News for April 2008

Updates on work in progress and information on new features.

News for April 2008

Postby Elric Pedder » Thu Apr 24th, 2008 2:31pm

Hi all,

It has been quite some time since a news update was posted, but as always a great deal of development is underway.

Clam Anti-Virus Integration

Mailtraq can now integrate with the very popular open-source anti-virus system, clam. Visit our online [url=http://www.mailtraq.com/clamav]Guide to ClamAV integration[/url] for more information and instructions on how to use it. Clam is very un-intrusive as far as anti-virus systems go which is important for server systems. It also ranks fairly highly in tests so if you aren't currently using an anti-virus system with Mailtraq, this is certainly worth considering.

That said, Mailtraq's Executable Policy has surprised many users by being extremely effective with a very basic, blunt but effective approach. The EAP simply changes the filename of an executable attachment, which prevents the file being executed by users. This prevents accidentally executing a virus, which is itself a huge step.

Anti-spam features

We are regularly introducing new anti-spam features into Mailtraq. Two of interest recently are called Connection Management and RDNS Policy (useful search terms for http://www.mailtraq.com if you wish to find out more).

Connection Management allows you to control how much time Mailtraq will wait after receiving an incoming SMTP connection before answering it. Most spam is sent in vast quantities and it is often simply infeasible to wait for more than a few seconds to see if a Mail server will answer. If Mailtraq is configured to wait 10 seconds, a significant portion of spam connections will fail. This is a very good choice for anti-spam defences because at the same time legitimate connections will not be affected. The SMTP protocol requires that clients be patient during this stage and therefore you won't see any "False Positives" from this step.

RDNS Policy means having Mailtraq verify incoming connections by looking up the Reverse DNS entry for the IP address. It is now commonly accepted on the Internet that to act as a Mail Transport Agent (the only systems that should be sending e-mail to your server) you must correctly configure reverse DNS for your IP address. Many spam senders use compromised residential machines (often on IP addresses that have no reason to have reverse DNS records). By rejecting connections without properly configured DNS records, you are again removing only incoming mail that is either spam or the result of some sort of error.

Mailing List Integration with Address Books, Mailgroups and the Local Directory

These are features users have been asking about for some time. It is now possible to have entries in Mailing Lists which are pointers Mailgroups, Directory LDAP queries or Address Books. When a message is sent to the mailing list, it is distributed to the list members. For Mailgroups, the message is distributed to all the mailboxes within that group. For LDAP queries the query is expanded from the perspective of the user who owns the mailing list. For example, "(ou=Sales)" would result in the message going to all the users who have their Organizational Unit set to "Sales" according to their user directory properties. For Address Books, the message is distributed to every contact in the address book who has an e-mail address given.

This system makes it very easy to manage complicated mailing lists via WebMail or even Outlook Synch.

ICS Calendar Invitations

WebMail now supports ICS invitation attachments. This means you can click on an attached invitation and add it to your own calendar. We are working toward comprehensive iCalendar compliance and more related features will appear soon.

Coming Up

We have a huge number of improvements in the pipeline. We are working on complete remote console administration which is a substantial revision that will also bring many additional benefits. Our iCalendar work will lead to SynchML support, which means in turn supporting mobile devices too. There is of course much more happening in longer term development, but that's all I can talk about for now.

Regards,
- Elric
Mailtraq Development and Escalation Support
Novitraq Incorporated
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Elric Pedder
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Re: News for April 2008

Postby rboynton » Wed Apr 30th, 2008 7:05am

Elric Pedder wrote:Connection Management allows you to control how much time Mailtraq will wait after receiving an incoming SMTP connection before answering it.


I implemented this and set the wait time to 15 seconds, and am amazed at the difference. Even with SA and other defenses running, we were seeing around 400 spam emails get through every 24 hours. We're down to about 40 now, so a nice reduction indeed. Thank you very much for this.
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