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SPAM protection on SmaterMail

March 7, 2020, Written by 0 comment

The Problem
Every system administrator will understand that spam emails have been a problem. Many do not realize that more than half of the emails received are spam. If you include the new system administrators who are not completely sure the best way to operate an email server, ethically challenged users who make use of those system administrators, the fact that most email servers on the industry are operating on older code or obsolete technology and more,

in several cases the percentage of spam coming out of an email server can be as many as 70%. That’s a ton of unnecessary emails that an email server needs to deal with. Spam is big business, both for all those who are sending it as well as businesses that attempt to prevent it.

After SmarterMail is first created, there were simple solutions that can be integrated to help safeguard an email server. Even so, as the spam market carries on on the journey to turning into a multi-billion dollar sector, successfully blocking significant percentages of spam have shifted beyond what an email server can do not have the use of third-party applications.

The Goal
Our objective for the most recent build of SmarterMail is to offer 70% spam protection, out of the box, with no the use of any third-party solutions. In plus, we need to easily simplify spam protection for end-users and domain administrators along with increasing the effectiveness of the standard checks.

What We Changed New Spam Header
They had taken great pains to examine all concerning SPAM protection on SmaterMail, the RBLs and URIBLs that will be used as the standard checks inside SmarterMail. We viewed at scores, for the effectiveness of the email lists, re-reviewed what the lists did, looked like spam and non-spam emails to see which email lists were returning scores, which usually had been extremely aggressive and as well, much more. Applying that information, we then looked at the standard Filtering options for Low, Medium and High spam: what the Weights had been and what precisely the Events were on emails with those weights.

As a result, they all came up away with some adjustments. They improved both the weights for virtually every spam check, RBL and URIBL as well as the events used across the numerous spam levels. They eliminated lists that were worthless and added in some that they identified to be very good. Applying these, they set up a concise set of Actions that effectively handled spam WITHOUT having to make use of Cyren or MessageSniffer. In that case, adding in either of those products, their performance increased.

They all likewise altered the information included in the header of an email: now, you’ll observe the spam checks that had been run and as well, the Weight that was allocated to that check. This will make it very convenient to see how an email was flagged, the Weight FOR that flag and then just how the total score adds up. Here is an example of the new header information:

X-SmarterMail-Spam: SPF [Pass]: 0, HostKarma – Blacklist: 10, Surriel: 10, SORBS – Recent: 5, DNS Real-time Blackhole List: 5, Message Sniffer [code:52]: 30, DKIM [Pass]: 0, SURBL [count:2]: 10 X-SmarterMail-TotalSpamWeight: 70

They altered the normal Actions for the total spam Weights for Low, Medium and High. Right now, Low weights do nothing, but Medium and High weights will move to the Junk E-Mail folder. They all didn’t want to muddy up emails with a Low probability of being spam with adding something to the email subject as that can just confuse users. On the other hand, with the weight adjustments, emails that are flagged as Medium or High are generally spam, so there’s simply no need for those to go to someone’s Inbox.

In addition, as a method to achieve the performance and simplicity of use of these adjustments, system settings are right now propagated to Domain Administrators and end-users. When they’re allowed by the system and/or domain administrator, domain administrators and users can very easily modify the behaviour of Low, Medium and High messages as needed. Even so, as with most major email services, the weights for individual checks are solely managed by System Administrators.

What precisely System Administrators Can Change
Now that SmarterMail gives system administrators a stable base to operate from, what can easily they do the help the never-ending fight with spam? Well, here are a few suggestions:

Understand the Changes for Users
Looking at ways some of the larger firms handle spam protection, they will just allow you two options: an email is a spam or it’s not. We’re offering system administrators more efficiency than that, but removing some of the difficulty of that functionality for users. For example, showing spam verify Weights at the domain level caused confusion for some domain administrators because it showed every single spam option and its weight, but they had no idea what that meant. So Weights will be now visible only to system administrators, but domain administrators and users can still change the actions used across the various spam levels.

In addition, as domain administrators will simply no longer see any spam Weights, any custom made Weights they’ve set for their domain will go back to the default Weights set up at the system level.

Reset Your Spam Settings
As the changes we built are the new defaults, you will require to use the Rest Whatever to benefit from these adjustments. This will put you at the ideal level of spam protection, whether you’re using only the internal spam checks or using Cyren and Message Sniffer.

Propagate New Low/Medium/High to Domains
Once you have reset your spam settings be sure that the new Low, Medium and High filter Actions propagate to your domains. You will certainly also want to try to make sure that the domain administrators on your server are aware of the changes, why they happened and the results you’re seeing.

Periodically Review Settings
Fighting spam is a constant battle. As such, it’s a great idea to review how things are moving on on a quarterly basis, if not more frequently. That means:

Review Scores: Check emails that are presently hitting Low, Medium and High scores. With the new headers, it will be convenient to see where the effective scores are coming from. It can also display where some scores may be too high, or too low, and let you make changes as necessary.
Adjust Weights: Once the scores for incoming emails are reviewed, try to make sure the weights set up for the various inspections are where they should be. Adjust higher or lower based on how often a particular check is being hit.
Adjust Actions: Try to make sure that any actions taken on an email are based on users and how they want spam to be dealt with.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Cyren Spam Messages Hourly
Taking all of these changes into consideration, fighting spam is actually something that system administrators need to aware of. As pointed out, there is simply no silver bullet. All of any checks on hand should be applied and third-party products like Cyren, MessageSniffer or possibly extra checks should be added into the mixture. During our tests, we observed a big improvement in the types of spam that were sent, based on the time of day: in the evenings and overnight, the default RBLs and URIBLs were extremely good at tagging spam, whereas during the business day, MessageSniffer and Cyren were good at tagging spam while the RBLs and URIBLs seemed to catch fewer.

And do not forget: the default we recommend is simply a starting point. Sure, they are an effective starting point, but the wonderful thing about SmarterMail is you can add extra services, your own RBLs or URIBLs, you can place your own Weights and your own Actions based on those Weights. In addition, now that you have an effective base on one server, the spam settings can be exported FROM that server and applied to any other SmarterMail server in your environment.

In Conclusion
At SmarterTools, we’ll keep going to provide our clients with as various tools as possible to help fight spam. However, the spam industry is just that: an industry unto itself. There are hundreds of millions of dollars to be earned, and spammers do almost everything they can to protect that revenue possibility.

In addition, preventing spam is its own, independent industry, and many companies have grown very large, very fairly quickly, building products and services to help you help fight the equally-growing spam industry.

From our point of view, SmarterTools aims to build the best mail server on the industry, and that’s our speciality area. Just as we have our specific niche market, sometimes it’s best to allow the way to others who are trying to build a better antispam service or the best antispam product. We do what precisely we do, and they do what they do. The good thing is, we can build SmarterMail in such a way that the integration with other products and services is included, or available, for users. It’s up to you all, as those system administrators, to decide what combination works most effectively.

Martin

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