states that "data isn't provided on IPs that send very little mail because they (currently) account for a negligible amount of spam."

[/network/email/spam] permanent link

Tue, Feb 12, 2008 8:42 pm

Viewing Exchange Logs in Excel

The email log files for a Microsoft Exchange server can be analyzed with Microsoft Excel. Exchange stores the log entries in a text file, which can be imported in Excel for analysis.

[ More Info ]

[/network/email/exchange] permanent link

Tue, Feb 12, 2008 12:30 pm

IP on LASHBACK DNS Blocklist

An IP address for a site had gotten on some blocklists, apparently due to an infected system at the site. I went to the MxToolBox Email Blacklist Check page, which currently checks for the presence of an IP address on 124 blacklists. I checked on whether the IP address was present on any of the lists queried by the MxToolBox blacklist check tool. It was on the LASHBACK blacklist, with the reason listed as "Sender has sent to LashBack Unsubscribe Probe accounts Return codes were: 127.0.0.2", but no others.

I requested a delisting from their Unsubscribe Blacklist Support page. When I looked up the address at LASHBACK, I found it was listed. When I requested it be delisted at 12:30 PM, I was notified that it would be removed within 1 hour. When I had checked for the address on the MxToolBox Email Blacklist Check page, I had seen a TTL value of 3594, which is 59.9 minutes, listed for it for the LASHBACK list.

[/network/email/blacklist] permanent link

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