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Ian28
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Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

Four years ago I changed to Virgin Media. On my Macbook I connected my mail to Virgin. No issues until yesterday (15th October).

A month ago I connected Virgin mail to 2 new iPhones. No issues until yesterday.

I was unable to send or receive any mail. On my MacBook the error message was: unable to verify username or password.

On both iPhones the error message was: smtp.virginmedia.com server is not responding.

I removed and re-instated the mail on all 3 devices. Same messages were received.

I set up online chat with Apple. Under their instruction I logged onto my Macbook as a new user and attempted to re-connect the mail, only to receive the same message as before. Apple confirmed there is no issue with the MacBook, and more than likely no issue with the 2 iPhones.

I set up online chat with Virgin. The first session was around 30 minutes. They finally decided to transfer me to the technical dept, and I was then promptly cut off.

I tried again, and the same thing happened again, cut off.

I managed to contact them by phone after waiting around 30 minutes again. After a few checks the guy said he would transfer me to the technical dept. The phone rang for around 5 minutes and then I was cut off yet again.

I called a second time, and managed to speak to a very helpful lady who actually went over and spoke to someone in the technical team to avoid me being disconnected again. 

After some dialogue with the technical team, the answer was there are no connection problems with Virgin, so contact Apple!!!

Out of curiosity, I fired up my previous Motorola Android smartphone which had also been successfully connected to virgin mail for around 3 years. I re-instated the mail account and guess what? Error message which stated: 525 hash 5.7.13 Authenticaion denied (VM305).

So my conclusion is that both Apple and Android cannot be wrong, so it must be Virgin?

Has anybody else had this problem, and do they know how to fix it?

Obviously Virgin either don't know or can't be bothered to sort it.

Appalling customer service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ravenstar68
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

Is this happening when connected to mobile networks or to home wifi?

Tim

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Ian28
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

Virgin Media Wi-fi
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ravenstar68
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

This is not a Virgin Media server fault.

Nor it is a fault with your Apple and Android devices either.

The 525 Authentication Denied (VM305)  Actually comes from Virgin Media's SMTP server itself.

As a slight aside, iOS does have a bug whereby when you are setting up an SMTP connection and the server rejects the username and password, iOS incorrectly reports server not responding (I've tested this personally - and also done a packet capture and witnessed the error message coming back).  It's useful to know this.

Now we need to deal with the actual cause, and it's not necessarily what you think it is.

VM305 means that the IP that is sending the traffic is blacklisted on Spamhaus' CSS (Composite Snowshoe Blacklist).  An IP address gets on that list when multiple attempt spam messages have been seen coming from that address.

I must also stress that this spam is not sent via what most people would call "normal" email programs.  So we can rule out traffic from Apple mail, iOS mail or any other email client.

If you have a Windows 10 PC then it might be possible to search for the traffic

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Email/Outgoing-Authentication-Issues-Check-Email-Logs/td-p/3237...

While it SHOULD be possible to adapt this to Apple Macs, I don't have a Mac myself so I would find it difficult to get you through the right steps.

However we have worked with other users and removed several sources of such traffic.

  • Amazon Firesticks (with unofficial software added)
  • Android Phones
  • nVidia Shield - with Mobdro installed
  • PC running Hola Free VPN (Never ever use Hola, not even if your life depended on it)

You need to do some digging into your home network I'm afraid.

Tim

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Ian28
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

Thanks Tim’ sounds like bad news. If I set up a new email address on virgin media would that help solve the problem?
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ravenstar68
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

No

You don't  appear to get it.

  1. You have something unsavoury on your home network sending out spam.
  2. To fix the problem you have to find out which device this is and remove the errant  program.
  3. Once the unwanted traffic stops your IP will drop off Spamhaus' blacklist (normally takes about 24 hours).
  4. Once you're off the blacklist you'll be able to send mail again.

Tim

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Ian28
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

Tim, fixed it. I have been using my iphone to try to re-connect to virgin via wi-fi.
Just checked my wife's iphone, mobile data was turned on.
Turned it off, now on wi-fi only.
Re-connected my MacBook, ipad and both iPhones to Virgin mail.
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ravenstar68
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

That doesn't explain why your MacBook was unable to connect if it was already on Wifi.

Unless it was tethered to your wife's mobile and ultimately using her mobile connection.

Note that the VM305 error is very specific.  It ONLY kicks in when the public IP address you are using is found on the CSS.  So either

  1. Your home IP was on Spamhaus' CSS and has now dropped off.
  2. You were connecting all your devices through a 4G connection.

Are you able to do the following

  1. From your wifi
  2. Over 4g

Go to https://whatismyipaddress.com

Copy your IPv4 address in each case.

Pop the two addresses into https://spamhaus.org/lookup/

Let us know what shows

DON'T POST YOUR VIRG|IN MEDIA IPv4 address on here in full though.

Tim

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Message 9 of 10
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

My MacBook external IP address is listed on Spamhaus - PBL and XPL.

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HowardML
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Re: Unable to connect to the Virgin email server

I'll try and keep this simple. Your home IP address is the IP address of your Hub. That is what the outside world sees when it looks for your Hub. Your MacBook does not have a public IP address. Only your Hub has that. Any device connected through the Hub will be affected by the VM policy because if it sends e-mail it will be seen to be coming from your Hub. 

Listings on Spamhaus' PBL and XBL do not cause the VM305 error and do not affect your ability to send mail. The PBL listing is entirely expected as well. It is designed to list all IP addresses like your Hub's address which has an IP address allocated to it by an ISP for the sorts of uses you put your internet connection to. 

If you see an SBL listing then that is the time to worry and worry big. The relevant part of the SBL list that causes the error is the CSS list. If your are on that then VM will not allow you to send mail from that IP address. Nothing will be allowed out from any device sending e-mail through that Hub. 

If you are using mobile data the mail doesn't go through the Hub. It goes a different route and VM applies the same checking to the IP address for the mobile data route - which is the IP address being used by your mobile data provider to connect to the internet (very roughly). 

Hope that simplified explanation helps you and others understand better what is happening. It can be difficult to grasp if you are not used to such things.  



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