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Plusnet Usergroup » All Users - The Open Forum » Plusnet Customer Service Issues » Mail Avalanche
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Author Topic: Mail Avalanche  (Read 58589 times)
moemoff

Posts: 48

« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2006, 07:12:50 pm »

Penny ..you don't know me .. but it is possible your email address has been harvested from your website. You might investigate obscuring your email address to stop this happening.

http://www.mways.co.uk/prog/hidemail.php  might help you.
jelv1

Posts: 2130

« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2006, 08:19:17 pm »

In reply to jelv, most of the stuff that comes in here is to random addresses

In that case create specific mailboxes for the email addresses that should receive email, leaving the rest to go in to your default mailbox. You can then retrieve the mail from the specific mailboxes and zap the default mailbox using the tool Dave linked knowing the it will nearly all be spam. If you are confident enough that there is nothing you need in the default mailbox you can ask for it to be automatically blackholed.

jelv
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2006, 07:51:07 am »

Penny ..you don't know me .. but it is possible your email address has been harvested from your website. You might investigate obscuring your email address to stop this happening.
http://www.mways.co.uk/prog/hidemail.php  might help you.

Thank you moemoff Smiley just had a look (and tried out the conversion thing) - looks pretty good.  I understand aspects of how it's constructed (though not all of it) but it would probably enable putting up e-mail addresses on the site again (had largely removed them because of the harvesting factor).  So thank you, and I'll also pass that address on via the next Newsletter (whenever I get chance to write one) if that's okay Smiley as it would probably make life easier for the children's charities particularly.

I was getting hundreds of spam and bounce messages to one of my domains every hour, so I killed my catch all mailbox and set up mailboxes for the addresses I use.  If the mail isn't for one of the mailboxes now it gets bounced.  Result was cutting spam down to around 10 every 3 or 4 hours.

Tks bud.  Never been brave enough to embark on "setting up mailboxes" (I avoid anything technical to the nth degree as you know).  Could you (possibly) clarify how a catch-all-mailbox gets killed? or point me at something written for five-year-olds; much of the stuff on the portal diy-guide and in UserTools is entirely beyond me.

... create specific mailboxes for the email addresses that should receive email, leaving the rest to go in to your default mailbox. You can then retrieve the mail from the specific mailboxes and zap the default mailbox using the tool Dave linked knowing the it will nearly all be spam. If you are confident enough that there is nothing you need in the default mailbox you can ask for it to be automatically blackholed.

Tks John. Unfortunately the same applies re "default mailbox" and setting up new ones - setting up inbox rules in OE basic is about as far as my knowledge-base extends Smiley  Perhaps I will have to wade through whatever advice the portal offers on setting up specific mailboxes but even the simplest operations/set-ups seem to be far more challenging for me than the rest of you find them!

I *will* go have another look at whatever the portal says but can't yet. Something wholly unexpected came out of the blue yesterday (life here is rarely predictable) and I might not get chance to check back here for a few days.  However much appreciate all the advice and I will get back here as soon as I can Smiley

Regards,

Penny.

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
jelv1

Posts: 2130

« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2006, 09:12:18 am »

Penny,

I suggest you proceed as follows - this method will mean that you will not risk losing any mail while you are getting it right:

In the portal, go to Email settings, Configure Mailboxes. Then ADD MAILBOX. Give it the name "mainmail" and a password. All the mail to your real addresses is going to end up in here (I'll explain how to make that happen further down). Some time after this (typically half to two hours) you will get an email to say the mailbox is ready.

In OE go to Tools, Accounts. Select the Mail tab. You need to add an account where all the settings are the same except the account name provided by your ISP will be rollobks+mainmail and the password you gave.

If you now send/receive OE will check for mail on both accounts. You should get a welcome message from your new mailbox. You can check this is all working correctly by sending a test email to mainmail@projecthappy... (I'll not put the full email in here for obvious reasons!).

If you now go back to the portal Email settings, Configure Mailboxes. This time select ADD RE-DIRECT. Enter the To: address as just penny and the Destination address as mainmail@rollobks.for... (again I've abbreviated the address to stop it being harvested). When after a similar delay to above, this takes effect you will find mail to penny@project... will be delivered via you new mailbox.

