An attempt to send a mail bomb, apparently by an Xtra user, was at the root of trouble experienced by the Telecom ISP’s users last month in getting mail through to accounts on the Hotmail service of Telecom partner Microsoft.
The failure brought copious moans and puzzlement from Xtra users in internet newsgroups.
“Xtra email accounts were temporarily unable to mail Hotmail accounts just before Christmas,” says Xtra spokesman Matt Bostwick. “Mail to Hotmail from Xtra had to be temporarily disabled in order to prevent an attempted mail bomb originating from an Xtra customer account from adversely impacting Hotmail users.
A mail bomb is the sending of a huge amount of email to a specific person or system. It can cause servers to crash.
Bostwick says that once the issue was identified, access to Hotmail from Xtra accounts was promptly restored.
“The mail block was an unfortunate but necessary step that had to be taken while technicians worked on identifying and resolving the issue, and Xtra apologises to any customers who may have experienced delays delivering mail to Hotmail as a result,” Bostwick says in an emailed statement.
“Unfortunately, protecting networks and end users from inappropriate use of email such as that which caused the delays experienced last month is an issue that all ISPs have to deal with from time to time.”