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Sun, Sep 03, 2017 10:36 pm

SORBS blocking email from AOL

I manage a Linux server that functions as an email server using the free and open source software (FOSS) package sendmail. I provide a mechanism through the server for someone who has Verizon as his Internet Service Provider (ISP) to send monthly newsletters by email to an organization that has about thirteen hundred members on its email distribution list, since he can't send to that number of people through his ISP-provided email service. I do so by providing an email alias on my server, e.g., thelist@example.com that he puts in the BCC line of his email. The alias is stored in /etc/aliases and points to a text file containing the list of all members' email addresses. So his ISP-provided SMTP server sees only the one address, thelist@example.com, which results in an email message to the server I manage that then translates that address into the approximately 1,300 email addresses of members and sends the newsletter to all members.

But this month the user reported he had sent the message, but it had not been delivered to recipients. I first checked the server's mail log, /var/log/maillog, for any occurrences of his email address for the day he reported the problem. I use several free DNS-based Blackhole List (DNSBL) services to reduce the amount of spam that reaches user's inboxes, so I suspected that one of those services had blocked email from the SMTP server through which he was sending his message, even though I had whitelisted his email address quite some time ago by adding a line like the following one to /etc/mail/access and then running the command makemap hash /etc/mail/access </etc/mail/access.

slartibartfast123987@verizon.net	OK

I didn't find any references to his email address in the /var/log/mail file, so I asked him to resend the message. I still didn't see any references to his email address in the /var/log/maillog file, but I did see that SORBS had blocked email from an America Online (AOL) server at the time he sent the message.

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[/network/email/spam/sorbs] permanent link

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