Email Authentication - Jaguarpc
Apr 08, 2008

Email Authentication

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I just thought I’d share this little tidbit of fun I just had with my cable internet provider. Here’s a bit of the back story: Last night my husband logged into his laptop and it came up with a big yellow/blue screen saying he had spyware. There was no link, just big giant letters saying he was infected with spyware. There was no way out of it. He tried everything and finally gave up, formatted it, and re-installed Windows. Our kids were the last to use that computer so it’s safe to assume they are the culprits. Today I had trouble using my cable provider’s SMTP services. This isn’t uncommon. They sometimes limit the number of connections so I didn’t think twice. An hour later it was still an issue. Then I noticed I had received an email from them stating they had to take action because our IP was used to send spam. Hm.. Laptop had a virus last night and today we’re told our IP was used to send spam. Coincidence? I think not. Here’s the conversation I then had with my cable provider via phone: cable guy: we can fix this, you just need to change your port. Open up Outlook and… me: I don’t use Outlook, I use Thunderbird. cable guy: oh well I am not familiar with Thunderbird, Hm, let me find my notes. me: I am familiar with it, Just tell me the port please. cable guy: 587. me: OK port changed to 587, anything else? cable guy: Yeah you need to authenticate with the server. If you let me find my notes on Thunderbird I’ll tell you how to do that. me: I just need to check incoming mail first and that will authenticate. cable guy: Um, no I don’t think that works. Hold on while I find my notes on Thunderbird. me: I’m quite familiar with Thunderbird so don’t worry there. But I’ll just check incoming (I check incoming.) me: Yep, that worked. I can send email again. Thanks. cable guy: Wait, you can do that? Just check incoming first to authenticate? me: … (Sidenote: If I had known that all I needed to do was switch ports I wouldn’t have needed to even call them.) I was really surprised the cable guy didn’t know that checking incoming email will authenticate you with the server so you can then send email. It should be his job to know this. It’s not quite as obvious to the end user (and in fact our own customers here at JaguarPC may not know this), so he should have been telling ME that. Not me telling him. But there you have it folks. If you check incoming email before sending, you will be authenticated! 🙂
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