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Whitelisting Made Easy

by Tim Attwood on December 22, 2006

In my last post I discussed a number of the steps we take to try and keep spam out of your mailbox. I just wanted to take this opportunity to further expand upon the use of RBL lists. The idea behind RBL lists is to compile a list of mail servers which fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Open for relay – meaning they are easily hijacked by spammers.
  2. Disreputable ISPs that allow spammers to use their email servers.
  3. ISPs that do not actively respond to spam complaints against their servers by disciplining or shutting down users who spam.

By listing these email servers in RBL lists and actively using these RBL lists to block unwanted mail, we’re all doing our part to encourage bad ISPs to clean up, and to encourage consumers to use secure and reputable email hosting services and ISPs.

Although we feel we’re fighting the good fight, sometimes innocent users end up getting caught in the crossfire. Some users may not agree with the use of RBL lists, or may be unwilling to change domain hosting providers. So this is our motivation for providing the new Whitelist feature which allows you to decide whether you want to allow mail from select servers that appear in the “Blacklist”. This allows you to enter the IP Address of the sender’s server into your domain-level Whitelist, which will circumvent the RBL for that domain. We even make it easy for the sender and the recipient by providing them with a method to easily request and approve the Whitelist entry.

We feel that these steps give you the best of both worlds, protecting you from the bulk of annoying and unwanted email, while still allowing the email you want to receive to come through. I hope this helps shed some light on the subject.

Happy Holidays,

Tim Attwood
Product Manager
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.

Related posts:

  1. Semi-Automated Whitelisting
  2. Stopping Spam in its tracks
  3. ALERT: “Here you have” Email Worm virus


JohnPearson January 25, 2007 at 12:34 AM

Nice Post.

That was well said. Always appreciate your indepth views. Keep up the great work!


darryl palmer February 21, 2007 at 2:40 PM

my problem spam email has been going on for 2 months now. some spammer is sending emails all around the world with a return-address saying it is from my website at softcom myhosting. so all these emails are rejected and come back to my inbox, dozens per day.
is there a way to stop this? right now i just delete them, what else can you do?

Tim Attwood February 22, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Hi Darryl,

Unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do to prevent that. The analogy would be someone sending a letter and using your address as the return-address on the envelope. Even though they don’t live at your house, there’s nothing really stopping them from using any address in the return address. Then, if the recipient doesn’t exist and the letter is “Returned to Sender”, it will end up in your mailbox.

However, as with snail mail, there are clues which will indicate the true origin of the mail. But for these return receipts, theres not much more that you can do other than continue to delete them. If you prefer, you can create a filter in your EmailAdmin or in your Email Client to trash them for you.

Hope this helps,

PotsNPans December 23, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Yikes, Darryl’s problem is frightening. It’s terrible to think someone could use your return address like that.

WrigleyF February 4, 2011 at 9:33 AM

It’s definitely a tricky balancing act between allowing enough email in and blocking out spam and viruses. I think you guys have figured out a great approach.

Stoddard August 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

I’d rather err on the side of blocking out a legitimate email now and then to make sure all virsuses are kept away,

Texas2Step August 15, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Unless it’s a really important email from a really important person!

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