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ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall has had an outstanding first * X days * protecting our clients from phishing. While the roll-out of such a massive service is always going to be a challenge, we cannot be more thankful for our users and the relationship that has lead to tons of feedback, bug fixes, new features, and a meteoric rise in additional security that everyone enjoys.

Just as a reminder, ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall is an always-on phishing protection for email and web. As someone emails you phishing content, in hopes that you’d click on it and give away credentials and download malware, ExchangeDefender both helps keep that email sanitized and quarantined so that it never gets to your Inbox to be clicked on. But that’s not a fool-proof process, nor is it realtime – a site that was safe when the email was sent could have just been hacked and dangerous content uploaded – but we’ve got you protected there too: when you click on any suspicious site in ExchangeDefender scanned messages you will be directed to our firewall site, instead of directly to the suspicious content. Once you’re there, you are further protected by your corporate policies, and you’re given additional information that helps you determine if the site is dangerous or not. Once you’re sure you can either whitelist or blacklist the site and you’ll never be interrupted again.

How cool is that? Well, it’s so cool that during just the first two (2) days of use, ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall caught 770,000 clicks on suspicious sites that aren’t one of the top 5,000 Internet domains – and 164,000 requests proceeded to known dangerous stuff.
When you’re dealing with email and dangerous links, you need every bit of security and intelligence in your corner and ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall delivers that:

It’s always on, always scanning your messages

There is nothing to configure, setup, install, or buy

It works on Outlook, Gmail, and any other email service

It protects you on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and anywhere else you click on links

It gives you a database of known dangerous/suspicious sites

It protects you by isolating patterns/data from ExchangeDefender’s reputation table

It secures you by leveraging data-sharing relationships we have with the worlds largest security vendors

It logs your activity so you can backtrack and identify dangerous activity

It gives your business ability to setup custom policies and block/allow access as needed

It gives you control over which sites to whitelist and blacklist so you’re not interrupted

It learns what you click on and how so you don’t have to manage a whitelist

Most importantly, it gives you access to our Chief Security Officer infrastructure where you can Report an Issue and have our team help evaluate a potentially dangerous link.

Not only are we doing everything to keep you safe and secure online, we’re literally available in person to assist when necessary. We know that every feature/block isn’t going to be loved by everyone, we know that every change can grind some folks the wrong way, we know that it’s not going to be perfect – but we’re in your corner, we’re here for you, and keep on sending us feedback so we can build this into a security service everyone loves as much as ExchangeDefender.

Thank you for your business and have a SAFE day on the Internets :slightly_smiling_face:

ExchangeDefender has assisted partners and clients with migrations from third party platforms onto our award winning platform. On July 31st 2019, we will schedule our last third party migration onto the ExchangeDefender network and will only support them under special projects going forward.

We’re sure this will disappoint some of our clients and partners that have hoped to bring their clients to our network, unfortunately this work is simply too expensive to deliver free of charge. Over the years we have given our prospects incentives – free licensing, free third party migration tools, free hosting, etc and we were able to do so on the back of deep expertise across other platforms.

But just as we continue to decommission our own older versions of Exchange clusters and third party email systems, the rest of the world is doing likewise. We feel like everyone that was truly interested in a smooth transition has made or scheduled that move already. Clients that have waited on 5+ year old infrastructure probably did so because of customized workflows, third party integrations, older versions of integrated software that doesn’t support Exchange 2016/19, etc. Keeping the immense staging, data transfer, and consulting resources on hand for legacy platforms is expensive and is needed as we roll out new features for ExchangeDefender. SplitMX, Multiroute and duplicate delivery will no longer be supported by ExchangeDefender, on our network or on Office365/Google/3rdparty.

We’ve been mentioning the sun-setting of this service since early 2018, and if we’ve missed anyone there are still 2-3 weeks during which we can swing almost anything over. Past that, we will offer migrations to ExchangeDefender as a part of our enterprise services contract.

Thank you for your business and we’ll continue working hard to keep you in love with ExchangeDefender. If you want to join the fun, let us know by August 1st, 2019.

Today we’re happy to announce the launch of ExchangeDefender Self Service portal. You can find the application at https://www.ExchangeDefender.com/ss

We’d like to thank our partners and support clients for helping us identify issues and tasks that come up with our platform frequently. These simple tasks often require opening up a ticket, placing a phone call, verifying identity, etc and we’ve decided to give our users the power to manage these issues on their own.

What can you do with ExchangeDefender SS?

