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Amazon users blocked by the SORBS blocklist

By Ken Simpson | 2 minute read

If you’re unlucky enough to be operating a mail server within’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), you’ve probably had your share of problems sending email. At various times, Trend Micro’s MAPS+ service, the Spamhaus PBL, and other block lists have listed Amazon’s entire IP space, causing delivery problems for all Amazon EC2 customers regardless of their individual IP reputation.

The latest salvo in this reputation war comes to us from SORBS (aka, “Spam and Open Relay Blocking System”). SORBS has listed the entire Amazon EC2 IP address space as a source of spam and are sending out the following message to anyone who attempts to get their EC2 IP address de-listed:

From: SORBS Support (Matti Meikäläinen) <>

You are an innocent party that has been included in an escalated listing against your service provider. Hints for who that might be can usually be found in WHOIS.

You are not required to address the issue in any way as it is overwhelmingly likely that the entry was not generated because of your actions. It is also the case that there is nothing that you, as a customer of the listed provider, can do about it. The listing will not be removed until your service provider successfully addresses it in direct contact with SORBS.

Please take this issue up with your service provider.

Note that it is possible that (and the volunteer sending you this form letter response hasn’t even checked whether) your service provider is already in communication with SORBS. If they are and the listing persists regardless, they have either not yet addressed the issue to our satisfaction or something else is holding up the matter.


SORBS volunteer

SORBS and others have perfectly understandable reasons for listing Amazon EC2’s IP space – namely, there are a lot of spammers operating within Amazon EC2 and Amazon has so far not been able to get the problem under control. Their response to abuse complaints has also been slower than what the anti-abuse community would like.

I know that Amazon has good people working on fixing this problem. The SORBS listing is a sign that they perhaps need to work a bit harder, regardless of what anyone’s opinion of SORBS might be.

Cut your support tickets and make customers happier