Menu
Reply
Nige121
  • 7
  • 0
  • 0
Joining in
704 Views
Message 1 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

Hi, 

I'm having issues currently sending any of my VM emails on either my IPAD or Windows laptop. My wife is having the same issue. This must be the 3rd or 4th time this has happened and then suddenly clears after a number of days.  Seems others on the forum are having similar issues. Everytime I try and send an email my windows laptop prompts me for the user name and password of the VM server (smtp.virginmedia.com), which is correct as I receive emails without any problems. However I changed my VM account password just to try it and see if it made any difference but it didn't even though I continue to receive email with the new password, proving there is no problem with the username or password. 

I switched on my email logging and can see that the access is being denied by the VM server . The only way I can send any emails is to select another one of my (non VM) email address as the sent from email address i.e gmail account. 

Nige121_1-1606173317879.png

Whats happening VM ? - as indicated above this is happening now on a regular basis and not seeing the issue on my other non VM accounts - suggesting the issue is with your servers ?? Its becoming very frustrating and getting to the point that I may as well ditch my VM email account as its just becoming too unreliable. 

0 Kudos
Reply
jem101
  • 2.36K
  • 277
  • 1.08K
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person
697 Views
Message 2 of 7
Flag for a moderator
Helpful Answer

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

No the issue is not with VM's servers at all but rather with your own equipment as something on your home network is infected with malware which is sending out spam email. As such VM will have blocked your IP address from sending email until such time as you find and eliminate it.

As you mention, this is not an uncommon subject for messages here and if you look through some of the threads regarding this, you'll find the information you need to find the offending device. Once done and your address is delisted (takes about a day or so) you'll find e-mail will send again.

0 Kudos
Reply
Nige121
  • 7
  • 0
  • 0
Joining in
638 Views
Message 3 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

Thanks for the info although I'm not convinced.

1) Problem is affecting both my windows laptop and IPAD currently but I can send VM emails from the same email account on my Android phone - if its a spam issue with my email account how come the latter is not also being blocked. My wife is also getting the same problem on her email account, so sounds too co-incidental to have both accounts infected.
2) If this was a common issue how come VM are not publishing details on their help pages to easily resolve the problem.
3) In the past the problem has just cleared up on its own and until I received your feedback I've never heard of the issue so have taken no previous steps to resolve any Malware infections and can recall no previous incidents of virus affections so why did the problem resolve itself without any intervention by myself.
4) I run Malwarebytes on a regular basis and have not had any instances of infections being reported. I ran it again after your feedback and can confirm no infections identified.

I'll be interested to see how many others are also experiencing the same problem as its another day without being able to send emails from two of my devices and my wife's email account as well.

0 Kudos
Reply
jem101
  • 2.36K
  • 277
  • 1.08K
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person
618 Views
Message 4 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.


@Nige121 wrote:
Thanks for the info although I'm not convinced.

1) Problem is affecting both my windows laptop and IPAD currently but I can send VM emails from the same email account on my Android phone - if its a spam issue with my email account how come the latter is not also being blocked. My wife is also getting the same problem on her email account, so sounds too co-incidental to have both accounts infected.
2) If this was a common issue how come VM are not publishing details on their help pages to easily resolve the problem.
3) In the past the problem has just cleared up on its own and until I received your feedback I've never heard of the issue so have taken no previous steps to resolve any Malware infections and can recall no previous incidents of virus affections so why did the problem resolve itself without any intervention by myself.
4) I run Malwarebytes on a regular basis and have not had any instances of infections being reported. I ran it again after your feedback and can confirm no infections identified.

I'll be interested to see how many others are also experiencing the same problem as its another day without being able to send emails from two of my devices and my wife's email account as well.


I'm sorry that you are not convinced but unfortunately I am right - you did the right thing in finding the error code but VM305 has one and only one cause, that is your connection is being actively blocked from sending because your home IP address in listed on Spamhaus's SBL list.

1) The Android phone is bit of a mystery, unless it has connected via 4G or over a VPN in which case it is effectively on a different network. Regarding your wife's account, yes that's exactly what I expect to see, it's nothing at all to do with the account itself but the connection to the internet, her account uses the same connection as yours.

2) No idea, incompetence maybe or probably left hand not knowing what right hand is doing!

3) If the device on your network which is sending spam, is turned off or, often they are designed to go quiet and lay low for a while to avoid detection, then after about a day Spamhaus will delist your address and as if by magic you can send email again - well until the Spambot 'wakes up' and the whole saga repeats.

4) Forget about Malwarebytes, (which is, incidentally a very good product), the device sending out the spam probably isn't a PC, it's more likely to be something like an Amazon Firestick with third party software of dubious origins offering loads of 'free' channels. Think about all of the devices you have connected to your home network - it could be any of them!

0 Kudos
Reply
ravenstar68
  • 19.54K
  • 1.15K
  • 8.55K
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person
595 Views
Message 5 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

@Nige121 

You're thinking a little too narrowly:

  1. This is not an account based problem this is an IP based problem.  Thus it will affect anyone trying to authenticate with VM's SMTP servers from the same IP
  2. As @jem101 says - VM305 is very specific.  It means that the IP address that is connected to VM's email server is listed on Spamhaus' CSS (composite snowshoe) blacklist.  FWIW I'm opposed to the use of this blacklist on email submission.  Blacklists are meant to protect inbound rather than outbound SMTP servers.  That said, being on the CSS should be a wake up call to anyone.