Unlock a Hosted Exchange account

Request a PTR bypass because of broken DNS

Get a PIN for phone support

Reset an ExchangeDefender Encryption account

Some of these tasks require multiple steps, but we feel it is easier to address them as a user than to float it up the typical IT support channel. For example, let’s assume you cannot get into your account because it got locked out due to a DDoS or hack attempt. Well, the user already types in their email address and password all day long, it’s easier for them to unlock the account by going to the site than to open up a ticket, place a call, provide all the information, wait, wait, test, etc – and we’ve heard our users loud and clear: You want more control. ExchangeDefender SS gives you that control – and makes it easier to get things done without having to talk to anyone.

Of course, these issues can also be done through the same old fashioned phone and ticket support (and we’d be happy to help you at https://support.ownwebnow.com) – but honestly, this way is quicker and if our Feedback inbox is any indication – the users demand it. We look forward to adding more functionality and making common problems easier to solve, quickly and efficiently through Self Service Portals – so keep on sending us feedback (available at the bottom of every page) and your suggestions.

It’s been about a decade since our last face-lift to the end-user facing part of ExchangeDefender – suffice to say, lot’s of cool new things are possible with the web technology that wasn’t possible in the past. So, allow me to introduce you to the ExchangeDefender Security Center!

As of Thursday, June 27th, when you attempt to release a SPAM message,
you will see our new security center:

Of course, yours will look a little different. If you have ExchangeDefender from a service provider, it may have their color scheme. You can still upload your own logo (at https://admin.exchangedefender.com).

The idea here is to help connect our self-service portals https://www.exchangedefender.com/ss, our chat, our alerts, and documentation into one spot so when an issue comes up we can help the end user right then and there.

Remember that all of this stuff is data driven, so if you’re one of our partners we encourage you to put up your own announcements, deploy the XD NOC for your organization so your branding is preserved, work with our account managers, etc.

Going forward, this will be the default view for unauthenticated connections – so WFS, Encryption Download, SPAM release, and the Phishing Firewall Redirect.

P.S. How do IP restrictions play into this? They don’t. If you have ExchangeDefender enabled only for Trusted Devices and admin portal locked down to the enterprise IP range, the site will still allow the user to release SPAM from the quarantine no matter where they are (think mobile device access). For other functionality, once they click on Login the same 2FA/OTP/Known Device/IP Restrictions are in play.

ExchangeDefender is opening a wider beta test of our whitelisting functionality, which allows IT Solution Providers to whitelist sender mail servers that have broken DNS (missing PTR, mismatched A/PTR records) and poor sender reputation (hosts listed on multiple RBL blacklists).

If you have a sender you would like to whitelist against these essential network tests, please open a ticket at support.ownwebnow.com with subject “Whitelist PTR/RBL: IP Address” and provide as much information in the ticket so we can accommodate this specific request. Only hard non-negotiable rejections to whitelist will be for unknown address space and dialup/consumer cable IP addresses (because due to their nature those are typically dynamically assigned address spaces that shouldn’t be relaying mail at all, they should be using their ISP mail server provided smarthost)

Requests will be reviewed and either approved (and enrolled) or rejected within 24 hours by our CSO.

Background: Inability to previously whitelist broken DNS and dynamic IP address space is rooted in our mission statement. We are here, beyond everything else, to help secure the email. We know our partners, IT Solution Providers, VARs, MSPs, etc do not have the skill set, the time to properly research underlying issues, enough data and statistical models to evaluate sender IP reputation, or even the incentive to discern how big of a security threat and compromise a specific IP address with broken DNS or poor reputation may pose to your client.

In fact, you pay us to worry about those things and keep your clients secure. But, sometimes clients like to think they know better than their technology experts, generally accepted security standards on the Internet, and ExchangeDefender. And the client is always right. But, when they get infected attachments, broadcast storm, password dumps, or other security compromises because they insisted on lowering their security – then ExchangeDefender is on the hook for securing them. And we don’t get to say “told you so” nor do we have any rapid means to fix the issue.

Since my retirement, all of those hard-line policies designed to keep clients safe beyond whatever “specific business case requirement” they may have, are slowly going away. Good news for the client, good news for the partners. Good news for us, because going forward we will start providing Email Security Engineering services – so when you get a security compromise or an usual issue and you’ve asked us to compromise your security – we will be able to address the issue on your behalf.

I choose to look at this as a positive – we will help our clients meet their business needs and get the mail they desperately need – and if something breaks we will be there to help assist with the cleanup (for a fee, of course). This, among many other service related things, is just the part of the ExchangeDefender being more responsive and service oriented when it comes to our clients demands as opposed to our expert opinion as a security policy.

Sign up for the Webinar, click here!

