SORBS Blacklist Shuts Down

It's confirmed a popular Spam and Open-Relay Blocking System SORBS has shut down. Many sources confirmed the news including the founder of Proofpoint, Inc. Michelle Sullivan who owns SORBS.

What is/was SORBS?

SORBS offered free access to a DNS-based Block List (DNSBL) that included over 12 million host servers known for distributing spam, phishing attacks, and other malicious emails. According to the service, the list usually comprises email servers suspected of sending or relaying spam, servers that have been hacked and hijacked, and those infected with Trojans.

More than 200,000 organizations relied on SORBS data, which was highly regarded for its accuracy.

SORBS Closure

Statement SORBS sent to The Register.

"The decision to sunset a product is never an easy one and was made after thorough consideration of various factors impacting the service's sustainability. We can confirm that SORBS was decommissioned on June 5, 2024, and the service no longer contains reputation data. Given the wide range of potential replacement solutions in the market, Proofpoint cannot make recommendations nor endorse any specific replacement product; this is dependent on an organization's needs."

The Register

What's next after SORBS

The anti-spam community is hopeful that legitimate parties will step up to operate SORBS. While Proofpoint rightly points out that alternatives like SpamCop and Spamhaus are available, SORBS has earned acclaim for its transparent operating practices.

Transparency in blocklist operations is crucial because operators can significantly impact email senders. SORBS maintained a support ticket system with staff who discussed and documented listings, archiving these records. This extensive documentation demonstrated that SORBS was neither arbitrary nor vindictive in its decision-making process.