Friday, November 24, 2006

IIJ "Improves" Their Service

IIJ, Internet Initiative Japan, is one of the oldest and most respected ISPs in the country. I've never used anyone else. But the day before yesterday, they implemented an "improvement" to their network that has me looking for another ISP.

With no prior announcement that I saw, they started blocking outbound SMTP. This means that, all of a sudden, I can't send email from my house, except by using some web-based mail system such as Gmail.

I use three different email accounts that I need outbound SMTP access for. I called their service line, and the woman I talked to suggested that I get them to open up SMTP on another port. Ugh. Like that would solve anything, even if I could get them to do it.

I threatened to cancel my service, and she said that any other ISP I can find will likely either already have port 25 blocked, or be doing so in the near future. It's an anti-spam measure recommended by the Japan Email Anti-Abuse Group (JEAG).

I haven't been this angry about some utility in a long time...


At 2:30 PM, Blogger -rkb- said...

The probably allow you to use port 25 on their designated mail server for outbound mail, matching use of POP3 on their server for inbound mail.

Then the only real trick is to setup your email client to use POP3 from one place to receive mail, and SMTP through IIJ to send mail.

Eudora makes this pretty straightforward, and can even collect mail from several distinct accounts into one inbox, each tagged with the personality (and hence provide the right From line in a reply) it was sent to.

I assume that whatever your preferred mailer is on *nix can do something similar, or if you are running smtpd yourself that you can force it to funnel all outbound mail through that one SMTP server as the first hop.

It does make a kind of sense to block access to port 25 on "foreign" servers, at least until the next generation of botnets comes along that can go spelunking for an SMPT AUTH credential in your existing email configuration to "borrow" for its valuable delivery of pr0n and spam.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger rdv said...

Yeah, what IIJ wants is for me to use their email server. But that's not what I want, and it's not what I pay them for. I pay them for IP service, which in my opinion includes every port in the space.

Even if I were willing, I would still have to have different configurations at home and at work, because work has the exact opposite set of email ports open. In the end, I wrote little scripts that switch my Evolution account configuration at home and at work. At home I connect via SMTP over either SSL or TLS, 465 or 587, about which I'm not actually unhappy.

IIJ said I could also get 25 unblocked by getting static IP addresses, which I would like to have, but I'm not willing to pay their 5,000 yen/mont ($45) for them.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger barbara said...

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