back to article University emails 'blocked from Hotmail'

Thousands of students and university staff have been unable to contact Hotmail users because of an unidentified network fault. According to Oxford Brookes university on Friday, Microsoft was blocking email originating in its network and those of other universities "on what appears to be a random basis". UK universities connect …


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  1. Shane McCarrick

    And why should they care?

    At the risk of sounding cynical- perhaps they'll have more time to spend on their studies than frivolous hotmail and other pursuits?

  2. Gordon Pryra

    Did the Students even notice?

    I doubt it to be honest, and their own "they are blocking on a random basis" is really helpfull.

    The moment someone works out a true random number generator, the moment I don't watch unwanted hunter gloves drop for the 1000th time :(

  3. James Penketh


    "Oxford Brookes said it had informed Microsoft of the problem..."

    But the email hadn't got through.

  4. Michael Chester

    Not happening here.

    E-mails happily flying back and forth between my hotmail account and my uni (Oxford (the proper one)) account. Goes to junk mail on my old account, with the filter set to standard.

  5. Bad Beaver
    Gates Horns

    Hotmail users

    They are familiar with pain by default, they do not desire or deserve anything else.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only universities?

    can anyone confirm if it's only universities affected?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    FWICR this uni uses SAV and perm greylists anyone if the SAV call fails - they do not seem to keep an SAV cache. They will NOT discuss whitelisting commercial domains. This has resulted in thier very low mail rep and periodic inclusion in various blacklists. No suprise they eventually ended up being blacklisted by a major ISP.

  8. kevin biswas

    hotmail ?


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Blocked eh?

    May be unrelated but....

    If their ISP is using re-sold Tiscali services.

    And all email on the tiscali network get bottlenecked through a few mail filters.

    And Tiscali mail filters got put on a spam blacklist like they did the other day, making sure that hotmail et al would reject all email from them for a few days.

  10. Paul Corbett


    If they ask me nicely i will forward on the messages for them, i'm not blocked.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The NHS is blocked too

    All addresses in the namespace are being blocked as "a complaint has been made about email originating from the IP address". Related?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Our uni mail servers are often blocked by hotmail/Yahoo etc. It only needs one machine on our network to be infected with a mailer that uses exchange, and their (hotmail etc) automatic spambot detector blocks our email gateway server. We then have to switch to a new server and contact them to get our server un-blacklisted.

    Its not really a problem. it happens quite a lot, so we have lots of servers we can switch to, but it often takes a couple of hours for users to report that emails are being blocked.

  13. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Well, there's a funny thing...

    "Oxford Brookes said it had informed Microsoft of the problem and was working to resolve it, but had not heard anything back."

    "We e-mailed them and e-mailed them and e-mailed them and we never heard anything back..."

  14. mad clarinet

    What a surprise

    Email problems with hotmail is nothing new with universities, we have this problem at the university I work on a regular basic.

    Then we get moaned at as the emails from students haven't been replied to...... and they wonder why we insist on them using their university issued address.... (mind you, since we moved to MS exchange we've had more problems).

  15. Colin


    Call me cynical but is this Microsoft's way of pushing universities towards its own Live@Edu hosted exchange email products?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Hasn't Anyone Tried....

    Hotline Support.......

    mines the one with the Singed Bolt cutters in the pocket....

  17. chris
    Thumb Down

    Not just universities

    Hotmail / Windows Live Mail are mad keen on blocking mail from small providers with that "a complaint has been made" message. I think it's based on SMTP addresses more than return addresses.

  18. Chris C

    And this is why...

    And this is why blacklisting IP addresses is a bad idea. When you have up to a thousand or more domains sharing a single mail server, hence a single IP address (or even a small range of IP addresses), it's ridiculous to think that it's acceptable to block that IP address based on spam originating from it (especially if it's only a couple of messages). Blacklisting IP addresses only works properly when only one domain is using that address. I understand the desire to reduce the load on your server coming from spambots, but blacklisting IP addresses is not a reasonable way to do so. The potential for far-reaching collateral damage is just too great.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Oxford Brookes University eh?

    The same one where Indian Masters students have to ask you how to print? The same one with such an aversion to commercial software that they will not install FREE versions of Visual Studio but instead put old cover CD copies of Delphi 6 and Dreamweaver *3* (sadly not a joke) on pooled machines?

    The same Uni where I had to walk out of a "web design" class when we were instructed to use framesets and a SMIL "animated intro" synced to a WAV file on a homepage?!

    I used their SMTP server for a couple of years to relay email for my personal account via the internal network, no wonder they are getting blocked.

