On July 8, spammers compromised an email account and attempted to send out thousands of messages per hour from BlueChannel’s network. Our world-class spam protection stopped 100% of these messages from actually being delivered, thus protecting our IP reputation and maintaining deliverability of legitimate messages. But the spammer persisted, flooding one of our servers with hundreds of requests per minute. The attacks were coming from different IP addresses every few seconds, so blocking via the firewall was impossible without also blocking actual users.

After fully evaluating all options, we made a policy change to force email users to login using full email addresses. While this immediately let us know which account was compromised (it was an info@ account with a very weak password), it also prevented many of our users from receiving and sending mail until they updated their usernames to full email addresses. Due to the emergency nature of this change, advance notice was minimal and support requests were numerous. We did our best with notices on our homepage, voicemail, and taking as many calls as we could. Thank you for your patience.

In situations such as these, we post advance (when possible) and real-time updates on our Twitter feed. You can officially follow us to get push notifications of such events (most phones have native Twitter apps), or you can simply bookmark the page and check there for updates when you suspect an issue. It’s also a link at the bottom right of each page on our site. If we know about the outage, change, or event, it will be posted on Twitter. In this case, we gave notice at 2:59 am about the policy change scheduled for noon the next day.

We don’t use social media to keep you informed of what kind of sandwich we’re eating on a given day. Because Twitter is a platform built on the concept of quick, concise communication, we use it to let you know when we’re working on an issue, rebooting a server, performing upgrades, or anything that affects our service to you.

During a crisis, we might also update our phone message in the event you don’t get a live person when you call. And sometimes, we’ll post a message directly on our homepage. Should you want a text message of such updates, please contact us for details. Always feel free to also use the chat feature on our site as well, but please understand that we are typically overwhelmed with support requests during these times. Bear with us, please.

We take our hosting very seriously. But change is inevitable. Software updates are necessary, hardware gets outdated, and email accounts with weak passwords get hacked. Know that we are working around the clock in such instances, and, as ever, let me know what we can do better.