Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Let's try that again: I'm back!

As I wrote before, on Sunday, October 15, around 1:57AM a spammer's bulk-email program sent a large series of messages that seemed to originate from my domain. This in turn generated about 2000 Returned Mail messages that overflowed my Inbox.

Here's what happened after that:
  • When I complained to my provider about not being able to access my email; they were kind enough to send me some suggestions to my regular inbox! It took a week before they replied to the alternative Gmail address that I mentioned in my requests. After that I could at least access my Inbox and email archive.
  • Then they sent me instructions to move the stuff on my old server to a new server, because they were discontinuing the machine that my site was on. I still don't see why I had to do this myself.
  • Anyway, the instructions were set up to make me fail: Step 1 made me change my DNS settings, which normally take effect after about 3 to 4 hours. Since I didn't complete the entire process within that time frame (I refused to copy all my files manually, 5 at a time, using their web-interface which was my only alternative since I happened to not have enought rights on my laptop to install an FTP program) after those 4 hours I could no longer access my old server.
  • When they fixed that (and I installed an FTP program so I could download all my files onto my laptop) it turned that there was another error in the instructions, so I couldn't upload my files to the new server!
  • And then, after they sent me new instructions, the server wasn't configured correctly so my uploading had no effect.
  • Last Sunday they promised to have someone fix it on Monday and report back to me when that was done. When I asked them this afternoon what happened, they said they fixed it but had forgotten to tell me...
So, I can now access my server again, maintain my website (which I confess I haven't done in ages) and create postings for my blog, like this one.
Unfortunately, I cannot upload my email archive and the new webmail interface is a crippled version of Outlook Web Access, which sucks! (I know it is crippled because we use a full version at work and this one doesn't allow me to Select All, create Subfolders, return to a Folder, and other nuisances.)

So, from now on I am on the lookout for a new hosting provider...

Oh, I did learn something in the process: There is no standard subject line for Returned Mail messages. Below is a subset of the subject lines I saw in the flood of messages.

English versions:
Auto Reply Messages
Considered UNSOLICITED BULK EMAIL from you
Delivery Status
Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
Delivery Status Notification
DELIVERY FAILURE: User (user) not listed in public Name & Address Book
failure notice
**Message you sent blocked by our bulk email filter**
Mail could not be delivered
Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Mail System Error - Returned Mail
None Delivery Report
Returned mail: delivery problems encountered
Returned mail: Error During Delivery
Returned mail: Over quota
Returned mail: see transcript for details
Returned mail: User unknown
[SPAM] Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
Undeliverable Mail
Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
Warning: could not send message for the past 1 hour
Warning: could not send message for the past 4 hours

International versions:
Benachrichtung zum Ubermittlungsstatus (Fehlgeschlagen)
Mesaje no entregado - Underlivered Message
Mutmassliche unerbetente Massen E-mail von Ihnen
Nie powiodla sie proba wyslania pczty: zwrot do adresata
Notifica sullo stato del recapito (Errore)
Notificacion del estado de la entrega
Notification d'etat de remise (echec)
*Tu mensaje ha sido bloqueado GSL Antispam y no se entrego


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