March 05, 2003 - 12:00
Exchange administrators can check mail against popular blacklists such as ORDB & Spamhaus
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As a contribution to the battle against spam, GFI today launched a freeware version of GFI MailEssentials for Exchange/SMTP 8. The free version allows incoming email to be checked against popular DNS blacklists (also known as real time blacklists) at server level, prior to distributing the mail to network users. It also enables administrators to set up their own blacklists and includes a patented automatic whitelist management tool.
Third party DNS blacklists (DNSBL)
DNS blacklists are databases of known spammers, through which administrators can check if a sending mail server is known or thought to send spam. Two recommended DNS blacklists supported by GFI MailEssentials 8 are ordb.org and spamhaus.org.
The ORDB list is a database maintained by ORDB.org, a non-profit organization that stores the IP addresses of verified open SMTP relays. These relays are likely to be used as conduits for sending unsolicited bulk email. By accessing this list, system administrators can choose to accept or reject email exchange with servers at these addresses.
The Spamhaus Block List (SBL) is a free real time DNS-based database of IP addresses of verified spammers, spam gangs and spam services. Used by Internet service providers and corporate networks worldwide, the SBL currently protects an estimated 100 million mailboxes from persistent spam sources.
Steve Linford, director of The Spamhaus Project, welcomed GFI's announcement of the freeware version: "We are pleased that GFI MailEssentials 8 is available as freeware, now enabling Exchange users to use our Spamhaus Block List (SBL) easily and free of charge to block spammers."
How blacklist checking works
Once an administrator installs GFI MailEssentials 8 on Exchange Server 2000, incoming mail is checked against the selected third party blacklist. No extra configuration is required. For each incoming mail, the IP of the sending mail server is queried against the list in a similar fashion as a DNS query. If the sending mail server is on the blacklist, the mail is flagged as spam and optionally forwarded to a public folder. GFI MailEssentials also supports Exchange 5.5, Lotus Notes and SMTP mail servers.
Automatic whitelist management
The freeware version of GFI MailEssentials 8 also includes a patented automatic whitelist management tool. This feature eliminates the need for administrators to manually input approved addresses on the whitelist, because all business partners are added automatically. This way, their mail bypasses the spam filter and false positives are greatly reduced.
Ability to configure local blacklists
Another anti-spam feature included in the free version is the ability for Exchange administrators to create their own list of undesirable domains and email addresses from which they do not want to receive mail.
Obtaining the freeware version
The freeware version can be downloaded from http://www.gfi.com/mes. The download is a trial version of GFI MailEssentials (3Mb), however the blacklist checking and whitelist features remain active after the 60-day evaluation period. Quick install instructions can be obtained at http://www.gfi.com/downloads/gettingstarted.asp?pid=11&vid=67&lid=1. Alternatively, the entire GFI MailEssentials 8 manual can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.gfi.com/manuals/mes8manual.zip. User-to-user support is available at http://forums.gfi.com.
GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. With award-winning technology, an aggressive pricing strategy and a strong focus on small-to-medium sized businesses, GFI is able to satisfy the need for business continuity and productivity encountered by organizations on a global scale. GFI has offices in the US, Malta, UK, Hong Kong and Australia which support more than 200,000 installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with over 10,000 partners worldwide. GFI is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. More information about GFI can be found at http://www.gfi.com.