This morning at approximately 8:00 AM PST, Vivio experienced an interruption to our domain name (all viviotech.net domains could not resolve, including domains such as ns1.viviotech.net and ns2.viviotech.net) that lasted for roughly 20 minutes. The interruption was immediately spotted by our in-house monitoring systems and our fast-acting technical support team. I am very proud of our team and how quickly they were able to identify and correct the issue.
Resell.biz is one of the companies that Vivio (used to) work with for domain registrations, and up to this morning it was where we had our own viviotech.net domain registered. The outage to our domain name service was caused by Resell.biz disabling our domain name with only a little vague communication with us regarding a spam complaint they had received – and which had already been addressed before Resell.biz injected themselves into the situation.
What’s most disappointing about this outage is the fact that the outage could have been avoided with some simple communication and reasonable business practices on behalf of Resell.biz and its parent company, UK2Group.com.
Dealing with Spam
Vivio takes great pride in being responsive to spam complains, and we do everything in our power to keep spam off our network and our IP’s clean. We are passionate about this, because we hate spam as much or more than you do. Vivio maintains partnerships with email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail, and we work diligently to respond to each spam complaint we receive.
There are several common causes that we’ve found when we receive and respond to spam complaints:
- A home or office PC has become compromised and the user’s email account is being used to send spam
- A user’s email address has a weak password and is being used to send spam
- An insecure piece of software was installed and left on the server and is being used to send spam
A single compromised client can produce thousands of spam complaints from various providers. Vivio works silently, behind the scenes, with customers and providers to resolve these issues. We offer our clients advice, secure their services when possible and necessary, and assist in cleaning clients IP addresses so they can continue to conduct business normally. We’ve been doing this for over a decade, and it’s a service we provide that our clients really appreciate: when bad things happen, we’re always here to help.
The injection of Resell.biz
Resell.biz is part of the UK2group.com, which owns and operates several hosting-related properties. Until a domain registrar manages upwards of tens of thousands of domain names, the cost for working directly with ICANN is not economically feasible, so companies like Vivio offer our clients domain name registration services using a domain service provider like Resell.biz. This was the extent of Vivio’s relationship with Resell.biz.
On December 3rd, 9AM, Vivio received the following email from Resell.biz:
Subject: [#2473327] cannot move [a domain not associated with Vivio].com
Hello Thank you for contacting resell.biz Following are the spam complaints that we have received against viviotech.net. We request you to notify the registrant regarding this issue and ask them to take necessary actions accordingly. Email Headers: [zerobin link omitted for privacy] [zerobin link omitted for privacy] Please feel free to contact us, in case of further queries. Best Regards, Jason [omitted for privacy] Resell.biz Level 1 Technician UK2 Group Ltd. http://www.uk2group.com/ Resell.biz support is available Monday-Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm MDT
One of our technicians looked into this email, and despite it’s unconventional subject line and zerobin links, found that the spam situation had already been addressed a couple days earlier (on Dec 1st), so no further action was taken. As you can see, the above email does not request a response, does not indicate that our domain name will be shut off if we do not respond, or anything of the kind. This is the full extent of communication that we received from Resell.biz.
This morning, at 8 AM, without any warnings or notifications, our domain was disabled by Resell.biz. Our support team immediately identified the problem with our domain and was immediately on the phone with Resell.biz. Their response? “Well, we emailed you a notice 24-hours ago…”.
There are several problems with that excuse:
- The email Resell.biz sent used an irrelevant subject line.
- The email Resell.biz sent was already days delinquent from the actual spamming event.
- The email Resell.biz sent used unconventional methods: zerobin links?
- The email Resell.biz sent gave no indication that a response was necessary.
- The email Resell.biz sent gave no indication of consequences for not responding.
- The email Resell.biz sent gave no indication of any sort of remediation process of any kind.
Where does Vivio go from here?
Turning Vivio’s domain services off, in light of the above issues, is pitifully poor business practice. Vivio cannot afford to continue to work with UK2Group.com under these conditions, and we caution anyone looking at using Uk2Group.com or Resell.biz services if this is the kind of service they will receive.
Effective immediately, Vivio will be removing all business ties from Resell.biz and transferring to another domain service provider. Furthermore, Vivio will begin the long process of implementing a customer-centric domain for client servers within our network. This will protect our DNS servers which reside on the Viviotech.net domain from similar difficulty in the future.
If you were affected by this morning’s outage, please accept our apologies for our part of that event. Hopefully this post explains what happened clearly and demonstrates that we’re working to ensure that the situation doesn’t happen again.