As promised in the last webinar, we’re moving as aggressively as possible to make sure our partners have as flexible of a tool as we can imagine to communicate with clients in the event of an IT catastrophe. Or, in our case, to further increase transparency and collaboration with all our ExchangeDefender service providers so you can get better insight into our network and when we’re dealing with a lot. That said, I believe that the product/service is now production ready and we’ve already tied it up in our ExchangeDefender Enterprise product so you’ll know as we know. 🙂

Remember, ExchangeDefender’s AnythingDown.com , or https://yourserviceproviderid.xdnoc.com – is your own brandable, real-time alert system that covers ExchangeDefender managed resources as well as your own custom defined events. 

Let’s go on a little tour, shall we?

First, here is the nearly-final look of the site. It will of course feature your logo, your contact information, and your own services but you can see that there is now a sign in section as well as nested posts – so when something is updated it’s done so in-line and can be read normally (as opposed to just seeing the latest update and not knowing what it’s about at all).

Sign in screen is for you, just provide your service provider ID and password and you’re in your own portal.

As for your users that want real-time updates via email or RSS/blog, we have a signup page (I know, I know, it’s idiotic but GDPR and EU have put this obstacle in place where we need contracts and disclosures about signing up for an email list).

Once you’ve signed in as the service provider, you will have access to manage and create new service advisories. Just click on the Add New button in the upper right corner. If you’re managing a larger NOC and have a ton of fires going on (you’re among friends, #respect) you can also search current open advisories and make sure you update the correct one.

New advisory posting is pretty flexible and gives you actually quite a bit of power to include images, links, and other multimedia. As network geeks we’re used to plain text, ASCII, 80 columns across black on white kind of alerts but in the 21st century with lots of things going on sometimes you can throw out a quick alert with a screenshot of what’s going on rather than trying to document every single detail (for example, a cloud of daily network/ISP outages as an explanation why things are moving slow or getting delayed or buffered)

And of course, you can update every service advisory.

As mentioned last month, ExchangeDefender XDNOC </a> service is all about helping us work better with the people that pay us to help protect their networks and users. I have some rather personal thoughts on that subject, which will be a matter of another post. However, when you design software and when you serve as the gatekeeper, your primary responsibility to the people you’re protecting and waking up to keep safe every day is not just to keep things going but also to keep everyone aware of what is going on to improve things – because hackers don’t take days off.

When things malfunction at other companies, they blame vendors and equipment. When things malfunction at ExchangeDefender, we build products and services so we never have to deal with the problem in the first place. As a result of a DDoS attack last month, I am happy to introduce you to our new service that will improve one area in which we undoubtedly suck the most: communication.

Say hello to AnythingDown.com:



It’s an offsite NOC alert site that’s branded for you.

At ExchangeDefender we do a pretty amazing job communicating and working with our partners, it’s actually our #1 selling point, that you can come to our offices and data centers, you can work with our team and get things done. But when something breaks, that same business friendliness and accessibility is an achilles heel – clients swamp the phones demanding to be briefed on every detail, “Friends of Vlad” call every staff cell phone they can find, the staff that is there to help/coordinate/assist in technical work cannot efficiently correspond and inform every user particularly when things go down and everything isn’t working as it should.

This is where ExchangeDefender XDNOC (aka “AnythingDown.com”) helps.

It’s off site. Doesn’t rely on our networks at all.
It’s on it’s own name space. Not dependent on our DNS/registrars.
It’s branded. Your name, your image, your message.

That last bit is pretty important – we realize that our larger clients have many employees that have never heard of ExchangeDefender, ditto for our partners that don’t want to reveal ExchangeDefender is behind their branded email offering.

Not to worry, your site is already branded and you have your own Service Provider XDNOC: https://<yourExchangeDefenderSPId>.xdnoc.com

It’s yours, it’s yours for free, and we’re just getting started. For the next week or two, the site will host ExchangeDefender content only as we add in the mechanism for RSS subscriptions, linking, SMS/txt alerts, and email notifications.

But this is just the beginning. As an ExchangeDefender subscriber you will have access to this site to tweak it as necessary and to add your own NOC alerts. That’s right, we’re not just building this for ourselves, we see it as a role of central accountability for everyone that relies on our services and all the services you use to deliver a solution. We all want to keep the client happy and informed and this will help out a lot towards that goal.

Our expectation is also to have our proprietary monitoring and alert feeds published on AnythingDown.com going forward so you can see or anticipate the issues that our infrastructure is seeing even before there are tickets or human confirmation of the problems. For many that will be way, way, way too much data but we feel it’s better to present it and get more eyes on it than hide it and hope it’s handled through automation or our staff activity.