Repeat the last step for all the genuine addresses you want to collect mail from.

jelv
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2006, 04:08:05 am »

Penny,
I suggest you proceed as follows - this method will mean that you will not risk losing any mail while you are getting it right:
In the portal, go to Email settings, Configure Mailboxes. Then ADD MAILBOX. Give it the name "mainmail" and a password. All the mail to your real addresses is going to end up in here

Thanks John - only just back, have set up a small number of mailboxes, only the mainmail one appears to work so far but others are queued and hopefully will work tomorrow.  Tried out the re-direct one but nothing through on that yet so cancelled it; however just learned from Support that the boxes will only work for "future mail" (not mail already in the default mailbox) so that might be why nothing happened.

The problem I currently have is that there were (at something after 3am today) 53818 mails sitting in the default mailbox (10 days' worth).  OE can't access them, WebMail can't show them and even MagicMail (or something similar) which the very helpful guy in Support tried to access them with just now, won't load them because of the quantity.

The only logical thing to do would seem to be to delete everything and start again  Sad  However I need to save (if humanly possible) anything to penny2006 (@) (re the languages project) and pokemon2006 (@) as I might not be able to get either of those sets of messages sent again.  If I were to use http://usertools.plus.net/delmail/ does anyone know any way of getting delmail to exclude two addresses from the block delete?

Hadn't anticipated needing to be away from here for so long and slightly fazed out that after 24 hours back I still can't get access to any mail.  If I have to scrap it all and start again well I guess I'll have to deal with that but if so, the longer I leave it the more mail that will be lost.

Couple of additional questions: (1) delmail page says "Please note: This will only work on the PlusNet mail servers." (not Force 9?)
(2) if I use delmail will it zap also any new mail between now and when I use it, that has gone into the sub-mailboxes I've just set up?

Any insights appreciated Smiley  Won't be around much of Fri/Sat as lots of Xmas stuff to do (not even written cards yet because of having had to go away) but really need to start being able to access e-mail asap.

TIA

Penny.

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
dhookham
Administrator

Posts: 3270


« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2006, 06:06:18 am »

Couple of additional questions: (1) delmail page says "Please note: This will only work on the PlusNet mail servers." (not Force 9?)
The force9 one is http://usertools.force9.net/delmail/


Incidentally, have you tried accessing the mailbox through IMAP? In OE set up a spare mail account, identical to your normal one except for the incoming mail server. Instead of mail.force9.net put imap.force9.net. This will create a new folder in the tree for the IMAP server. Click on this and OE will go funny for a bit. After a while (quite a while in the case of your mail  wink), then display the headers of your mail. Sort by subject to start with as this will bring a lot of spam together. Highlight a block you want rid of and press CTRL-D. Or skim through (or set and apply a rule) to move certain mail out of the inbox, then highlight the rest and CTRL-D it all.

If you find OE is timing out, you can extend the setting in the properties for that account.

It's the PlusNet Way
Phil Richardson

Posts: 992

Products Specialist

« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2006, 08:03:48 am »

Penny, I became aware of this thread from one of the night shift (and hell, I only just got out of bed too).

The delmail tool simply isn't capable of performing that function right now (I wrote this one, not Colin). It is slow in its operation, due in part to the way that POP3 servers work (with that amount of email, this is not gonna be a PlusNet specific problem).

The time it takes is down to the login process. When you present a POP3 server with your password, it does two things.

1: Authenticates you, which is pretty damned quick

2: Creates a lockfile.

This file contains details about every email in your inbox (if not every message itself). That way for the duration of that connection, you are only working on that email. Anything delivered whilst the connection is open is ignored until later.

This is the time consuming part.

When you are complete, deleted messages are purged and the process can start again.

Your proposal to add some form of filtering is very interesting, but this adds quite a number of steps aftr step 2.

All headers have to be downloaded (this can be done without the message bodies, so whilst time consuming, is not so so bad).

Each header needs processing to get key data about it.

Each invalid header deleted.

The problem about processing each headers is that the "To:" line is not always the address the message is delivered to. This is only added by mail clients for sanity and can for the most part be nothing related to the sender.