    Mines the one with the 3p bit of green paper put through a mail merge, folded in half, my photo stuck on with Pritt Stick and laminated - that's the Oxford Brookes University "ID Card" that nobody outside the Uni believes is real (try getting a student discount with something you can make yourself in 5 minutes). No expense spared by IT either if seems.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My university recently migrated over to the windows live exchange crap. Shortly after Microsoft kindly blacklisted the university domain (well the staff's domain) so all the staff emails and announcements went to the ol junk folder.

    That's joined up thinking at it's best!

    So no, this isn't pushing people onto their services, you don't need to pay Microsoft for them to screw you :)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    infected systems

    not suprising - with the number of infected systems on Uni subnets it doesnt take much for

    the extenal mail relays to block UK university IP space. infected systems configured with the correct university SMTP address will send out lots of spam cr*p which then triggers the protection at the remote ISP - ding! the universities SMTP server is then blocked - killing all traffic from that uni to that ISP. great technology. solutions? better spam/virus filtering at the SMTP level, authenticated sending direct back to ISP (and allow such traffic) - thus the user themselves can be blocked at the correct level...further answers on a postcard please.

    nice to see the reference to MS exchange. heartening.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Not happening here.

    You realise that Oxford Uni (ie the real one) is moving its Alumni email system to Hotmail?

    Heaven help the whole of Oxford... it'll be an email blackhole soon... someone there was smoking something pretty damn amazing when they figured one of the most prestigious Universities in the world could slum it with the rest of us plebians on something like Hotmail... *shudder*

  23. Doug Glass

    @James Penketh

    Right ... "Please reply to this email and let me know if you didn't get it".

  24. Jan Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    What a turnabout.

    When I was a university postmaster I used to block Hotmail.

    (Paris, for real hotmail.)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oxford Brookes, or 'the early learning centre' as it's affectionately know locally,

    Say's it all really...

  26. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Oxford Brookes University eh?

    Ah! I'd always thought that there should be more to being a University than tipp-exing out the word "Polytechnic" from your name and writing in "University" in biro.

    Thank you for confirming this.

  27. KarlTh

    Second rule of forums (after Godwin's Law)...

    ...if you criticise anyone's education, grammar or spelling, you will make a howler yourself:

    "Say's it all really..."

    Complete FAIL - apostrophe abuse.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hotmails spam filtering sucks

    This sort of thing happens constantly with Hotmail. Hotmails spam filtering is the worse in the industry as far as false positives go. They even blackhole mail rather than rejecting it in many cases.

  29. regadpellagru

    "According to Oxford Brookes university on Friday, Microsoft was blocking email originating in its network and those of other universities "on what appears to be a random basis". "

    Hmmm, yes, what's the scoop here ? Mikrosoft and "random basis" in the same sentence ?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Calm Down,Dear

    It's only a jumped up Technical College!

  31. Anonymous Coward

    And us...

    Affecting us, we appear to have had an account compromised which then sent >8k emails to Hotmail accounts via webmail from an IP in Nigeria. That probably accounts for the blacklist, not some wild conspiracy...

  32. Chris C

    re: Hotmails spam filtering sucks

    "They even blackhole mail rather than rejecting it in many cases."

    Actually, spam SHOULD be blackholed rather than rejected. Virtually no spam actually comes from the email address listed in the "From" header. As we saw in the early days of spam filtering (and still on some poorly-configured systems today), rejecting mail and sending it back to the "From" address only causes additional traffic and problems -- for you (the receiver) and for the "From" address/domain.

    If all spam was rejected and sent back to the "From" header's domain, I have a feeling the Internet would slow to a crawl because of all the additional traffic it would generate. I know for a fact it would melt one of my clients' mail servers considering they get about 98,000 messages sent to invalid addresses. Sending all of those messages back to the alleged originating domains would cause an unnecessary massive increase in resource utilization and outgoing traffic, not to mention the return traffic when the alleged originating domain's mail server sends its own NDR because the address in the "From" header was fake to begin with. And then we've got a ping-pong match, where each side's mail server sends an NDR to a non-existent user.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Feel included now

    Well you can add the NHS to this list, we can't e-mail hotmail either

    Ho Hum,

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Also affected....

    Mailcontrol's clusters were affected also.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats the surprise?

    It is microsoft...

  36. Robert Fitzgerald

    NHS too?

    Hotmail are also currently blocking emails from National Health Service in the UK so doctors are unable to send emails to their patients who use Hotmail addresses

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