You are probably visiting this page because a message was blocked by an instance of the Halon MTA with an SPF error along the lines of
18.104.22.168 does not pass SPF checks for example.com
The message was blocked because of a misconfiguration in the sender's e-mail system. The example error above could be explained as; the sending server 22.214.171.124 was not allowed to send e-mail as @example.com according to example.com's SPF settings.
How you should deal with this depends on who you are;
- If you are the sender of the original e-mail (example.com in the example above) you should contact your administrator (organization's IT department), because it's most likely your fault
- If you were the intended recipient of the original e-mail or a user of the anti-spam system that blocked it, you don't need to do anything at all; it's most likely not your fault
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email validation system designed to prevent email spam by detecting email spoofing, a common vulnerability, by verifying sender IP addresses.
In other words, the sender (example.com in the example above) specifies in his domain's DNS server which IP addresses that the company uses for sending e-mail. If someone tries to send (spoof) an e-mail from an IP address not listed in the DNS (126.96.36.199 in the example above) the message should be rejected.
As a consequence, the owner of an anti-spam system that receives an e-mail that violates SPF shouldn't do anything to resolve this; it's the sender's responsibility.
The SPF record for a domain can be viewed by looking at its text (TXT) records, for example by running
host -t txt example.com
in Unix-like operating systems such as Mac OS X, or in Microsoft Windows.
nslookup set type=txt example.com
The SPF looks good, but messages are still rejected
There are a few common mistakes in the anti-spam system configuration that could cause SPF errors, even if the sender is not to blame.
The most common reason is message relaying, or forwarding. If you notice SPF errors with internal IP addresses, or servers that you are the operator of, you should probably add those to the SPF module's "trusted forwarder" list.
Faulty DNS servers
If the anti-spam system uses a DNS server that responds with faulty or truncated responses, messages could be erroneously blocked. One easy way to detect truncated responses it to make a DNS lookup of a domain that has many IP addresses, such as google.com, and see how many that are returned. Some Windows DNS servers are frequently configured to return at most something like four DNS records. In other words; if google.com only returns four IP addresses, your DNS if faulty. If so, change DNS server or fix it.