As such, it cannot be trusted.

There are a few other key indicators, which I would need ot investiate a little.

In all, given the time and day of the year (Friday prior to Xmas), I simply don't have the time. It would never have been a quick win fix anyhow.

Some of the other suggestions provided here may be worthwhile as a stop gap for you right now. Though sorry I could not assist.

Phil Richardson
Plusnet Products Specialist
jelv1

Posts: 2130

« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2006, 09:31:46 am »

Penny,

You need to create all the redirects as quickly as possible. That way you will receive new emails from when the redirects start working. Otherwise if you do have to have your main mailbox deleted you will lose more than necessary.

jelv
jelv1

Posts: 2130

« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2006, 10:02:19 am »

Penny,

If there are any prefixes which only get spam (I get a lot to info@ and sales@) you should create redirects of these to blackhole@abuse.plus.com

Plusnet, if Penny creates all the redirects she needs, would it be possible to re-queue all the mail in her default mailbox so that it gets processed by the new redirects?

jelv
dhookham
Administrator

Posts: 3270


« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2006, 01:11:59 pm »

To summarise, Penny...

1. Create redirects for new mail for your key aliases (eg penny2006) so that (hopefully) legitimate mail remains separate from what will be an ever-increasing tide of spam.
2. Create blackhole redirects for aliases that you don't use (and which pull a lot of spam - webmaster, sales, info, etc are usually good targets)
3. PN may be able to re-queue the existing mail so it goes back through the redirects - this would enable mail to your blackholed aliases to be removed.
4. Use something like MailWasher or similar (or IMAP) to get a list of headers.
5. Sort this by subject line to enable large blocks to be marked for deletion.
6. Process deletions in smaller blocks (eg like stopping OE partway through a send/receive cycle to avoid the process crashing)

It's the PlusNet Way
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2006, 01:57:19 pm »

Thanks to everyone for the replies Smiley  Have to say that I've been on the phone most of the morning trying to sort out ongoing stuff from when I was away down south so time is at something of a premium right now let alone trying to sort out logistical stuff back home having been away 10 days.

>>1. Create redirects for new mail for your key aliases (eg penny2006) so that (hopefully) legitimate mail remains separate from what will be an ever-increasing tide of spam.
Don't understand about redirects (sorry - remember you're dealing with a technical dipstick here  embarassed).  Don't want to send the mail "somewhere else" as my present inbox rules are set for the existing downloads (and I don't have time to re-do them).  Is it not possible to just set up (say) mailboxes for all the "to" addresses I want to keep, and download them separately through the roll....+penny.... facility on OE?  Having said that, the penny2006 mailbox I set up over 12 hours ago still isn't working either on webmail or OE so I'm struggling somewhat with understanding (at all) how this all works.
>>2. Create blackhole redirects for aliases that you don't use (and which pull a lot of spam - webmaster, sales, info, etc are usually good targets)
Not feasible (sorry) - huge percentage of it all is to random addresses @ happ....
>>3. PN may be able to re-queue the existing mail so it goes back through the redirects - this would enable mail to your blackholed aliases to be removed.
That sounds wonderful, presuming that (a) "mailboxes" rather than "redirects" are viable (b) that the new mailbox set-ups actually start to work with either OE or Webmail (getting invalid password when I try to use either at present, but mainmail, set up originally, works so I assume that the newer mailboxes haven't actually yet been enabled at the F9 end).
>>4. Use something like MailWasher or similar (or IMAP) to get a list of headers.
Not technically-skilled enough to set this up, and no time right now.
>>5. Sort this by subject line to enable large blocks to be marked for deletion.
>>6. Process deletions in smaller blocks (eg like stopping OE partway through a send/receive cycle to avoid the process crashing)[/quote]
Because of the sheer volume of e-mails (well over 50,000 by now) OE can't even get to the point of starting to download messages (server timeout set to maximum which says five minutes).

From what I dimly understand, if I were to set up (say) 50 mailboxes (not redirects) to siphon off the mail I actually need, and if the mailboxes were actually to become operational, and if F9 were able to requeue the mail, the existing mail would then re-filter into the new mailboxes and I could call the separate sets of mail off into the new mailboxes via OE. (yes?)

