Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--Going Live with Exchange 2007, Part 2--November 2, 2006

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IN THIS ISSUE
*Commentary: Going Live with Exchange 2007, Part 2
*Exchanging Ideas: The Exchange Intelligent Message Filter
*New and Improved: Manage Access Rights to Mailboxes and Public Folders

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***COMMENTARY: Going Live with Exchange 2007, Part 2
by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

Last week, I started writing about my experience moving my (admittedly small) production Exchange environment to Exchange Server 2007 ("Going Live with Exchange 2007, Part 1," October 26, 2006, http://www.windowsitpro.com, InstantDoc ID 94029). I mentioned that I still had work to do on antispam protection. As shipped, Exchange 2007 does a better job blocking spam to my network than a basic Exchange 2003 installation with Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter, but it doesn't do as well as Vamsoft's ORF Enterprise Edition.

Shortly after submitting last week's column, I added some IP blacklist providers to my Exchange 2007 configuration. You might recall that the message protection and hygiene features in Exchange 2007 are implemented as a set of agents that run either on the Hub Transport or Edge Transport server. You use the Anti-spam tab of the server Properties page to adjust the properties used for the IP Block List Providers object; you can also adjust other properties, such as the settings used for sender and recipient filtering and for Sender ID.

I added two DNS blacklists: AbuseAT (http://cbl.abuseat.org) and Spamhaus (http://www.spamhaus.org/). There are many other popular services out there—why did I pick these two?

  • I chose AbuseAT because its Composite Blocking List records only hosts that have attempted to send messages in a way that indicates the host is infected or compromised.
  • I chose Spamhaus because it's a large, well-known service that combines two separate lists (SBL is a list of spammers; XBL is a list of compromised IP addresses from which viruses, worm traffic, or spam originates).

There are many other blacklists, some much more aggressive than others. For example, the Spam and Open-Relay Blocking System (SORBS) list includes large ranges of addresses that belong to dial-up ISPs, which shouldn't generally be sending SMTP mail. But it also includes large blocks of addresses assigned to cable-modem and DSL providers. Even though I have a business cable-modem account, if my local provider's IP address were to show up in SORBS, I'd have a hard time exchanging mail with the rest of the world. In my opinion, SORBS is a little too quick to block addresses, which is why I don't use this blacklist.

Choosing a blacklist is tricky; your best bet is to start with one or two list providers and see whether your spam level drops. I saw a dramatic decrease in the amount of spam reaching my servers after I added the AbuseAT and Spamhaus lists. I've gone from getting 15–20 spam messages per account per day to one or two, and I haven't found any false positives generated by the Realtime Blackhole Lists (RBLs). Your own mileage may vary, which is why it's important to test the RBLs you choose to ensure that they don't drop legitimate messages.

Next week, I'll be writing about the fall Microsoft Exchange Connections show—look for a report on what's new and cool on the show floor, as well as highlights of the keynotes and other presentations. If you're going to be in Las Vegas for the show, look for me Wednesday morning in session or throughout the show in the exhibit area.

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***EXCHANGING IDEAS

Focus: The Exchange Intelligent Message Filter

Get smart about stopping spam
Exchange 2003 wises up when it comes to stopping spam. Find out how the Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) can help your antispam efforts.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/ArticleID/42682/42682.html

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Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Exchange discussion forums:
http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/categories.aspx?catid=40&entercat=y
Current Threads:
ActiveSync error: 85010004
Exchange SP2 Mobility Features
POP3 Not Sending *Sometimes*

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The voting has ended in the Windows IT Pro Exchange & Outlook nonscientific Instant Poll for the question "What are your Exchange plans for 2007?" Here are the results from the 52 votes:
- 50% Stay on Exchange 2003 (or earlier) as long as we can
- 17% Prepare to migrate to Exchange 2007
- 17% Migrate to Exchange 2007 by Q2 2007
- 15% Migrate to Exchange 2007 by Q4 2007

Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/MicrosoftExchangeOutlook/Index.cfm
"Which topic will be most important to you in 2007?"
a. Exchange security
b. Exchange migration
c. Exchange backup and recovery/disaster recovery
d. Mobile/remote client support
e. Exchange 2007

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***NEW AND IMPROVED
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Manage Access Rights to Mailboxes and Public Folders
C2C Systems released Access Security Manager, which audits and manages email access rights to prevent illegitimate or fraudulent access to mailboxes or public folders within your Exchange Server system. The application compiles all the information about mailbox and mail folder permissions and access rights from multiple Exchange Servers and then lets you modify individual or group settings. Access Security Manager detects users who may gain access to the mailboxes of others and lets you update users' permissions in line with approved security policy and practices. The software alerts you when a zombie user is found—a user that is deleted from the mail system, but still has legacy permissions in the email system. Access Security Manager can be run from within the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). For more information, contact C2C Systems at 413-739-8575.
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***EVENTS AND RESOURCES

These Windows-related events, papers, and resources will help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and help you deploy, secure, and maintain the latest Exchange- and Windows-related technologies. For more Exchange related resources, visit
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/exchangeresources

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