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Comcast is a Virus
12/9/2005 4:28:00 PM
By Simbey

Simbey:
Sometimes when sending through smtp.comcast.net to recipients at Hotmail, Comcast returns a "550 permit denied" response to the RCPT command. Can you tell me what, precisely, "permit denied" under that context means?
Fionn (Comcast):
Dear Simbey,

We apologize for the inconvenience.

I understand you are experiencing difficulties with your Comcast Service. I will be more than happy to assist you with this matter. However, I need a more detailed description of the issue you are facing to do so.

Please respond to this e-mail and provide a detailed description of what is happening. Please review the questions below, and provide as much information as possible so I will be better able assist you:

1.   What were you attempting to do when you received the error?
2.   If there is an error message, what is it? We don't always need every word; however being specific helps us tremendously.
3.   What program and version are you using? Internet Explorer? Outlook Express? What Operating System? Windows 98? XP? Macintosh?
4.   Has this issue happened before? Are other programs affected? Are all web pages affected or just some of them?
5.   Did you recently install any new programs, or plug-ins? Have you recently changed your hardware, or software preferences? Even a seemingly minor change on your computer, or with some of your software could directly affect your ability to get online or access your e-mail.

Thank you for your patience. I know your time is important. If you would prefer to address this issue in a real-time format you can chat with one of our Online Customer Support Specialists 24 hour a day, 7 days a week at

http://www.comcastsupport.com/sdcuser/asp/default.asp

Thank you for choosing Comcast.

Sincerely,

Fionn
Comcast Customer Care Specialist
Simbey:
> 1.   What were you attempting to do when you received the error?
Connection to smtp.comcast.net on port 25, sending the following:

HELO mail.simbey.com
MAIL FROM:<danielle@simbey.com>
RCPT TO:<blondie_angel_86@hotmail.com>

Comcast then replied with "550 permit denied"   The problem occurred several times on December 1st before Comcast finally accepted the recipient.

> 2.   If there is an error message, what is it? We don't always need every
> word; however being specific helps us tremendously.
550 permit denied

> 3.   What program and version are you using? Internet Explorer?
> Outlook Express? What Operating System? Windows 98? XP? Macintosh?
Comcast's server is running Maillennium ESMTP/MULTIBOX rwcrmhc11 #17. Comcast's server is generating the error message. The error is not always repeatable; that's why I'm interested to know what exactly it means.

> 4.   Has this issue happened before? Are other programs affected?
> Are all web pages affected or just some of them?
It has happened on other occaisions.

> 5.   Did you recently install any new programs, or plug-ins? Have
> you recently changed your hardware, or software preferences? Even a
> seemingly minor change on your computer, or with some of your software
> could directly affect your ability to get online or access your e-mail.
N/A
Krystle (Comcast):
Dear Simbey,

I understand you are unable to send e-mail using your Comcast account. The error you are receiving indicates it is possible that your computer is infected with a virus.

Comcast security has noticed an increase in exploits by spammers attempting to take control of customers' computers. If successful, the spammer remotely uses the infected host computer to deliver spam without the knowledge of the computer owner. The intent of this attack is to disguise the real identity of the spammer.

To protect our customers and our network, Comcast will temporarily suspend the e-mail account of infected customers for a 48-hour period. This will allow you to have the time to repair the infected computer.

To ensure your computer is free from viruses and attacks, please visit http://www.comcast.net/security/mcafee/ to download and install the VirusScan and Firewall programs offered to Comcast customers by McAfee.

After you have installed the necessary software to protect your computer, you will also need to visit http://www.microsoft.com/security/ to make sure you have the latest patches and updates from Microsoft.

During this 48-hour period you will be unable to send e-mail using programs such as Outlook Express, you can still use Comcast Webmail to send messages. To access Comcast Webmail, click the Mail button from the Comcast.net start page located at http://www.comcast.net.

Once you have cleaned your computer to make sure that it is secure and virus-free, you can send an e-mail to secure-port25@comcast.net. Be sure to include your complete account number. Access to send e-mail from you client will be granted once the mail has been reviewed.

Thank you for choosing Comcast High-Speed Internet. For answers to frequently asked questions and updates on new features, please visit www.comcast.net and select Help.

Remember that Comcast will never ask for your password or billing information via e-mail.

Thank you for choosing Comcast.

Sincerely,

Krystle
Comcast Customer Care Specialist
Simbey:
> I understand you are unable to send e-mail using your Comcast account.
You understand incorrectly. "550 permit denied" is an error message I have received only sometimes when sending to Hotmail recipients. I may have received the error when sending to other recipients a while back, but the Hotmail recipient is the most recent example. After retrying a few times, Comcast did accept the E-Mail. That's why I'm curious as to what the error message means.

> The error you are receiving indicates it is possible that your computer is
> infected with a virus.
No. You are incorrect again.

> If successful, the spammer remotely uses the infected host computer to
> deliver spam without the knowledge of the computer owner. The intent
> of this attack is to disguise the real identity of the spammer.
If this were the case, I wouldn't have seen the error message, now would I?

Okay, since you obviously didn't bother researching my question, which, given Comcast's track record with customer support, does not surprise me, I am going to ask you to visit this link:
http://text.dslreports.com/forum/remark,14924715

I just want to know what "permit denied" means. Is Comcast's server simply passing the error from a concurrent connection to Hotmail back to me? Or is the error actually from Comcast's server because of some specific reason? And if so, what is that specific reason? After all, retrying later succeeds.

If you do not know the exact meaning and/or origin of the error message, please tell me so. But please do not test my intelligence with unrelated canned responses.
Migdanah (Comcast):
Dear Simbey,

I understand you are getting e-mail you send to MSN or Hotmail.com email accounts returned as error "550 permit denied". This is caused by a problem on Microsoft's end caused by a virus. Microsoft is actively working to correct the issue. No ETC was supplied. We will continue to monitor the situation. and updates will be posted when available.

Thank you for your message.

If you need further assistance, please feel free to respond directly to this email. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

Thank you for choosing Comcast.

Sincerely,

Migdanah
Comcast Customer Care Specialist
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