Spam almost feels like a part of life anymore. I expect that when I open my email, I’m going to see a couple spam messages that the junk folder settings just didn’t catch. It barely fazes me anymore, I just delete the spam in my inbox and junk folders and go about my day. The real problem comes in for those that receive far more than just a couple spam messages in any given day so I can understand the frustration that comes with having to go through and delete all of those. Thankfully for Office 365 customers, Microsoft provides a means of being able to block those messages from landing in anyone’s inboxes to begin with. That tool is called Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.
Forefront makes it extremely simple to create rules that can block or allow emails to come through based off of the following information:
Now not all of this information is needed for each rule, but it’s great that rules can be setup to block or allow emails of a certain topic or from a specific sender or domain. Based off of my experiences there did not appear to be any delay in the mail filtering after the rule was setup. If you’d like to start blocking some of those pesky spam messages then follow these steps to set up rules of your own:
- Log into the Office 365 portal using an administrator account
- Click on the Manage link listed under Exchange
- On the left hand side of the page select Mail Control
- On the right hand side of the page click on the link labeled “Configure IP safelisting, perimeter message tracing, and e-mail polices.”
- If not already selected then click on the Administration tab at the top of the page
- Select Policy Rules right below the administration tab
- On the right hand side of the page click on the New Policy Rule link
From there you can go ahead and set the parameters for the rule and once done select Save Policy Rule. After that you’ll see your new rule listed under Policy Rules and from there you can make modifications to the rule as necessary or delete it if it’s no longer needed.
Based upon what I’ve seen, Forefront doesn’t always catch blatant spam messages on its own without the aid of the rules, however after creating rules I have seen the amount of spam messages received drop dramatically. All in all I have to say that Forefront Online Protection for Exchange is a great tool for use with Office 365.
According to the "August 2009 Threat Forecast & Report" regarding email SPAM, which is provided by MX Logic; a web and e-mail security provider reports that SPAM volume has increased by 27 percent month to month since June and a staggering 400 percent since February 2009. Currently, SPAM has reached whopping 94.6 percent of total email generated. What does that mean? Well, your email servers may end up working overtime to keep up... All the better reason to have a third party Anti-SPAM email host such as Postini, which is provided by Mosaic Technology; a technology partner of Trigon Technology Group. Postini services take the burden off of the email server within your domain and prevent SPAM email from ever getting near it. It has an easy to use web interface giving the individual user the option to manage their SPAM and quarantine messages picked up by Postini and gives the user the ability to adjust their individual threshold for SPAM filtering as well as managing their own approved and blocked senders list. So, if you want to know more about Postini and how Mosaic Technology can help, visit: http://www.mosaictechnology.com/
How many of us have seen an increase in the amount of SPAM we have been receiving over the last few weeks? Here is one of the reasons why:
Spammers are churning out an increasing number of garbage as they regain their capacity to send spam through hacked PCs, according to the latest statistics released by Google.
Google releases quarterly statistics from its Postini antispam group. "For the second quarter, spam volumes are up 53 percent over the first quarter of this year", said Adam Swidler, product marketing manager for Google Enterprise.
Compared to the same quarter a year prior, spam volumes are up 6 percent. 6 Percent is a drastic increase because the amount of spam is such a high volume - that 6 percent is significant.
Google filters around 3 billion to 3.5 billion spam messages a day.. Spam volumes have been increasingly erratic as some ISPs notorious for allowing spammers to use their infrastructure have been taken offline by the SPAM police.
Why is it that when there is a substantial increase in SPAM does the powers that be actually take action? Why aren't they doing this now when the volume is not as high - Why isn't the problem ever actually fixed?
Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission persuaded a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order to shut down Pricewert, an ISP that did business under the names 3FN and APS Telecom. The FTC said Pricewert was entwined with child pornographers, hackers and malicious software developers.
