Introducing ExchangeDefender 2 Factor Authentication / One Time Password Service
ExchangeDefender Pro is proud to announce the launch of a free 2 factor authentication / one time password service that will help our users better protect their ExchangeDefender accounts. Most people use the same password everywhere and if your password is compromised anyone can login from anywhere – what 2FA/OTP service enables you to do is use your cell phone as a secondary ID check.
When you login to ExchangeDefender, the system will immediately text you a 4 digit PIN to your cell phone. This way even if someone were to guess or steal your password, they will not be able to login without having access to your cell phone as well.
As we blogged about implementing advanced password security, plain text passwords are a thing of the past and the whole universe is moving towards having that additional layer of security to make sure unauthorized changes aren’t being made.
This is why we are making ExchangeDefender 2FA/OTP free for ExchangeDefender Pro and it works at all three levels – Service Provider, Domain administrator (domain.com login) and individual end user accounts at https://admin.exchangedefender.com. Once you’ve authenticated with a PIN on the top level you will not need to re-authenticate in order to manage and support your MSP clients or the end users so by all means enable it for everyone.
We hope you enjoy this feature and start relying on it, don’t worry this is no bait and switch, we do not intend to start charging for it down the road – it’s all about improving security and keeping our clients protected. It’s just what we do!
Dealing with Newsletter and Subscription bombs
ExchangeDefender now protects you from malicious subscriptions to newsletters and emails you never opted into through “Subscription (Newsletter) Bomb Protection” available at admin.exchangedefender.com. By enabling the feature all newsletter “CAN-SPAM” “legitimate sender” content that you don’t want in your mailbox will automatically be filtered out as SureSPAM by ExchangeDefender.
The Bomb Issue
Hackers are currently exploiting security issues in newsletter software that allows them to add your email address to a mailing list without validation. If you’ve signed up for anything recently you know that you’re generally sent a confirmation email to validate you own the email address — well, hackers have found a way to add your email to the list without that step. Repeated thousands of times, it gives hackers a way to blow up your mailbox through a broadcast storm by otherwise legitimate senders who cannot tell your email address from thousands of others on their mailing list.
The ExchangeDefender Solution
ExchangeDefender already has a built-in newsletter management software (where you can have all of your newsletters skip your inbox and be available for reading online). We can effectively quarantine all the newsletters for you and allow you to read them online without them hitting your inbox and putting you over the quota. With the Subscription Bomb protection we go an extra step and outright classify these newsletters you haven’t subscribed to as SureSPAM. You can still access them but they won’t bother you or damage your Inbox or productivity.
There are 3 options:
Enabled: Protection is turned on and any newsletter will be flagged as SureSPAM. We do not recommend this option as it will catch all newsletters, whether you’ve subscribed to them or not.
Disabled: No protection. This is the default setting at the moment for all domains.
Whitelisted: Protection from newsletters but whitelisted ones will still get through. This allows you to have the best of both worlds: protection from newsletters you didn’t subscribe to but newsletters you want and have whitelisted will still come through. On January 1, 2019 this will be the default setting.
What do I tell my clients?
ExchangeDefender can now protect you from SPAM being generated by legitimate newsletter and subscription providers – if someone steals your identity (your email address, name, etc) they can subscribe you to newsletters without your knowledge or permission. Because the sending and management of these lists is automated, hackers can get an innocent third party to send you thousands of newsletters to clog up your inbox, make you wait for your email to download, and just make your email experience miserable.
ExchangeDefender can detect newsletters and “legitimate marketing emails” with unsubscribe or newsletter control keywords and automatically filter it out from you. Messages aren’t gone, you can still access them through admin.exchangedefender.com in realtime and on demand, but your Inbox will stay clean.
ExchangeDefender Office Macro (OLE) Dangerous Content Filtering
ExchangeDefender now includes advanced protection from dangerous Microsoft Office macro code (OLE). Since usage of Office macro code is very limited (and seldom moved via email) it’s almost universally used as an attack vector by hackers who send malicious macro code embedded in Microsoft Office documents that target vulnerabilities in Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more.