Also (presumably) I would need to have preset something on the default mailbox such that everything not putting itself into a designated mailbox when requeued by F9, would get blackholed.  (I don't understand how to do this bit either, but logically it would seem to have to be in place before the requeuing took place) (?).

I can (probably) find the time to identify the 50-ish addresses I need mailboxes for, on an ongoing basis, and set up mailboxes for those some time today as well as setting the same ones up in OE, but there seems to be a long delay in the mailboxes actually starting to work, which presumably they would need to before requeuing could start (if indeed requeueing is possible).

I hope I've summarised all this as accurately as I can in terms of my (very) limited understanding of the processes.  Everything just seems more than slightly surreal right now so I'm just hoping that some sort of solution can be found to enable at least the bare essentials of mail to be accessed and dealt with, and the rest cleared; have to be elsewhere right now but will check back periodically over the day when I can.

Thank you all again Smiley

Penny.

Footnote - just found two e-mails to penny2006 have just arrived.  *no* idea how they got here (both sent today) and apparently OE still can't access the roll....+penny2006 mailbox (and the default mailbox still isn't operational) .... but *something* must be working.  Mystified but marginally saner Smiley
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 02:09:02 pm by Penny »

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2006, 07:29:30 pm »

Just a brief update. Seemingly the messages that got through were cc'd to a plus.com address, fortunately, and since then both the pokemon2006 and penny2006 mailboxes have apparently become operational Smiley

So, realistically, it would be feasible to bin the rest (for now at least) if the 50,000+ messages could be re-queued (could Phil or someone else at F9 possibly clarify if that would be possible?)

However first (before re-queuing takes place) I would need to have set up the blackhole-everything-else thing - how do I do this?

Being entirely pragmatic I can live with losing everything else, for now, and set up the rest of the required mailboxes later when the bulk queue has been disposed of.

This is assuming requeuing is possible, of course  :/

Any further advice appreciated Smiley as would be confirmation of approx how long it takes for a new mailbox to work, given that the last two took over 12 hours.

tia

Penny.

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2006, 10:37:41 pm »

(could Phil or someone else at F9 possibly clarify if that would be possible?)

Any chance of a response from Support, about whether the re-queuing could be done? I know it's only three hours since I asked Tongue but the last day I have full mail for is 11th December and I can't run a site effectively if I don't know what people have sent.

... set up the blackhole-everything-else thing - how do I do this?

Only required if re-queuing is possible, obviously, but it would be helpful to know how to do this.

If requeuing can't be done, how would anyone suggest I clear the existing mail which is probably at around 60,000 by now (adding approx 5000/day)?  Given that Phil has said delmail can't be used.  I've tried Mailwasher by the way (someone helped with the installation) and it won't download that volume either.

Becoming a little frayed at the edges here  sad

Penny.

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
scarymonkey

Posts: 1085

WWW
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2006, 11:08:45 pm »

Have you tried connecting using imap Penny? I probably wouldn't use OE as it doesn't like too many messages, but instead it might be worth giving Thunderbird a go.

Vince Marsters
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2006, 11:35:05 pm »

Have you tried connecting using imap Penny? I probably wouldn't use OE as it doesn't like too many messages, but instead it might be worth giving Thunderbird a go.

Thanks Vince.  Just tried IMAP (using dhookham's instructions above) but got
Quote
The server responded with an error. Account: 'imap.force9.net', Server: 'imap.force9.net', Protocol: POP3, Server Response: '-ERR AVG POP3 Proxy Server: Cannot connect to the mail server!', Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number: 0x800CCC90
(is POP3 the wrong thing to have in the box? outgoing is still SMTP relay.force9.net) Don't have the faintest clue what I might be doing wrong here, or whether it's just the mail volume that's causing the problems.  And no, I'm not brave enough to try installing another mail client Wink

Putting up imap has disabled access to my new mailboxes by the way (they're greyed out).  How do I get them back?

Appreciate the info Vince just beginning to feel like I'm going round in circles here. 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 01:15:45 am by Penny »

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
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