back to article Virgin Media's SPAM-AGEDDON 'fix' silences mailboxes

Virgin Media customers who are Ntlworld.com account holders have been struggling – one way or another – to access their emails for days now. Subscribers affected by the ISP's migration from Google's Gmail service were first forced to wade through hundreds of SPAM messages to get to their emails, only to later find that over- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly news, they did exactly the same when they migrated ex-blueyonder customers a couple of months back. Days of outages, massive spam, loads of emails blocked.

    You would have thought they'd have learnt some lessons but it appears not.

    Just take one look at the many many complaints on their "community" forum.

    1. Velv

      I'm going to claim blueyonder is still a problem.

      I'm not receiving mails I'm expecting and they aren't in the spam mailbox either (which I had to turn on). I estimate my total email volume has halved since the switch away from gmail, so where is the missing stuff going as it should either be in my inbox or my spam mailbox.

      I'm considering getting a gmail address and going back to that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        TBH I gave up with their new OX Platform pretty quickly so I have no idea how bad the issues still are.

        All my mail goes to my own domain. Years back I used to run my own mail server. I stopped doing that when Google took over VM's mail and just forwarded the mail on as gmail was pretty decent and tbh the few advantages of running my own MTA were overwhelmed by the ease of letting google handle it.

        Now with the lack of features in OX added to the spam and blocked emails I gave up with them, went back to running my own mail server again with cubemail as a webmail. 9000 times better and with all the features missing from OX (at least in the VM implementation), although I might have to actually contribute and do some re-writing on their filters!

        1. Carl W
          FAIL

          All my mail goes to my own domain

          As does mine. Or nearly all. I discovered a valuable lesson many years ago: do not make your domain's administrative contact an address in that domain, nor an address in a domain hosted by the same provider. Oversight on my part but I accidentally let the domain expire and of course they sent the notification to the administrative contact...

      2. Dave Cable

        +1 to that - my wife is having no end of problems with her blueyonder account.

      3. James R Grinter
        FAIL

        I was getting instant "this email is spam" bounces when trying to email a blueyonder address last week.

        So I tried to tell their postmaster, but that bounced too.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "they did exactly the same when they migrated ex-blueyonder customers a couple of months back. Days of outages, massive spam, loads of emails blocked."

      I can't say I noticed any difference in spam on my BY accounts. Maybe it's just some accounts which happen to have attracted spam in the first place due to usage patterns but the users never realised before because it was being rejected before they ever saw it.

      I do seem to vaguely remember going into the webmail or account control or whatever and turning off all filtering options as soon as the switch over happened, so that might have something to do with my lack of problems.

    3. e^iπ+1=0

      Pillock

      "I have in the region of 50 sites I deal with that use my ntl email for validation or sending me information"

      Who in their right mind would do that?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. TitterYeNot
      Coat

      Re: How many El Reggers

      would use their ISPs mail service as their primary email?

      Time for another El Reg survey:

      Q1 - Would you trust Virgin Media to run a piece of wire to your house and provide broadband internet access over it without cocking it up too often?

      ☐ Yes. Just.

      ☐ No. Not on your nelly.

      Q2 - Would you trust Virgin Media to provide reliable email and/or other online services, as well as providing speedy and efficient customer service?

      ☐ Yes. I'm easily pleased, and regularly sleep on a bed of nails.

      ☐ No. You've got to be frikkin' kidding me.

      1. Quip

        Re: How many El Reggers

        Q1 - Would you trust Virgin Media to run a piece of wire to your house and provide broadband internet access over it without cocking it up too often?

        ☐ No.

        The original bit of wire was Cable London, which bcame Blueyonder, then VM. Worked well enough for ten years, until the new gas main cut through the cable. Try telling a call centre in India that 'switch it off and on again" will not fix a 18 inch air gap. Took them six months to dig up the road and fix it because though 'retention' will move heaven and earth to solve the problem, the work order then goes into a system that loses all the important details like: need to dig hole in road, need to get council permit etc. Meantime I discovered that 3's mobile broadband was good enough for my data usage, cheaper, and more convenient.

        Q2 - Would you trust Virgin Media to provide reliable email and/or other online services, as well as providing speedy and efficient customer service?

        No. I have my own domain(s) and for about £25 pa someone will run a mail service for me. And for giving out email addys to the untrusted there is gmail.

