Tag Archives: blacklist definition

I didn’t do anything, but my domain is on a Blacklist

At MxToolbox, we occasionally see a domain on an IP blacklist as a source of spam or malware when the owner of the domain has done nothing wrong.  This article will discuss the issue and potential solutions.

The first thing we always recommend to customers with a potential spam or malware problem is to review the following things:

  1. Have you violated any CAN-SPAM regulations recently?
  2. Have you had a virus or malware outbreak in the recent past?
  3. Do you run your own mailserver?  Has it been on a blacklist recently?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you may have earned your spot on the blacklist but we can still help you with some tools and techniques.  Learn more about our blacklist solutions.

If the answer to all of these questions is “No”, you may still be on a blacklist through no fault of your own.  If you are hosting your domain in a shared environment, it is typical that the IP address associated with your domain is the same as the IP address associated with several other domains. These shared environments use the same servers for multiple domains.  In this case, the IP address of the server has been blacklisted.  This may be due to one of the other domains on this server having trouble with spam or malware.  It’s not your fault, you’re tainted by association.

What can you do?

You have a few options that involve talking to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  First, you must notify your ISP that your shared host has a blacklist issue.  This problem affects all the domains hosted on that server and your ISP needs to notify other customers on the affected server.  Also, they may need to protect other servers, or run anti-virus and anti-malware protection on the server as the blacklisting may have been as a result of an infection.  Second, you can ask your ISP to move your domain and website to another server or have the IP address of your server changed to one that is not blacklisted.  If the domain that caused the blacklisting remains on the same server, however, your blacklist problem will only go away temporarily.  Another option is to move your domain to a dedicated host, where you are not sharing a server.  This may be more expensive but will make you entirely responsible for the blacklist health of your domain.

MxToolbox email experts can help you with everything you need around blacklists, including:

  • Lookup tools for identifying the blacklists you are on
  • Monitoring tools to constantly watch your domains and IP addresses for inclusion on a blacklist (and our paid monitoring solutions come with our top-notch support)
  • Information on blacklist and links to the blacklist, including delisting resources.

We also offer a turn-key Domain Health Monitoring solution that automatically monitors all the important aspects of your domain, from blacklists to email to website health.

Contact us to learn more.

How do I get off the Blacklist?

This is the final article in a multi-part introductory series on blacklists and blacklist activity.

Most of our customers come to us when their business has already been adversely affected by blacklisting.  Email is crippled by low deliverability rates.  The first question our experts are asked is always “How do I get off this $%&! blacklist?”  The process is really simple, but it often takes time.

First, you need to stop spamming, or sending viruses and malware.  The infected systems need to be shutdown or quarantined.  This could mean taking down email servers or infected workstations across the company.

Second, you need to put in place tools that prevent future exploitation of your systems.  MxToolbox, as an expert in email and blacklists, recommends cloud-based email security software and monitoring of your blacklist status.  You can contact our experts to learn about our Monitoring packages.

Third, you must contact the blacklisting agency or agencies to get delisted.  If you are on multiple blacklists, you must contact each one separately as each has their own preferred delisting process.  One thing is universal: before removing you from their list, blacklist operators will require you to explain the steps you took to prevent further spam, malware or botnet attacks from your servers.

MxToolbox email experts can help you with everything you need around blacklists, including:

  • Lookup tools for identifying the blacklists you are on
  • Monitoring tools to constantly watch your domains and IP addresses for inclusion on a blacklist (and our paid monitoring solutions come with our top-notch support)
  • Information on blacklist and links to the blacklist, including delisting resources.

Contact us to learn more.

How can I prevent getting on a Blacklist?

This is the third article in a multi-part introductory series on blacklists and blacklist activity.

The simple answer is don’t spam, or send malware or viruses and you won’t get on a blacklist!  Unfortunately, this is not as simple as it sounds.   As applications and operating systems get more powerful and complex, they open more possibilities for exploitation.  Spammers and hackers are finding new ways everyday to exploit these systems.  Your system administrators keep up with patches, but, often what fails isn’t the configuration, patch or security, it’s human nature.  All it takes is an errant click on the wrong link or downloading something from the wrong site and your systems can be infected with malware.

The best way to prevent blacklisting is to limit the risk of a malware infection through comprehensive email filtering and monitoring.  Now that botnets are also problematic, we also recommend security software that filters website URLs and DNS to offer additional protection.

Regardless of the software you choose, implementing a comprehensive email security solution is necessary to prevent blacklisting and ensure email deliverability.  Contact us for more information.

In the next installment of our series on Blacklists, I will discuss the steps you need to take to get off of blacklists.

How did I get on a Blacklist?

This is the second article in a multi-part introductory series on blacklists and blacklist activity.

At MxToolbox, our experts see the same story play out time and again:

For a few weeks or days, a small number of seemingly random emails bounce back or delivery fails.  At first, this is no real problem; email is never 100%, right?  Then, an important email to a big client goes missing and your users get nervous.  Administrators at your client’s organization says you’ve been blacklisted so they can’t accept email from you.  By then, you realize a large portion of your email isn’t getting through to anyone.  Your business is at risk and it’s all because you are on a blacklist!

