returned email over 2 months late, running exchange and symantec smtp gateway 4 where was the problem?

Few days ago our email system was flooded with several thousand emails in a matter of minutes. All were bounce backs of legitmates emails sent out several months ago.

I am running Symantec smtp gateway 4 for AV filtering and exchange 2003.

Question iwhere were the bounce backs all this time, why did i get them now and not when i was supposed to. I know the emails came from the gateway but i'm not sure how to tell if they were generated at the original time and never delivered, generated a few days ago when it happened (if so, why did it take 2 months for it to generate a ndr) or could there be other reasons altogether.

I went into the gateway logs for one of the bounce backs. When i sent it originally the log states that Action:message delivery attemp failed , Last response: could not connect to server. Then i received a ndr a few days ago after sending it out 2 months ago.

Also, not sure if its relevant but i am running BGP and i had a failure of my primary ISP an hour before all this happened. The session wasn't shutdown properly and we never kicked over to our secondary isp. Our primary came back up within 2 minutes.

Big question, are are my bounce backs so late.
CyclonusAsked:
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livegirlloveConnect With a Mentor Commented:
you may want to look at
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/896965.html

and

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;934709

says exchange 2003 borks on greylisted addresses from time to time.  That hotfix doesnt look like exactly the issue though..
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HighspadeCommented:
what is your smtp virtual servers email expiration timeout setting? you can find the information on the delivery tab.
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CyclonusAuthor Commented:
Expiration timeout setting is 2 days. Just to clarify, the NDR's are for old messages but the NDR's themselves appear to have been generated at the time we received them.
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HighspadeCommented:
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CyclonusAuthor Commented:
Highspade,

I having been reading about the greylisting issue as well. Just earlier find a pretty large thread including some work arounds. My problem is how to confirm it is in fact a greylisting issue. I will contact a few of the companys i had ndrs for and try to find out if they use grey listing. Only reason i beilieve it isn't grey listing is one of the ndrs was from an email sent to a yahoo account. According to yahoo they don't use grey listing. Also for the ndr's to suddenly start going nuts, it requires a restart of the server, smtp service or mail storage group. I can't seem to find any indication of either of those being restarted. Event logs dont show anything right before it happened.  So i'm still looking.
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livegirlloveCommented:
Hmm.  I just had the same thing happen at a client site.  recived 3 NDRs all generated at close tothe same time for emails sent and accorfing to message tracking rejected up to 2 monthes ago.  I dont use any of the products above.  Exchange 2003 fully patched.  2 day exiration on delivery attempts.
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livegirlloveCommented:
thanks but I think Highspade had the answer first...
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