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Long Delays in Emails Are Really Due to Spam

According to NZ Telecom, the big delay in delivering emails is due to a massive spam attack on Xtra's e-mail network. A report in the New Zealand Herald says that a number of customers have expressed their severe dissatisfaction on the Xtra website message board, mentioning that mails took days to deliver.

In the opinion of Kevin Bowler, General Manager of Consumer Marketing, spammers deliberately attacked Xtra with a slew of false connections, making it a hard task for mail servers to connect at once to Xtra. He apologized for the hardships resulting from the targeting of the network by spammers.

NZ Telecom employs a method called "greylisting" to tackle spam. This method puts in queue all e-mails arriving from servers that are sending e-mail to that provider for the first time. This technique is an effective one for blocking spam, since most spam software make just one attempt to send mail, in contrast to genuine email servers that try again and again. However, the technique does hold back authentic email for long intervals.

One Xtra customer protested that mails from US took 2 ½ days to reach his box. Kevin Bowler says that Xtra has put in place new spam filters that are reducing the flow of traffic from abroad. Unprecedented volumes of spam mean that e-mail delays will be a regretted but continuing reality of the Internet regardless of the provider in question. In September 2006, Telecom filtered a record 226 million spam mails, compared with just 65 million for the same period in 2005.

Users of Xtra think that the difficulties are the result of under investment in technology on the part of NZ Telecom. However, Mr Bowler says Telecom has made huge investments in e-mail and anti-spam software and worked in close partnership with two of the world's prominent anti-spam vendors. He says that spam and email security are two areas where resources and focus are being placed on.

Related article: Long URLs Cause Security Flaw in Opera Browser

» SPAMfighter News - 12/16/2006

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