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DNS/PTR Mismatch and SPF record

Posted on 2012-03-21
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Last Modified: 2012-04-05
I am having issues emailing some customers.  The error I receive is the following:

You do not have permission to send to this recipient.  For assistance, contact your system administrator.
            <hercules.domain.local #5.7.1 smtp;554 5.7.1 Sender DNS/PTR Mismatch: IP Address for PTR Hostname does not match sending IP:[75.x.x.x] - Possible Forgery>

I did not configure our DNS records originally and I believe certain records such as SPF and PTR are not configured correctly.

Our mx record points to MXlogic.  So any incoming email goes to MXlogic/McAfee to be scanned.  Our exchange server is mail.mydomain.com and points to 75.x.x.30.  Our Exchange server is behind our firewall which has an ip of 75.x.x.20 so this is the IP other SMTP servers will see our emails coming from.  

This is where I am confused.  If I do an nslookup for 75.x.x.20 I get host162.mydomain.com and I don't even know where the name came from.  If I do an nslookup for host162.mydomain.com I get the ip of my www record which does not match my firewall ip 75.x.x.20.  I don't have the host162.mydomain.com on Network solutions so I am assuming this is a record at the ISP.  I am wondering if the mismatch is because the IP where my emails are coming from resolves to a record which its IP does not match the sender IP in this case 75.x.x.20.

What is my outgoing IP (75.x.x.20) supposed to resolve to? mail.mydomain.com?
mail.mydomain.com is currently pointing to 75.x.x.30 and the record is used by MXlogic to forward our incoming emails.
.
The other thing that happens is if I do a test connectivity using textexchangeconnectivity.com and use the outbound emial test, the result comes back with everything ok except for the SPF record that it is not found.  The test asks me for the outgoing ip so I use 75.x.x.20.
If I do a SPF test using mxtoolbox and use mydomain.com it doesn't find anything, but if I use mail.mydomain.com it finds the following:


Type      Domain Name      TTL      Record
TXT      mail.mydomain.com      2 hrs      v=spf1 mx ip4:75.x.x.20 ~all
TXT      mail.mydomain.com      60 min      v=spf1 ptr include:mxlogic.net ~all

Record: v=spf1 mx ip4:75.x.x.20 ~all
Prefix      Type      Value      Prefix Desc      Description
+      mx            Pass      Match if IP is one of the MX hosts for given domain name
+      ip4      75.x.x.20      Pass      Match if IP is in the given range
~      all            SoftFail      Always matches. It goes at the end of your record.
reverse lookup      smtp diag      blacklist      port scan
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Question by:cartereverett
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Papertrip earned 500 total points
ID: 37750064
Alright this isn't as bad as it seems and should be easy to fix.

First off your sending IP of 75.x.x.20 needs to have a PTR record and matching A record.  If you already have mail.mydomain.com at 75.x.x.30 and is for incoming only, then create a new hostname for your outgoing server / 75.x.x.20.  The name doesn't matter just make sure the records match and that if possible change the SMTP banner / HELO to match as well.  At work for my sending servers we use mx.domain.com, just an example.

Now the SPF record you pasted is only for mails that have an envelope-from of @mail.mydomain.com.  Aside from that it appears you have 2 SPF records, you should only have per sending domain.

If 75.x.x.20 is your only sending IP for mydomain.com, then

"v=spf1 ip4:75.x.x.20 -all"

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Having the mx mechanism in there allows your incoming mail servers to send mail from your domain as well, so that is unnecessary unless MXlogic is also sending for you.  Same thing goes for the entire 2nd SPF record.
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Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 37750083
Oh and you need to contact your ISP to get the PTR record for 75.x.x.20 changed.

Typo in first comment:
Aside from that it appears you have 2 SPF records, you should only have one per sending domain.
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Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 37750210
Out of curiosity, is your outgoing mail going to MXLogic as well, or is it going to mail servers directly from your Exchange server?
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Author Comment

by:cartereverett
ID: 37750216
It used to go to MXLogic because we wanted to archive our emails with them, but we canceled the archiving options and we are only using incoming spam/anti-malware filtering.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 37750241
If you're not sending from MXLogic, you can remove the second SPF Record from your DNS:
TXT      mail.mydomain.com      60 min      v=spf1 ptr include:mxlogic.net ~all

This might be throwing things off. Also, contact your ISP to make sure you have a PTR record for your Domain Name as has been mentioned. Also, the SPF record needs to match what is after the @ in your email addresses. So the SPF record should be set on domain.com if your email address is user@domain.com
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Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 37750268
To clarify there shouldn't even be a 2nd SPF record, it is clearly against the SPF RFC.

Also to clarify SPF checks against the envelope-from, not the body-from (and are able to check against HELO per RFC).
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Author Comment

by:cartereverett
ID: 37750280
Got it PaperTrip.  I did my changes and removed the second SPF.

I have one more question.  I sent a test to Gmail and my changes are showing up now.  I can see the received-from as mx.mydomain.com.  However, the Message-ID shows <65D9A9F334ED8A48B9E6108528349EC70FCAA1F8@servername.mydomain.local>.  How can this be changed?

I am running Exc 2003.
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Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 37750290
That sounds like it might be the SMTP banner name or HELO name.  I'm not an Exchange guy so not sure of the exact setting.

BTW in the 1st SPF record there is the mx mechanism which says that MXlogic is also able to send from your domain, fyi.
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Author Comment

by:cartereverett
ID: 37750317
I removed the MXLogic SPF and left "v=spf1 ip4:75.x.x.20 -all".  Like I explained before, they were technically sending email for us before because all outgoing emails were going to them to get archived and they would them to the final destination.
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Expert Comment

by:footech
ID: 37750943
The Message-ID contains the internal name of your server and is not tied to your SMTP banner.  There is no way to change it, and really it's not important if someone sees the internal name of your Exchange, so don't worry about it.
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