Blacklist operators use a number of ways to catch and track undesirable activity but sometimes they capture legitimate businesses, like yours.  Typically, legitimate businesses get placed on a blacklist for one of the following reasons:

  • Relaying spam through in-house email servers
  • Sending malware, viruses or spam from individual accounts
  • Denial of Service (DoS) or other type attacks from malware infected servers or networks
  • Unknowingly Sending phishing emails or unsubscribe attacks
  • Operating a mail server with no reverse DNS, such as from an IP address in your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) dynamic IP address pool (DHCP)
  • Failing to honor unsubscribes when mailing

So, you can see there are a number of reasons that you can end up on a blacklist without actually intending to do something undesirable.  Most often, our experts find that a blacklist issue was caused by your servers passing on spam, viruses or malware.  This condition is highly preventable!

At MxToolbox, our experts understand the common causes of blacklisting.  We can help you take immediate steps to get removed from blacklists and provide thoughtful solutions to keep you off blacklists in the future.  Contact us for more information.

In the next installment of our series on Blacklists, I will discuss some methods for preventing blacklists.

What is a Blacklist?

This is the first article in a multi-part introductory series on blacklists and blacklist activity.

A Realtime Blacklist, or RBL, is a list of IP addresses and domain names that an organization has decided to block, typically for spam.  There are many Blacklists, and each focuses on different types of undesirable behavior.  For example:

  • CBL or Composite Blocking List is a DNS-based blackhole list of suspected e-mail services sending SPAM email resulting from virus or malware infections.
  • Listing on Backscatterer blacklist indicates that your server is issuing “backscatter” in the form of Non-Delivery Reports (bounces) to external users, or misdirected autoresponders and sender callouts.
  • Inclusion in either of the MAILSPIKE Blacklists (BL or Z) means that your IP Address has most likely been identified as being part of a real-time spam outbreak.

Blacklists are typically used to block undesirable internet traffic.  For example:

  • Blocking access to websites on domains known for malware
  • Blocking incoming email from IPs or domains known to be spammers
  • Blocking access to IP addresses based in risky countries

MxToolbox does not own or operate any of these blacklists.  Instead, our email experts curate a list of over 100 blacklists and aggregate blacklist information into a single, central lookup tool.  Our tools enable you to check your mail server IPs and domain names against all these blacklists in a single consolidated interface.  Our monitoring packages enable you to monitor your domains and IP addresses for blacklist activity and get instant notification when placed on a blacklist.  We built our lookup and monitoring tools to help you navigate the complicated world of blacklists.

Your email deliverability depends on staying off of blacklists.  Get protected today.

In our next installment of our series on Blacklists, I will discuss how legitimate businesses sometimes end up on blacklists.

What Blacklists Are and How MxToolBox Helps

Actual MxToolBox Tshirt

One of the most common security challenges for companies is keeping their organization’s email off of Blacklists. When your company gets Blacklisted it will cause major trouble for your business and it will slow down your communication with current customers, prospects and in general the outside world. Email communication is a critical and profit dependent function of any business and this type of communication interruption is both time consuming, costly and completely avoidable.

Most companies discover they have been Blacklisted when they start hearing complaints that their emails have not been received or messages that have been sent are bouncing back. This is really the worst way to find out your company has been Blacklisted because when customers start calling to complain there is already trouble and then you are under pressure to figure out the problem.

A Blacklist, otherwise known as a Real Time Blacklists (RBLs) is a list of problematic IPs that are monitored by Blacklist companies. There are many Blacklist companies and while MxToolBox does provide a Free Blacklist Lookup Tool, we do not control or are affiliated with any Blacklists in any shape or form. Many ISP providers subscribe to Blacklists as an inexpensive means of controlling spam and abusive email senders. There are many reasons a company may end up on a Blacklist, more often that not it’s because a company has not taken appropriate steps to secure their email infrastructure or has been compromised by spammers, hackers, or virus propagators.

Once your IP has been Blacklisted, what can you do?

Well that is where MxToolBox steps in to help. With email service through MxToolBox you won’t have to worry about Blacklists. Our highly trained IT professionals will eliminate your Blacklist problem and we will help you find the root cause of the Blacklist and our service will keep your system secure so the problem will not return.

With our email service your company won’t get Blacklisted and once we have eliminated that worry you can rest assured knowing that if you have any other challenges a real person is only a phone call away. We pride ourselves on our high level of customer service and our ability to solve your email challenges.

If your company has not had your productivity hampered by being Blacklisted then now is the time to sign up for our secure email service. With MxToolBox Email Solutions you can be secure in your knowledge that your email is safe and you won’t suffer the expense of having your email go down at a time when every customer counts.

It is times like these that the ability to cut costs and add productivity makes the most sense. Not only will email hosting by MxToolBox protect you from Blacklists, but it will also keep you safe with world class perimeter protection that will keep you secure from phishing as well as viruses and spam. We offer several levels of Email Hosting Solutions to fit any company and budget and we even offer Zimbra that allows you to access your secure email on any smart phone.

MxToolBox is not affiliated with any Blacklists, we just provide a public tool that can be utilized to see if you are on a Blacklist. If you are on a Blacklist, rest assured as we do offer Blacklist Protection! For more information please feel free to visit our website or email us at info@mxtoolbox.com.

We’re always looking for new Blacklists to add, so if you want to suggest one to us, please send an email to support@mxtoolbox.com.

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

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