Follow – SBC is blocking your e-mail and how to get around it

I posted the other day about an e-mail problem I was having and wondered outloud if it wasn’t just a glitch on my end but actually my ISP (SBC Global) blocking the ports I was using to send e-mails. The comments on that post made it very clear that it was in fact SBC blocking port 25 as many other people were having the same problems – and were equally appalled that SBC would do something like this without even mentioning it to it’s customers. Very bad business guys, very bad.

The good news it that it’s fixable. There’s a help page on SBC’s site that gives you some options, most of which are honestly bullshit. They want you to use their services but you shouldn’t have to do that. You could also use a proxy through another server but that slows things down considerably. There’s also a form you can fill out and request that filtering (blocking) be turned off for your account but who knows if and when they would get to that request or if it would be approved.

The solution that worked for me is something that Andrew pointed out as well, simply use a different port. Your e-mail program gives you an option of which port to use for sending e-mail and chooses 25 by default but you can change that to 26, or 2025 (those where the two that worked for me). As of right now I can happily send e-mail again from my house and I didn’t even have to deal with SBC to do it.

If anyone has any other solutions please post them in the comments and I’ll update this posts to inculde them.

20 Replies to “Follow – SBC is blocking your e-mail and how to get around it”

  1. When our Adelphia service gets knocked out we insist on being reimbursed for the days lost.

    SBC should similarly compensate its customers for an easily avoidable but nonetheless painful and time-consuming interruption of service.

    How much time did you spend trying to figure out what happened?

    How much time did it take us each to manually fix our systems due to SBC’s unannounced service interruption?

    How many phone calls to customer service, independent computer consultants, web searches and/or community boards did you have to consult before you fixed your SBC portal problem/s?

    No matter how you look at it, many of us spent valuable time and energy correcting an arbitrarily imposed problem that SBC has yet to publicly address.

    Maybe SBC is too busy preparing to purchase AT&T for $16 billion, the result of which is expected to result in the elimination of at least 12,000 jobs.

    Perhaps due to the impending loss of employees, SBC is preparing customers to do the heavy lifting alone.

    Execs who own a piece of the biggest cellphone and local phone company in the world can once again line their pockets on the backs of laid-off employees and neglected and angry customers.

  2. happened to me this morning! boy, was i pissed!

    here is the best solution.
    go to: http://help.sbcglobal.net/servabuse.php
    and choose “opt out from port 25 filtering” from the abuse drop down menu.

    make sure you include your original @sbcglobal.net (or whatever) email acccount from when you set up service (it’s on your bill) and be sure to include a new alternate email address for them to send you confirmation at. also, type a brief descrition and include the SMTP.whatever email server you would like to not be filtered on port 25.

    the lady i spoke to from SBC customer service in india says that within 12 hours of your email the port filtering will be removed.

    wish me luck!

  3. tried changing ports, to no avail. i’m reluctant to opt out of this, because from i understand, this was done to cut down spam. is that right, or just bs?

  4. Cut down on spam being sent, not received. All this does is prevent you from sending mail, so if you are sending tons of spam then yes it will cut down on the spam you are sending. It has no effect on the spam you get.

  5. I’m glad they are blocking port 25. You would not beleive the number of average Joe users that actually have a mail server running on their machine pumping out spam. They’re called Zombie machines. Trojans, viri etc. installs a mail server on the victim machine and they’re used to re-route spam withouth their knowledge. SBC is one of the biggest sources of spam out there. Until all the users on SBC install better firewalls (the MS firewall does not filter outgoing packets), Microsoft “hardens” Windows or some other solution is found, blocking port 25 will be a useful, although “band-aid,” fix.

  6. Alternatively, couldn’t you use a web-based email app? I’ve been using one for years and have never had issues like this. Or am I mis-understanding the problem?

    Either way, if you’d like a gmail account, fire me an email :)

  7. Pappy – that will work of course, but some people don’t like web based e-mail, But also many private e-mail accounts aren’t web based, but also the issue is the phone company shouldn’t be able to dictate which accounts I can use. For instance, if I want to send an e-mail via @blogging.la or @metroblogging.com or @sixspace.com etc I need to have my control over it and that only works from a mail client.

  8. I’m having a similar problem with Verizon… My IP has been on some spam “blacklists” for a couple of weeks. 2 hours on the phone and a week and a half later, there’s been no resolution beyond their answer of, “Well, that IP address should be released soon, so that should take care of it.” WTF?

    I think I’ll send them a bill for my 2 hours of phone time and week and a half without my business email…

  9. Melanie – sounds like you’ve been hit with a Trojan or something and your computer’s now a Zombie. I presume you’ve scanned for viruses & other “malware”, and installed a (good) firewall etc? Most of the time, a ISP will only blacklist an IP address if they have detected unusual activity.

  10. I’m on a Mac, osx, running Norton Anti-Virus. I’ve got about as much of a firewall as I can with the osx software, but no external firewall.

    Verizon says that with their DSL service, IP addresses are periodically released, so that this isn’t my permanent IP address. (?) The problems just popped up a couple of weeks ago.

    Of course, I have no idea if my roommate’s computer’s got malware going on… he’s on a PC, so I don’t even want to begin to find out what’s on his system.

  11. Sounds like he’s the one with the Zombie :(

    Could be the dynamic IP address, but it’s more likely that he needs to do some “houskeeping.”

  12. I filed an online abuse complaint with SBC last weekend per advice from a reader on your blog. The filter was turned off by Tuesday morning. Thanks for the info, because it was very frustrating beforehand.

  13. Got news for folks that thing this is a good idea to cut down on SPAM. Hello! All the greyware (ie spyware, trojans, etc…) developers will have to do is modify their code to use a different port to get around the SBC block.

    What idiots. The only thing SBC did was cause problems for everyone without fixing anything.

  14. All the lights on my hub started flashing yesterday, and wouldn’t stop. The network slowed to a crawl. Eventually resetting stuff made it stop. Then I discovered my SMTP service didn’t work. My guess is that SBC turned on Port 25 filtering yesterday evening as a result of all the activity.

    I’m wondering if there’s a trojan horse running on this box. Anybody know how to identify it?

    Thanks

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