The Coronavirus pandemic

Workers have been moved from the office to their personal spaces only to discover a variety of new work-related problems.  As I have worked from home for the better part of my life as an Internet consultant and web hosting provider, I thought I would share a few pointers as well as address some security and eMail related issues.

First the eMail problems.

Your office most likely has a business internet account with a “RandomHostName” internet service provider.  “RandomHostName” most often provides residential internet services which is what you have in your home. “RandomHostName” doesn’t want residential customers to use residential services for various business services, and does things to limit the connection speed in ways that discourage home users from doing things like running a website from their home, and of course sending out eMail or more commonly, spam from a hacked computer.

In an effort to reduce spam originating from their network “RandomHostName” lists all the IP numbers of the residential customer’s networks with various RBL services.  RBL’s provide realtime lists that just about every spam filter in the world uses.

As many a business worker has already experienced, sending plain old eMail from residential accounts can lead to mail just disappearing, getting blocked, both with or without notification.  This blocking can happen at almost every internet “hop” you take trying to get to your destination.  These hops include but are not limited to, “RandomHostName”, the company web server, firewall, spam filter, software on the computer, etc.  The receiver side will also most likely have similar devices to filter out harmful eMails.

With a quick lookup, eMail originating from residential IP numbers can be blocked automatically in a variety of ways to protect users from spam and malicious eMail attacks.

Spam filter operators do have the ability to stop using these lists, but that opens the flood gates to spam and viral eMail attacks.  As administrators, we can allow your mail to pass-through most of our filters sometimes, but not always, and if we do, you will be left sending eMail that may never get through, and you may never know.  In simpler terms, you never responded to their eMail and may have lost the customer or some portion of their confidence in your business.

Check your computer’s clock.  The wrong time can give you a big 3 points towards your spam score.

To prevent your mail from ending up in the bit bucket, it’s important to work with “RandomHostName” which usually means using the “RandomHostName” mail server for all outgoing mail.  This means that when you set up your company account in Outlook, or whatever you should use the “RandomHostName” mail server “hostname” and the username and password they provided for only the outgoing mail server area.  The incoming mail server will remain that of your company mail server.

Using a VPN like will bypass “RandomHostName” completely and you will be able to connect directly to your company mail server.

There are always reasons other reasons why an IP gets blacklisted and they should not be taken lightly.  If your IP is blacklisted it’s time to open an investigation into what caused it to be blocked.  This could be an early warning of a website hole, a mail server that has been brute-forced, or even a full intrusion.

I am always available to assist with this type of problem on a per-incident basis.  Contact me today!