  3. a_mu

    Virgin email

    Yes, the virgin change over seems to have been an on going disaster for many weeks.

    The forums now have almost as many complaints about SPF , forwarding and emails going missing than complaints about speed and throttling, and thats saying something.

    For a week or so, there was a valiant effort by support on the forums to provide a patch, but for the last week, the admins have been silent.

    Many of us have been with NTL world for a long time. in my case almost 20 years, and the used to provided unlimited email accounts.

    OK, yes I have my own domain, but that all gets forwarded to my ISP, well it used to till virgin changed and now bounce most mails that come in from a forwarding service.

    and the trouble is, unlike spam that gets put to one side, so you can at least find a missing email, ones that Virgin bounce are lost with out trace, nor notice to the user that they have gone !

    Personally I think Virgin just want to dump email and become a pure ISP, much less support needed so cheaper.

    wonder what happened to all those that used to run ntlworlds email before virgin out sourced them to gmail,

    come on back please.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virgin email

      >wonder what happened to all those that used to run ntlworlds email before virgin out sourced them to >gmail,

      >come on back please

      They used to use InterMail MX (from Software.com) - mostly managed in house, with a bit of PS work from Software.com.

      The product is now called Email MX from OpenWave Messaging Inc.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business As Usual

    Incompetence, customers ignored, no response. Business as usual from Virgin Media then.

    Speaking as an ex-victim/customer of theirs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Business As Usual

      Yep. Another ex-customer here.

      I signed up to VM on an offer in summer 2013 to find I was getting barely 2 Mbps for large parts of the day. Watching iPlayer on my Roku box was unusable and I couldn't stream anything.

      It turns out this was a major fault in the area due to the power supply to their comms room (search the Virgin Media community board for "F002311977" and "Slow broadband b63 Halesowen"). It took them over 18 months to fix the fault. Even afterwards when I was showing 50 Mbps on the download checkers it felt throttled in normal use. The icing on the cake is they're charging almost £40 per month for this.

      Now back with Sky for £17 /month. Slower (12 Mbps) but more reliable, and much, much cheaper. With fibre coming early next year to our exchange, I doubt I'll be troubling Liberty Global again.

      I was never daft enough to use their email system which would have locked me to them.

      Slowly getting rid of the "sucker" tattoo.

  5. Andrew Newstead

    Er Guys...

    Not wanting to upset the applecart here folks, but until I read this piece I didn't know there had been problems with ntlworld addresses (obviously I have one). My email seems to be behaving itself, anyone else finding this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Er Guys...

      I've not noticed anything - but then how do you notice stuff you never see ?

      Also, we have a rival cable outfit digging up the street at the moment, so there are even more ways than usual for it all to get fubarred.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Er Guys...

      Hard to tell, very little mail is still aimed at mine and I rarely check the spam folder so a flood could have been and gone. Does look like nothing got lost *but* there's no easy way to tell.

    3. Steve Gill

      Re: Er Guys...

      Like most here, I assume, I have a different primary email but the stuff I route through NTLworld / Virgin seems to been coming through OK so far

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Er Guys...

      It is hard to tell if not expecting emails or replies, particularly if you have a number of @ntlworld accounts. I had a case a couple of months ago where my own accounts could talk to the others but one account could only send but not receive from any of those. That was only detected by chance and then I discovered a huge wad of legitimate email in the spam folder when I was instructed by customer support to use the crap web mail interface while they resolved that problem.

      Their web mail interface is down at the moment so there is no way to check if anything has been caught in the spam folders so no way to tell if I am affected yet. Normal SMTP/POP seems to be okay but it looked okay when I did have that earlier problem.

      I use @ntlworld email addresses because; why not? They should be as good as any other email accounts, and have been for years. VM and other ISP email should not be any less reliable than anything else. In fact VM/Google had been doing a fine job of keeping spam away. I'll move to something else when I need to. Recent fuck-ups have been extremely annoying but it's not like everyone else is immune from those.

    5. MrJealousy

      Re: Er Guys...

      My old ntlworld account suddenly started squirting spam at me. I get something like 40 of the buggers a day at the moment, mixed in with a handful of legitimate emails.

      1. Chika
        FAIL

        Re: Er Guys...

        Sounds about right. No, I'm not a Virgin Media customer but I suddenly started getting spams from an address in the blueyonder domain that I hadn't heard from in some time.

