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Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities

Richard M. Smith

I have discovered that VeriSign's SiteFinder service breaks Microsoft's Outlook and Microsoft's Outlook Express email readers as well as many of the standard Windows Networking Utilities by providing misleading error messages, temporary lockups, and incorrect status information.

Breaking MS Outlook

If a user misspells a domain name in their POP3 or SMTP server name, Outlook no longer provides meaningful error messages to a user to help them understand and fix the problem.

Here is the standard message from Outlook for a misspelled domain name in a POP3 or SMTP server name:

Task 'pop.rcn.com - Sending and Receiving' reported error (0x800CCC0D) : 'Unable to find the e-mail server. Please verify the server information in your account properties.'

With SiteFinder turned on, here's what happens:

[POP]
Task 'pop.rcn.com - Sending and Receiving' reported error (0x80042108) : 'Outlook is unable to connect to your incoming (POP3) e-mail server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).'

[SMTP]
Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients. The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

'rms@computerbytesman.com' on 9/20/2003 3:04 PM 550 : Client host rejected: The domain you are trying to send mail to does not exist.

The error message for the SMTP domain misspelling is the worse of the two, because the error message states that the domain name in the email address is bad and not the domain name of the SMTP email server.

Breaking Outlook Express

If a user misspells a domain name in their POP3 or SMTP server name, Outlook Express no longer provides meaningful error messages to a user to help them to fix the problem.

Similar problems may exist in other email readers and other Internet-enabled software. This Outlook Express problem raises questions about what kind of testing VeriSign did to understand the collateral damage to application software from the SiteFinder service before the service was turned on. Clearly Web browsers aren't the only software in the world that do DNS lookups.

Here are the expected error messages in Outlook Express for a misspelled domain name:

The host 'smtp.rcntypodomain.us' could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly. Account: 'pop.rcn.com', Server: 'smtp.rcntypodomain.us', Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D The host 'pop.rcntypodomain.us' could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly. Account: 'pop.rcn.com', Server: 'pop.rcntypodomain.us', Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D

With SiteFinder, here are the error messages that are now produced:

The message could not be sent because one of the recipients was rejected by the server. The rejected e-mail address was 'rms@computerbytesman.com'. Subject 'Testing 1 2 3', Account: 'pop.rcn.com', Server: 'smtp.rcntypodomain.com', Protocol: SMTP, Server Response: '550 : Client host rejected: The domain you are trying to send mail to does not exist.', Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 550, Error Number: 0x800CCC79

The connection to the server has failed. Account: 'pop.rcn.com', Server: 'pop.rcntypodomain.com', Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10061, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

Breaking Windows Networking Utilities

VeriSign's SiteFinder service also breaks many of the standard Windows networking utilities by providing misleading error messages, temporary lockups, and incorrect status information.

For example, referencing a UNC path with a misspelled domain name with SiteFinder in the picture gives an incorrect error message and hangs a command prompt window for about 30 seconds:

C:worksitefinder>dir \sdkfasdlfkasdlfkasdk.comdrivec
Access is denied.

The correct error message is displayed instantly if SiteFinder is out of the picture:

C:worksitefinder>dir \sdkfasdlfkasdlfkasdk.usdrivec
The network path was not found.

The correct error message for a misspelled domain name in the Windows FTP utility is:

C:worksitefinder>ftp ftp.asdklsdfjaskdfjasdfjasdjfasdfj.us
Unknown host ftp.asdklsdfjaskdfjasdfjasdjfasdfj.us.

With SiteFinder, the FTP utility now provides a useless error message:

C:worksitefinder>ftp ftp.asdklsdfjaskdfjasdfjasdjfasdfj.com
> ftp: connect :Unknown error number

The PING utility gives incorrect results for misspelled domain names:

[Incorrect]
C:worksitefinder>ping www.sdfjasdfjaskldfjasdfjas.com

Pinging www.sdfjasdfjaskldfjasdfjas.com [64.94.110.11] with 32 bytes of data:
Ping statistics for 64.94.110.11:
Packets: Sent = 1, Received = 0, Lost = 1 (100% loss),

[Correct]
C:worksitefinder>ping www.sdfjasdfjaskldfjasdfjas.us
Ping request could not find host www.sdfjasdfjaskldfjasdfjas.us.
Please check the name and try again.

Ditto for tracert:

[Incorrect]
C:worksitefinder>tracert www.asdfjasdkfjasfjasdj.com

Tracing route to www.asdfjasdkfjasfjasdj.com [64.94.110.11] over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 11 ms 14 ms 15 ms 10.222.0.1
2 14 ms 12 ms 11 ms bar01-p0-2.orlnhe1.ma.attbb.net [24.128.190.129]
3 17 ms 14 ms 16 ms bar01-s2-1-0.nbfrhe1.ma.attbb.net [24.91.0.141]
...

[Correct]
C:worksitefinder>tracert www.asdfjasdkfjasfjasdj.us
Unable to resolve target system name www.asdfjasdkfjasfjasdj.us.

By Richard M. Smith, Computer & Internet Security Expert
Related topics: DNS, Domain Names
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Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities Mark Foster  –  Sep 22, 2003 9:30 AM PDT

Some (many?) network admins choose fake TLDs for their local namespace, like .local or .lan or .corp.
Those TLDs would not be affected in the same way by this wildcard issue.

Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities bdaul  –  Sep 23, 2003 2:27 AM PDT

Breaking Outlook and Windows Net Utilities…
that isn't news...if I clap my hand loudly enough, if there is a strong wind outside or if I just think about Bill Gates, those too will break MS stuff.

We should look at it from another perspective…
everything Microsoft produces is already broken...it is just a matter of finding the damaged parts!
:-)

--bill

Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities ib  –  Sep 23, 2003 6:27 AM PDT

I would like to cheer, but it breaks all OS's that have implemented anything relying on the RFC. ( not just MS OS's)

Fortunately only .net .com .us and .biz domains so far, but thats bad enough.

Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities Rand Noel  –  Oct 04, 2003 10:08 PM PDT

Why couldn't this happen to .gov and all our troubles would be over.

Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities Bb Guess  –  Dec 04, 2003 10:57 PM PDT

12/4/03

I am constantly getting Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D, repairing my network connection, removing my mail account and recreating it, to run into Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D again, and again. What's the fix for this?. Step by step, please. 

Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities Paul Stodart  –  Apr 21, 2004 5:53 AM PDT

Hi

I am getting same probs as Bb Guess ie.

I am constantly getting Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D, repairing my network connection, removing my mail account and recreating it, to run into Socket Error: 11004, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D again, and again. What's the fix for this?. Step by step, please.

grateful for any help



Re: Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities R3  –  Jun 03, 2004 10:12 AM PDT

How can i check if sitefidener is on in my computer ??

At work with Outlook files use-the application Alex Krenvalk  –  Dec 09, 2008 12:15 PM PDT

At work with Outlook files use-the application was unable to open the outlook express message store,as far as i know tool is free,tool helps to stand against email issues and it does not matter, why your mailbox has become corrupted,can read online user’s guide for this program, where all steps of email recovery process are clearly described,keeps your mailbox in several source files, such as Inbox.dbx, Outbox.dbx, Sent Items.dbx and Deleted Items.dbx, all of these files should be located in the same folder,program can save separate files with eml extension, please create a separate folder for this purpose to avoid confusion,works with Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista.

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