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Unsolicited Email Spam Information
Last Updated: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 > Related Articles
Learn more about how Cox manages unwanted spam and ways you can help.
No one likes receiving unsolicited email spam. The increase in spam is causing legitimate Internet users and Internet service providers, such as Cox Communications, to spend a great deal of time, money, and good will addressing the problem. In addition, several state legislatures and Congress are trying to stop spamming through legislation.
Cox does not provide its customers’ email addresses to spammers and does not permit its customers to send unsolicited mass emails. Cox’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) expressly prohibits the use of Cox High Speed Internet to generate spam. The accounts of customers who violate Cox’s anti-spam policy may be suspended or terminated.
Cox has a variety of measures in place to help protect our Cox High Speed Internet customers and our network from spam, and we continue to look for ways to improve our services through the control and elimination of spam. Learn more about controlling spam using the information below.
There are things you can do to understand the problem and help solve it. Following these tips can help reduce the amount of email spam you receive.
- If you post to newsgroups or message boards, you can change your email address by adding spaces or characters to deter spammers from harvesting it. If your email address is in your email signature, you can remove it or use the same technique.
- You can also remove your name from major online directories.
- You should never respond to an unsubscribe link in any unsolicited email. Doing so can prompt even more mail from the source.
- If you receive an unsolicited commercial email, you may report it to the sender’s ISP. To do this, you must view the spam email's complete message header to identify the source network, and then send a report to the network’s administrator.
Cox identifies addresses of known spammers to add them to our black lists. This is one step in our investigation of network-based anti-spam solutions that integrate with our email platform. It allows us to recognize and block spam from known spammers using both rules-based methods and white or black lists.
To reduce unsolicited bulk email sent on our network, Cox uses outbound SMTP traffic filtering, which is also known as port 25 filtering. Cox also filters all inbound SMTP traffic to help protect unsecured computers from being used as spam mail relays.
- Outbound SMTP traffic blocking protects Internet users and the Cox High Speed Internet network. The vast majority of customers are not affected by this security measure. However, a small number of customers using email addresses outside of the @cox.net domain and do not have their SMTP servers set for Cox mail servers need to change their settings. The requirement that Cox servers be used for all outgoing mail is so that Cox can locate and control spammers by removing them from the network.
- Outbound SMTP traffic blocking is an industry standard. Other ISPs blocking port 25 include Charter, Comcast, MSN, and Verizon. You can search the Internet for a complete list of ISPs blocking port 25.
- Since implementing port 25 blocking, Cox has seen significant reductions of residential Internet abuse reports. Reports for port scanning decreased by 36%, viruses by 41%, spam by 52%, and open proxy by more than 78%.
The filter of port 25 does not impact the vast majority of Cox customers, only a small percentage of customers who use third party mail servers. Any software configured to use an SMTP server other than smtp.cox.net to deliver email directly to a recipient's server will not work. An indication of this problem may be a message similar to this in the customer’s mail client.
"A time-out occurred while communicating with the server. Account: ‘otheraccount.othersisp.com’, Server: ‘othersmtp.com’, Protocol: SMTP, Port 25, Secure (SSL): No, error Number: 0x800CCC19."
Customers using third party email services must configure their email clients to use smtp.cox.net to send outbound email. Remember that operating an email or other server on a residential Cox High Speed Internet connection is a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy.
The CAN-Spam Act, was effective beginning on January 1, 2004. It preempts all state spam statutes and places a series of requirements on commercial email, “the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” This act requires companies that send or initiate commercial email to do the following.
- Refrain from using a misleading subject heading
- Provide in each message a valid return email or Internet-based reply address
- Provide in each message a physical postal address in the text
- Provide a conspicuous notice that it is an advertisement or solicitation
- Include a notice explaining how recipients can prevent the transmission of future messages by using the sender’s return email address or Internet-based reply address and honoring such requests within 10 days
- Refrain from selling or exchanging the email address of any recipient who has made an opt-out request
Businesses are permitted to send “transactional or relationship messages to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into.” This is intended to be a very narrow exception and would include warranty, recall, safety, or security information regarding a product previously purchased, periodic account statements and the like. “Transactional or relationship” messages may also contain content promoting a product or service unrelated to a previous transaction if ancillary to the primary purpose of the communication.
A safe harbor exists for companies that have reasonable compliance practices and make good faith compliance efforts. The Act also requires the FTC to study the creation of a nationwide Do Not Email registry similar to its Do Not Call list.