        Tried to notify the owner, got nothing.

        Tried to notify the domain, got my complaints rejected because.... SPAM detected!!!

        Id10ts...

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    dmarc?

    too aggressive? I just had a chat about this morning. Turning it on full blast is bad in the beginning, or so I'm told...

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: dmarc?

      DMARC is a tricky beast. If you enforce it then say goodbye to mailing lists for starters. See Yahoo for what happens when you publish a "please enforce my DMARC policy".

      Now, you should run your DMARC in monitor mode for a fair old while before requesting enforcement. You can request daily digests or even forensics level diags from other mail systems and many will send them. You evaluate the side effects and then you set enforce.

      _dmarc.ntlworld.com. 899 IN TXT "v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:root.mail@virginmedia.co.uk"

      They haven't done the whole thing yet. Note: p=none

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tagged email affected too.

    Since the changeover all(?) tagged emails (i.e. of the form account+tag@virginmedia.com (or @blueyonder.co.uk)) are bounced.

    Virginmedia does listen (I received a phone call from the CEO’s Support Team after sending a complaint to the CEO’s email address) but did not promise a fix anytime soon (if at all).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Tagged email affected too.

      "Since the changeover all(?) tagged emails (i.e. of the form account+tag@virginmedia.com (or @blueyonder.co.uk)) are bounced."

      I'd have expected that to happen. Those account+tag things were a GMail feature.

  8. Spacebots

    I've got two ntlworld email addresses, which are my main ones, plus six virginmedia ones I keep separate for various game logins. I've not had any problems with any of them. My wife on the other hand has just one ntlworld account for everything and was getting swamped with masses of spam emails every day for a few days last week.

    I'm pleased to read this story here as we were both wondering if she'd accidentally given her address to some dodgy site. It seems not and I don't think she was still getting the same problem over the weekend, so maybe it's fixed. I hope so.

  9. captain veg Silver badge

    Good

    "Valid emails are being deleted and as far as I can see they are not necessarily bounced back to the originator."

    Well that's good. Having identified something as spam (even if wrongly), it would be cretinous to bounce it "back" to the apparent sender. Rule 1: spammers lie. I've had quite enough of other people's spam shovelled into my mailbox by MTAs configured by morons, thanks.

    -A.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But why?

    Have they not been sued to death? This is clearly costing companies money in lost business.

    If this was the USA half a gazillion Class Action suits would have already been filed.

    The only way that they will learn is to be hit where it hurts in the Financial Dangly bits.

    Not a VM customer and from the experience my friends get I will never be one.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: But why?

      "Have they not been sued to death? This is clearly costing companies money in lost business."

      Is it affecting the business accounts? AIUI, it's only residential accounts that have been affected.

  11. John Styles

    Interesting, last night my weekly email to our running club got bounced back to me as spam from people with ntlworld.com email addresses, I wondered why it looked like spam to it this week.

  12. banjomike
    Thumb Down

    New feature, random message selection

    There is a thread on the Virgin forum which has a post from a Virgin person that basically says that the new super-crappy email system is the same system that Virgin and Liberty Global use in-house. If they are happy to use such an inferior product on a daily basis then there is probably zero chance of the many bugs getting removed.

    My favorite bug is the one in webmail that causes a message to be selected, more-or-less at random, when the scrollbar is moved in the message window. If you are lucky it selects one in the visible part of the folder so you can unselect it. If you are UNlucky then it selects one that you cannot see so when you delete or move another message the one that was selected by the system will also move or be deleted.

  13. Wolfclaw
    FAIL

    Great, we are being spammed to hell and back again, VM techs doesn't know their arse from their elbows !

    1. fangster

      Yes, all the same problems are still here, SPAM worse again. Can El Reg try and get an updated statement from VM?

  14. wardinewrock

    Continued lack of delivery of legitimate email to Virgin Media accounts

    Months later, the Virgin Media Community forum continues to receive reports weekly from businesses, organizations, charities, clubs, government organizations and individuals who are unable to deliver legitimate email to Virgin Media addresses (@blueyonder.co.uk, @ntlworld.com, @virginmedia.com and @virgin.net). Instead of addressing the problem with the poorly-tuned spam-content filtering, Virgin Media appears to be trying to whitelist the world, one domain at a time. The result is that Virgin Media account holders are only receiving a portion of the email which others are trying to send to them.

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