How did I get on the CSS?

This is a big question that you should be asking so lets try and answer this for you.

  1. The CSS lists PUBLIC IP addresses that have been seen sending spam DIRECTLY to inbound mail servers on port 25.  Specifically honeypot servers set up deliberately to try and identify spammers.  Normal email programs such as Outlook NEVER use these servers, and normal users aren't aware of the email addresses that will reach these servers, they're seeded in such a way that spambots can sniff them out but normal users wouldn't come across them.
  2. A single detection does not cause you to be listed.  Your PUBLIC IP address would have had to be seen several times before being added to the CSS.  This means that the chance of you being added to the CSS in error is extremely unlikely, if not impossible.
  3. All connections from your home network are seen as coming from your PUBLIC IP address.  Thus it doesn't matter whether it's your iPad, your computer or your android phone.    This is one of the major downsides of NAT (Network Address Translation).
  4. I've personally worked with a number of users who have ended up on the CSS, and for a while I was stumped, mostly as because of the way NAT works, it's bot possible for VM to trace traffic back to the individual private IP address on your network.

    I wanted to come up with a way to allow users to check all devices on their network for the cause of the spam.  I came up with the method here
    https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Security-matters/Searching-for-Spambots-on-your-network/td-p/40...
  5. Using this approach we've found a number of causes:
    1.  PC's running Hola Free VPN (The free version is a VPN in name only and is actually a peer to peer network - AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE)
    2. Firesticks with add-ons from untrusted sources, particularly those designed to appeal to the unwary (free Netflix etc)
    3. Kodi Sticks and boxes with similar add ons.
    4, Possible a Smart TV as well

    The list is not exhaustive.
  6. Malwarebytes (while an excellent program) will only:
    a) Pick up malware on the device it's installed on>
    b) Will err on the side of caution with some programs (PUPs pontentially unwanted programs) and while my warn you about them, will still allow them to operate.  This is in line with most AntiVirus/AntiMalware products.
    c) Won't pick up everything, although it does pick up a lot.

The Android is a bit of a mystery, but it's not impossible to explain away.  There are two main possibilities:

  1. That it's not connected to the home wifi when sending.
  2. That the account is set up with outdated settings that don't include authentication.

In the latter case, the Android would be able to send from the home wifi, but not when out and about on a non VM internet connection.

I do urge you to check your network out.

Tim

I'm a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share knowledge, I don't work for Virgin Media. Learn more

Have I helped? Click Mark as Helpful Answer or use Kudos to say thanks

0 Kudos
Reply
Nige121
  • 7
  • 0
  • 0
Joining in
561 Views
Message 6 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

Many thanks Tim for the very informative feedback - very interesting and enlightening. 

I shall spend some time and review your other VM post and check out my network. That said, I've literally accessed my Outlook email account on my laptop tonight to review your feedback more closely and as I saw on previous occasions the problem has now self rectified itself without any intervention by myself. I've also checked my IPAD and this has rectified as well and the emails in the outbox have now been sent.

Is this because the blacklists are periodically cleared out and reset as presumably I must still be sending out spam or could the virus be "going to sleep" for periods and thereby I've disappeared off the blacklists ??

I did actually read some of the other forum feedback last week when the problem was occurring and came across the Spamhaus details. At the time intrigued to see whether my laptap was on their blacklist I did find out my IP using IPCONFIG (assuming this is the correct method) and it came back that it wasn't on any blacklist so never gave it further thought and presumably now that the problem has self corrected itself I'm unlikely to find it listed doing any further detailed checks. 

As for the Android device - its definitely connected to the WIFI - we've been self isolating for the past two weeks after returning from Spain so hadn't left the house during that period, which coincided with this problem so unless the device is just sending its emails over my mobile connection I'm stumped. As for the settings I'll check these but the VM account is using the IMAP set up on my phone, so from memory was almost an automated set up, again presumably using info supplied by VM or from look up lists etc , so didn't require me to add any specific port settings etc. 

I have to say I am intrigued and interested to get to the bottom of this issue to prevent any further issues, but unless there is a specific reason why it has suddenly resolved itself, I'm still left slightly confused as there doesn't appear to be any logic as I would have assumed my network remains infected until I can remove the virus's etc. 

Nigel 

 

0 Kudos
Reply
ravenstar68
  • 19.54K
  • 1.15K
  • 8.55K
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person
526 Views
Message 7 of 7
Flag for a moderator

Re: Unable to send VM emails on either my Ipad or Windows PC - same for the wife as well.

The CSS is a real time blacklist.  If no traffic is seen from an IP then the IP address is automatically removed after about 24-48 hours.  When it drops off then you get no more VM305 errors and can send.  If the spam traffic starts up again, then you go back on the CSS and the VM305 errors start again.  Thus it can look like an intermittent server fault to the unwary.

Tim

I'm a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share knowledge, I don't work for Virgin Media. Learn more

Have I helped? Click Mark as Helpful Answer or use Kudos to say thanks

0 Kudos
Reply