SORBS Causing Email Issues for Half the Internet

Are you having email problems this morning? If you are getting bounce backs referencing SORBS, read on my friend. It appears that the Real Time Blacklist (RBL) SORBS made a critical error yesterday that is causing almost all email users havoc. (Internet Storm Center) Sometime yesterday, the SORBS anti-spam blacklist (their site is currently suffering from it’s popularity today) accidentally updated their databases to include an enormous number of the Internet’s mail servers and networks. This appears to have included IP addresses owned by Amazon, Google, Rackspace, and others were included in this blacklist and marked as unacceptable for email. (uTest)

If your mail server IP is listed within those IP ranges, then you more than likely won’t be able to send emails today to most anyone using the SORBS blacklist. On the flip side, if your mail server subscribes to the SORBS list, you may want to temporarily disable that setting until this issue is resolved.

RBLs like SORBS were originally created to help reduce the amount of email spam sent and received around the world. Typically a spammer will send their emails from one or two mail servers. If the spammers server can be located then the IP can be put into a “blacklist” of known spammers. Those blacklists are compiled and shared by independent groups, like SORBS.

Many ISPs, email providers and IT administrators will check these blacklists when they receive a piece of email. If that email came from a known spam server email will be rejected entirely. However, relying on any single source or RBL to block spam is not a best practice when the RBL is corrupted.

This can cause serious outcry, i.e. on Twitter.

For information about other Blacklists that have shut down or Blacklists that are having problems, view this forum post.

6 thoughts on “SORBS Causing Email Issues for Half the Internet

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention SORBS Causing Email Issues for Half the Internet « MxToolBox Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. John M

    just a clarification on what you wrote, it was NOT the RBL but the DUHL list frmo Sorbs that was affected which is a list that really should not be used by shared servers.

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  3. John M

    yes well i know because my IP was on the list and tried to access their site for several hours last night!! how frustrating. I hope this leads to the end of sorbs.

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    1. wendy@mxtoolbox.com

      Thanks for your comment, MxToolBox does not actually run a blacklist or have any affiliation with blacklist providers. You can contact many blacklist operators directly by following the link provided in the “details” section of our blacklist report, or via the blacklist name. Each blacklist has different delisting criteria and protocols… However, those IP addresses are your inbound mail and likely have nothing to do with your outbound delivery…

      I want to provide you with a link to a very handy article on our MxToolBox Blog – What Blacklists Are and How MxToolBox Helps! (http://community.mxtoolbox.com/blog/2009/03/04/what-blacklists-are-and-how-mxtoolbox-helps/) The article will explain a lot about blacklists and the recurring problems they cause and how our services eliminate the problems.

      If you can’t get resolution to the problems, don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me and we can discuss the problems further. Best of luck to you!

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