Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, September 12, 2003

Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--September 11, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By




1. Commentary

- Fighting SoBig

2. Announcements

- Exchange Connections: Early Bird Discount Expires Monday

- Are You Ready for Exchange 2003?

3. Resources

- Deploying Customized Outlook Security Settings

- Featured Thread: Outlook Form Coding Question

- Outlook Tip: Setting Up Excel Named Ranges to Import into Outlook

4. Events

- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

5. New and Improved

- Protect OWA Users from Exposing Passwords

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

6. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.


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==== 1. Commentary: Fighting SoBig ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

Almost everyone who uses email is aware of the ongoing spread of the SoBig.F virus, but email administrators are acutely (or perhaps "painfully" is a better word) aware of exactly how much time and trouble this virus is causing. Worse still is the threat of new SoBig variants; all earlier generations contained expiration dates (see the first URL below for more information about the virus), but many people are concerned that the next generation won't contain them. Fortunately, you can take steps now to harden your servers, clients, and users against future infections.

First, try to prevent users from opening SoBig's attachments. Although handcuffs might be the only foolproof solution, Outlook's attachment-blocking features are the more practical method. For Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2002, simply enable Outlook's built-in attachment-blocking feature. For Outlook 2000, you'll need to apply the Outlook Security Update, which is available at the second URL below. For all Outlook versions, you can partially control which attachment types Outlook blocks by setting up a specially named public folder and posting a custom form item to it. Plenty of documentation describing this process exists: Take a look at Chapter 13 of "Secure Messaging with Microsoft Exchange Server 2000" (Microsoft Press, 2003), the "Microsoft Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit" Web site (at the third URL below), and the Slipstick Systems Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center (at the fourth URL below).

Second, prevent users who do become infected from infecting others. SoBig.F includes an SMTP server so that after the virus harvests addresses, it can start spamming those addresses. In most cases, desktop machines have no good reason to send SMTP traffic directly to the Internet. Therefore, I suggest that you configure your border and internal routers to prevent any traffic on TCP port 25 unless one of your email servers sends that traffic. If everyone took this step, the spread of SoBig-like viruses would be greatly restricted--which is precisely why so many major broadband ISPs are restricting their clients' ability to send SMTP traffic. (Of course, this decision plays havoc with those of us who want to run Exchange servers at home.)

Third, make sure you have well-maintained, high-quality client- and server-based antivirus protection. Content-filtering tools such as NetIQ's MailMarshal and Nemx Software's Power Tools are also helpful because they can block or quarantine messages with suspect content. However, if you use such a tool, do us all a favor and turn off the automatic notification messages that tell the sender "You've sent an infected message." Because SoBig forges headers, this feature can deluge innocent bystanders with notification messages.

Finally, make sure your servers have some headroom. I've seen reports of SoBig victims getting thousands of messages per day, each message averaging about 100KB. If you happen to host mailboxes for someone with a well-known address, the next wave of attacks could spam you with gigabytes of mail per day. That much traffic can make a serious dent in your transaction log volume's free space (not to mention the effect on the size of your mailbox databases). Be sure you have adequate surge capacity to withstand brief and midsized spikes in mail and transaction volume.

SoBig.F virus description

Outlook Security Update

"Microsoft Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit" Web site

Slipstick Systems Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center


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==== 2. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Exchange Connections: Early Bird Discount Expires Monday

Don't miss your $300 discount. Register for Windows & .NET Magazine Connections by September 15, 2003. Learn the latest tips and tricks from gurus like Tony Redmond, Sue Mosher, Paul Robichaux, and the Microsoft Exchange Team. Register now, save $300, and receive access to concurrently running Windows & .NET Magazine Connections.

Are You Ready for Exchange 2003? With enhanced performance and security and an improved infrastructure, Exchange 2003 is poised for takeoff. Join Windows & .NET Magazine and NetIQ for this free Web seminar, and discover which migration method makes the most sense, the best security and management practices, and much more. Register today!

==== 3. Resources ====

Deploying Customized Outlook Security Settings

Learn more about configuring Outlook's security settings and deploying them to client systems. For information, go to the following URL:

Featured Thread: Outlook Form Coding Question

A forum reader has a question about moving contents from one Outlook form to another. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Setting Up Excel Named Ranges to Import into Outlook

by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: I'm trying to import a file from Microsoft Excel into Outlook, but Outlook displays a message that the Excel document has to have named ranges set up. How do you set up named ranges for an Excel worksheet to import it into Outlook?

A: Open the Excel document and select the data that you want to import. Choose Insert, Name, Define, and give the selected area a name. Save and close the document. You should now be ready to import the data into Outlook.

See the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for more great tips from Sue Mosher.

==== 4. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

Learn more about the wireless and mobility solutions that are available today! Register now for this free event!

==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Protect OWA Users from Exposing Passwords

VASCO Data Security announced Digipass Pack for Outlook Web Access (OWA), software that can protect your Web mail system from intruders. Digipass Pack prevents users from exposing usernames and passwords when using OWA. Digipass Pack is bundled with VACMAN Middleware, software that helps identify remote users who are requesting access to your network. For pricing, contact VASCO at 630-932-8844.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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==== 6. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected]

About technical questions --

About product news -- [email protected]

About your subscription -- [email protected]

About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, the print newsletter with practical advice, tips, and techniques covering migration, backup and restoration, security, and much more. Subscribe today.

Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.

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