As soon as they were "shutdown", Google immediately noticed a 30 percent drop in spam following the shutdown. Pricewert's closure cramped spammers' capacity to send spam through compromised home computers that form botnets.
But in just a month or so, spam volumes have risen, due to spammers' efforts to gain more hacked PCs. Google noticed that June had the highest volume of spam messages containing malicious code designed to make a computer part of a botnet, Swidler said.
On June 18, Google said spammers sent more messages in a two-hour window than they usually do in 12 hours. That shows there's "clearly a lot of botnet firepower out there," Swidler said.
"The bottom line is there's money to be made by the activities that these folks do," Swidler said.
It's always about money....isnt it?
Several reports (both from Google and Postini
) in reference to percentages of spam that have been blocked in the year 2007 have indicated that Postini
has blocked 160% more spam messages than in 2006, even as spammers became more dedicated to evade detection by spam filters. The initial part of 2007 was marked by the relentless pursuit of spammers trying to infiltrate our email images, where the spam content is contained in an image attached to the email message. Image spam has since declined and was replaced by spam content residing within PDF's, spreadsheets, and even multimedia attachments.
When business' were asked what group should hold the responsibility for their organization's communications security, the majority of respondents said their IT department (53%). Only 25% felt that their users should incur some of the responsibility of ensuring the safety and compliance of email communications. Approximately 18% of participants felt that security and compliance accountability lies equally with IT and end-users and 4% said that other functional areas of the company should take on the responsibility as well.
Postini can handle billions of transactions per day with their patented pass-through technology.
In my opinion, what makes spam the most annoying to businesses is the fact that the department that is responsible for managing and preventing them from entering internal email boxes (and spammers constantly changing their attack methods) will have to devote many, many hours to configuring and keeping up with ways to block the messages at the firewall/server level unless and all in one filtering system like Postini has been utilized to inhibit all this ‘junk' from being delivered to the users email accounts. I'm sure that everyone is beyond sick of the ‘you've won and the free useless crap for you (insert name here) emails that are constantly plaguing your systems. Come on people there are ways to block this stuff and Postini is it! There are literally thousands of junk emails blocked on a daily basis when referring to a company in its entirety. Postini is always placing the latest methods of attack into their data base to ensure that we are one up on the spammers by allowing the system to recognize and squash the unwanted messages before they can touch your businesses internal mail server. Also, the user interface is very easy to use, giving the average user the permissions necessary to manage their own settings, including allowed and blocked senders lists, spam filtering levels, policies for inbound and outbound traffic, aliases, notifications and viewing their quarantined emails without risk of infection to the users PC, all located within the account that is password protected by each individual user within the company.
The amazing part of these informational statistics that are located above is that you can manage all of the administrative settings for your company (if you are the designated admin) in real time, everything from SMTP message testing, MX records, Re-injection host, Firewall testing, email message header analyzing and email activity graphs just to name a few. You can easily view your connection manager, delivery manager, spool manager, and any alerts that you may have within your domain with the click of a mouse! Updates are released and installed automatically with no user intervention or extra cost required. Postini will even save all of your company/individual emails in the event that your email server looses power, imagine how much money you could loose by missing orders for a day or two! Ouch! Your valuable emails will be preserved by using Postini's email spooling feature. In the event of a connection/power failure, Postini will continuously try to re-establish a connection to your server meanwhile saving all of the emails to be delivered once the connection has been restored. You can also send alerts to designated recipients to notify them that the company server is down and email is now spooling allowing personnel to be dispatched to the location of the server in question quickly and efficiently. These services that are provided by Postini along with their email and live support via phone make this an awesome deal for any business and or individual looking for relief of the constant barrage of unwanted messages this world has come to try and send to you whether you want it, asked for it or ordered it or not. The services that I mentioned in this article are just a small percentage of the power of Postini. The services that are provided to the customers more than outweigh the cost of the actual service. It is a no brainer!
Sign up today for a FREE TRIAL of Postini through Trigon's partner, Mosaic Technology!