In closing, I hope this helps. I know outages and service interruptions or performance issues or networking issues all suck, nobody wants them. They come with the territory and everyone knows it – so it’s not about technology malfunctions, it’s about your communication about the IT work that is done to make it as flawless as possible. We thank you for your business and for your continued support of ExchangeDefender that makes stuff like this possible.

ExchangeDefender has been SMB friendly – to a fault, but the era of terrible passwords and plain text passwords is finally over. Not a single piece of ExchangeDefender stores (or offers) user credentials in plain text anymore. We’ve made the transition exceptionally smooth as well, requiring no changes or IT intervention at all.

But we cannot encourage it enough. And over the next year you will see us introduce several features meant to help you lock down ExchangeDefender and use it to lock down your overall IT security strategy. We’re happy to introduce password age configuration that allows you to force users to reset their passwords automatically.

This setting can be accessed from the Domain Administrator > Policies > Features section of admin.exchangedefender.com

When the password is older than your preset number of days (by default, 90) the user will see an ugly red notice telling them to update their password.

If you set the password expiration to 0 days you will turn this feature off entirely but we cannot discourage it more. The feature is there to help your users avoid having their accounts compromised.

If you implement some of these stronger security features we’ve also got you when it comes to minimizing account management – users can reset their password at any time if they have their PIN on them. So even if their mail server is down, having their PIN handy will let them reset the password without additional authentication. Forgot your pin? No problem, we can email you a reset link to a known email address.

As you can tell, ExchangeDefender will go the extra step of helping your users configure a strong password. It will also keep memory of recent passwords so that they can’t just rotate it back and forth between the same two passwords they use elsewhere.

As you’ve seen with mass password resets , access to advanced access logging , known trusted devices and IP restrictions , we are adding more, and more, of our enterprise features to the ExchangeDefender Pro product.

To hear about all these new security features in more detail please check out the webinar  that covers our current security portfolio and how these features make sense.

 

   ExchangeDefender IP and Device Restrictions

ExchangeDefender is continuing it’s march to becoming your central point of secure communications by bringing even more of our custom Enterprise features  down to the SMB/MSP space. As of today, you will start seeing another section added to the Service Provider screen specifically to house our advanced security settings.

   Restrict ExchangeDefender access to your IP range

All large organizations that depend on ExchangeDefender have static IP addresses and IP ranges assigned to them by the ISP. ExchangeDefender has the power to restrict access to your organization (all domain and user logins) and only allow access from your offices.

Add Trusted/Known Devices For Easier Access

People love the notion of security until that security gets in a way by prompting them. We only want our security infrastructure to get in a way of hackers and to slow down and annoy people that want to do us harm. Good news is, now you can add devices you know to known and trusted device list.

Doing so will minimize some of the additional checks and verification (such as 2FA/OTP one time password checks when you first log in from an unknown address). As an additional bonus, ExchangeDefender will start to deliver notifications and alerts whenever the system is accessed (successfully, meaning they know your password) from an unknown/untrusted device, giving you the first alert that there is a security issue to address.

As you’ve seen with mass password resets, access to advanced access logging, we are adding more, and more, of our enterprise features to the ExchangeDefender Pro product. To find out what else is on our road map, and how ExchangeDefender will evolve in 2019 to serve your other security needs, please tune into our webinar:

ExchangeDefender launches New Security Logs

I have some great news – ExchangeDefender security logs are now available for all users of ExchangeDefender. This move is a part of our larger security ambition for 2019 to introduce Enterprise features of ExchangeDefender across our lower MSP, SMB and retail tiers in order to improve service security.

One of the biggest things in 2019 is the end of the era for plain text passwords. People love them, MSPs rely on them, they are super convenient for everyone including… the hackers that are looking to break in. But more on that in a minute.

The single simplest way to stay on top of account security… is identifying break-in attempts. ExchangeDefender Enterprise logs every event, login, escalation (and so, when you as the enterprise administrator or organization owner choose to automatically login as the user for support purposes) attempt.

We’re happy to bring this feature in across both the service provider, domain and user login. Free of charge.

As the admin or service provider you also have the ability to search the account log for specific user or address that is causing problems. In the Enterprise version you have the ability to further lock things down based on IP, location, charset, and more. But if/when there is an issue, you can clearly see if the account has been compromised. At all other times, you can see login failures that are a good indication that there is a problem.

This feature, and a whole lot more, is coming down to the ExchangeDefender SMB land. While all these features were a premium in the past, the extent to which everything from your PC and the network devices that surround you are susceptible to compromise – we have to treat these features as what they are – essential to your security. As a matter of fact, we’ll be discussing this next Wednesday in our webinar:

When:
Noon, Wednesday, February 6th

Where:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4562047862967330307

Hope to see you there.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek
CEO
ExchangeDefender

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