Status of Fix in progress

Reader Matt wrote to me with the following: "I had to take out of my DNSbl checks due to 1+ second DNS response times and zero unique hits. Do you have any details on what's going on with them? Are they dying or dead?"

Matt, don't despair. I reached out to the publisher of the Spam Cannibal DNSBL ( and he let me know that Spam Cannibal is experiencing a system issue with their primary database mirror. A new system should go online soon and then things should be up and working again.

I'll update this page with more information as I receive it. Stay tuned.

SURBL: Adding ABUSE sublist, deprecating SC & AB

The domain blacklist SURBL announced today that it is deprecating the SC (Spamcop) and AB (AbuseButler) sublists, migrating their data into a new ABUSE sublist. They note that the WS (Bill Stearns' sa-blacklist) sublist is also going to be migrated into ABUSE in 2016.

SURBL also recently announced the addition of SURBL-specific blocking notification messages to the popular SpamAssassin spam filtering software.

Status of DEAD

The "No More Funn" blacklist (DNSBL zone was run by a gentleman from Denmark using the alias dr. Jørgen Mash. First observed in 2002, listing criteria included spam sources, IP address ranges that appeared dynamic, bulk mailers not required confirmed opt-in (double opt-in) and more. It was easy for email service providers (ESPs) to end up listed there, and ESP clients would often ask about those listings because they would show up in DNSBL lookups, though it's not clear that the blacklist was widely used for spam blocking.

At some point in 2012, the blacklist was taken offline. At the end of 2015, the website reports that the blacklist is still offline. Thus, I'm going to call this one "dead."

What is blacklist.zap?

Here's a blast from the past: Remember blacklist.zap?

There were various "blacklist.zap" blacklists and they were all indicative of blocking when sending to mailboxes hosted behind "FrontBridge" anti-spam and security protection:

  • The list 85.blacklist.zap specifically referred to FrontBridge's use of the Composite Blocking List (CBL). If you were blocked by 85.blacklist.zap, it meant that your sending IP address was listed on the CBL.
  • The list 86.blacklist.zap specifically referred to FrontBridge's use of the Spamhaus Block List (SBL). If you were blocked by 86.blacklist.zap, it meant that your sending IP address was listed on the SBL.
  • The list 87.blacklist.zap specifically referred to FrontBridge's use of the Spamhaus Exploits Block List (SBL). If you were blocked by 87.blacklist.zap, it meant that your sending IP address was listed on the XBL.
  • The list 88.blacklist.zap specifically referred to FrontBridge's own internally-generated blacklist of sending IP addresses noted to be spammy, usually based on a high percentage of mail from that IP address being denoted as spammy.

FrontBridge was later acquired by Microsoft and I think it's been a long time since anybody has seen blacklist.zap blocking in a bounce message, but I thought it would be good to keep a record of this for posterity's sake.

Status of DEAD

Uh-oh! On or about September 19th, the domain seems to have expired. Now when you visit the website, you are informed that the domain is for sale. Also, you'll now find a wildcard A record in DNS, meaning that any lookup of any host name in DNS under will result in a positive response being returned.

The net result here is that due to the domain now having a wildcard A record, any users of the Burnt Tech DNSBL now find that they are blocking all inbound mail. If you were using the blacklist to filter inbound spam, you'll need to remove it from your mail server or spam filter configuration immediately, as it is going to impede your ability to receive any mail.

Reviewing Internet Archive versions of the Burnt Tech DNSBL website, it appears that the blacklist has been in action since at least 2006. From a 2015 archived copy of the website: "The Block List runs entirely automated and designed to avoid listings of spamtrap hits due to bounces of forged spam, virus bounces, and "real" mail servers emitting the occasional spam. It tries very hard to avoid listing legitimate mail sources. It does not attempt to list every possible spam source."

No other information was available regarding ownership, listing criteria or history of this DNSBL.

(H/T: Matthew Vernhout)