Mastering the Abuse Process

It's 3 am. Your phone goes off. An urgent e-mail from abuse@singlehop.com is claiming that your server is sending large amounts of spam. How did this happen? How do you handle it? What can you do to prevent it? Here is what you can do to ensure that your server stays clean and problem free.

Our abuse team operates an inbox (abuse@singlehop.com) that anyone can submit information to if they believe that a server or host on our network is misbehaving. These emails can include complaints such as spam and illegal content. Here is a short breakdown of the most common complaints we receive:

  • Spam - This is our top listing type. The complaining party will usually send mail headers that show the message originated in the server in dispute. The header information contains a lot of useful information that can help you determine how the mail was originally generated on the server
  • Malicious Activity - This can be somewhat nebulous, but this usually covers any outbound attacks made by a server to a remote host. The complaining party will usually include server logs that show unauthorized contact from the server in dispute. This is somewhat more difficult to track than spam, so more intense analysis may be required
  • DMCA requests - These are requests made by copyright holders as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. They typically claim that they have information that proves that copyright content exists on a disputed server without the permission of the copyright holder. When disputed, the complainant can argue that the content in question is not copyrighted, or that the complaining party does not have the authority to assert copyright.
  • Illegal Content - This covers all content that is illegal in the jurisdictions that SingleHop operates in. Note that we will report any confirmed illegal activity reported to us by the authorities, and that we are required to comply with any valid subpoenas filed by a law enforcement agency in our jurisdiction

When our abuse staff receives the e-mail, it is routed based on the listed IP Address to the customer that currently holds it. The key to handling this process is to stay calm and work on the complaint until it is resolved. The worst thing that can happen is that the complaint remains ignored. At SingleHop we value our reputation. We also value you yours. Abusive activity can be troublesome for everyone, more-so if nothing is done about it.

An inability to resolve a complaint in a timely manner can result in server suspension or worse. While working on an abuse complaint, send us regular updates (at most every 24 hours) so our abuse team stays updated on the situation.

A major problem when dealing with abuse email is not being able to receive the notices. Notices are automatically sent to the main e-mail address on file in your LEAP account, so take care and make sure that you choose an address that is checked regularly. Oftentimes, email submitted to our abuse inbox will contain an example of the abusive activity inside it. We highly recommend that you whitelist abuse@singlehop.com in your mail settings to ensure delivery.

Due to the high amount of complaints we receive, our support staff can not automatically handle abuse complaints, even if you have purchased management services for the affected server. If you receive an abuse complaint and require assistance resolving it, submit a new support ticket through LEAP. One of our support technicians can assist you using your management services to determine the source of spam and prevent it.

Dealing with abuse issues can often be messy, troublesome, and even sometimes downright scary. With this information, I hope it can be used to ensure that abuse issues are handled in a straightforward manner.

  
Read the rest of the Mastering the Abuse Process Series