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09-06-09 Sunday 1:00 A.M. - We will be performed maintenance on Sunday 9/6/2009 that caused loss of connection to a number of our systems that includes both eMail, and websites hosts. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.

04-24-09 FRIDAY-We at Internet Partners, Inc. / Seasurf Internet are always updating on our systems to try and provide to our customers the best service possible. As part of that continuing effort we are always looking for another way to help stop the flow of eMail SPAM (unsolicited eMail) on the Internet.

We are starting the process of blocking port 25 traffic to the Internet from our customers. If your eMail client software on your local computer is not configured correctly once the block is put in place you will be able to receive eMail messages, just not send them.

So at this time we will need you to check to make sure that your eMail software on your local host computer system is correctly configured. We have “How-To Guides” on our website that should help you with this task. If you only use one of our web based eMail systems like @pen Webmail to read your eMail this will not be an issue.

Problems with the original SMTP model in the Modern World

One of the problems with the SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) model in the modern world is that although consumers get their eMail using POP/IMAP they still send eMail using SMTP. The problem with this is that receiving SMTP servers have no way to distinguish a connection from a real eMail server from a virus infected spam bot. The SMTP protocol has evolved though and there are not new alternatives that have been standardized and we believe that using the existing RFC standards we can help isolate spam bot traffic so it can not sent from our network using SMTP. The trick is to prevent consumer’s computers from talking to servers other than the outgoing SMTP server they are supposed to use. This can be accomplished by using SMTP Submission port 587 instead of SMTP on the standard port 25.

Submission can be as simple as SMTP on an alternate port without a password but restricted to the ISPs customers, or it can be authenticated SMTP open to the world but requiring a user name and password to access. The best model to use is authenticated SMTP requiring a user name and password. RFC 4954 and 5068 cover “Internet Best Current Practices for the Internet Community” in regards to outgoing eMail.

Switching on Port 587 for Outgoing eMail

We have added port 587 to accept outgoing eMail from our customers on a number of hosts systems. Any new customers eMail clients are configured to use authenticated SMTP port 587. This will start to alter the way we have processed eMail to prevent consumers computers from talking directly to inbound servers. Inbound servers will have port 25 closed or restricted to authenticated users only. All of our outbound servers support authenticated SMTP port 587 so that consumers can start to switch at any time. eMail clients like Outlook, Outlook Express, and Thunderbird should default to port 587 instead of port 25. We have on-line guides to help in the change under the “How-To Guides” on our websites.

Critical Mass for Viruses, and Worms

In order for the botnet armies to maintain themselves they need to spread so that new computers are infected to replace the ones that have been cleaned. If viruses are isolated so they can't spread via eMail it will make it much harder for the criminal botnet systems to steal your money. By implementing these policies we hope to reduce the spread of viruses, worms, and slow the growth of botnets. We know that viruses, and worms are primarily transferred through either spam, or TCP/IP hacking. Spam botnet isolation, and spam fighting technology can stop viruses, and worms from spreading through spam only to a given point. NAT technology like that used by most all DSL modems can protect consumers from TCP/IP hacking. By doing what is talked about here then we can help contain the problem, and hope to one day have a solution that will eliminate it.

ISP Responsibility

Anyone who provides an internet based service should take reasonable measures to ensure that the consumers they connect to the Internet are reasonably protected from the Internet and are not a hazard to the rest of the web. We think as your ISP we have some responsibility to keep our users out of trouble, and to keep them from causing trouble for the rest of the world’s Internet users.

We look to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Of course you can't eliminate all problems entirely but where technology, and policy exists to minimize these problems we are always looking for the best way to implement them.

Blocking Internet Traffic

Our policy from the very first was to not block any traffic unless it was causing harm to others. We have from time to time had to disconnect someone’s connection because of an attack coming from that connection. At this time due to the nature of the problem that the criminals are now more than ever out to steal your money we have to take a new course.

Port 25 is the default SMTP connection to send an eMail messages to other host computer systems on the Internet. By default at this time dial-up connections can not send eMail via port 25 to host computer systems on the Internet. The next group that we are going to block port 25 traffic on is our DSL customers.

Customers with there own eMail servers

We will work with customers that are running there own eMail server. These customers will need to have port 25 so that there eMail server can talk directly with other host eMail servers on the Internet.

The customer’s connection will need to limit port 25 traffic to only there own eMail server traffic. Other host computer systems on the customers network that are looking to send eMail via other hosts on the Internet will need to work with that company on the changes that will need to be made to use an alternate port to send eMail.

One again, we at Internet Partners, Inc. / Seasurf Internet are always updating on our systems to try and provide to our customers the best service possible.