Specifically, our service scans the following attachments for the presence of dangerous, encrypted, malformed, malicious, or suspicious code: doc,dot,pot,ppa,pps,ppt,sldm,xl,xla,xls,xlt,xslb,docm,dotm,ppam,potm,ppst,ppsm,pptm,sldm,xlm,xlam,xlsb,xlsm, and xltm. If we detect something suspicious or dangerous the message will not be destroyed or quarantined (as is the case with virus or infected attachments) – rather we just filter it to SureSPAM.
Managing Your OLE Protection
We will start strictly enforcing macro protection on January 1, 2019. However, the feature is available now and can be enabled at any time by going to https://admin.exchangedefender.com and logging in as a domain administrator (if you don’t see the setting, you aren’t logging in with your domain account but your personal or service provider account).
Click on Configuration > Policies > Phishing Options.
At the bottom of the form you will see “ExchangeDefender Office Macro Protection” section that is currently (October 2018) set to Off. The following options are available:
Off – Turns off ExchangeDefender Office Macro (OLE) protection
On – Turns on the protection but whitelisting the domain/email will bypass it
Strict – Turns on the protection and ignores whitelists
ExchangeDefender recommends this setting be configured as Strict in order to protect from spoofing where clients own domain or vendor (that doesn’t have SPF/DKIM implemented) address is used to deliver a dangerous attachment. Using “Strict” setting bypasses whitelist checks so if the message contains dangerous content it will automatically go into SureSPAM even if the domain is whitelisted.
What do I tell the users?
First, set the setting to Strict. Then, adjust the date in the message below and make sure SureSPAM settings are set to Quarantine.
“Starting with January 1, 2019, ExchangeDefender will protect you from dangerous attachments that contain rarely used Microsoft Office macro (OLE) code. If dangerous macro code is detected in an attachment, message will go into SureSPAM category and if configured to quarantine the message will be accessible at https://admin.exchangedefender.com in the SureSPAM quarantine. We have enabled the protection for you. If you ever see a familiar contact/domain but you were not expecting the message, it’s likely being spoofed/forged in order to trick you to click on a dangerous attachment. Take an extra step and contact the sender asking them if they sent you a document. If not, delete the message.”
We hope this helps keep your users more secure and in our production use so far it’s helping stop 100% of dangerous content
The more SPAM stays the same, the more ways they find to get it through to your mailbox.
How we determine something to be SPAM vs legitimate mail is a bit of a science and it incorporates a ton of statistical analysis, data feeds, real-time blacklists, IP reputation scores, several antivirus products, several malware detection products, subscription services, etc. We pass each inbound message through almost all of these subsystems and assign it a score – as that score adds up the message becomes categorized as SPAM or SureSPAM based on the amount of UCE/malware/infected content the message has.
Every year we rebuild the ExchangeDefender engine to pull out things that no longer perform well, add new promising technologies, shift around the different plugins and so on. While ExchangeDefender filtering is updated in real-time and by tons of different vendors along with our in house technology, major improvements and technology shifts are necessary in order to prevent truly dangerous stuff from getting through. Unfortunately, this means that for about a week or two the amount of junk mail that gets through goes up as we reset all our scores, statistical models, weighs for different services and the implementation. While we wish we could just point and click, the process is far more complex than that, and requires delicate changes over a few days.
We appreciate your patience with us as we get the new engine online. The SPAM filtering levels should return to 100% shortly and we realize SPAM is annoying – which is why we’re doing this in the first place. Thank you for your business and trusting us with your email, we look forward to getting our best ever SPAM detection online shortly.
ExchangeDefender is in it’s final stage of Exchange 2016 migration which means tons of small business users are about to experience Exchange 2016 for the first time (coming from 2010, 2013 and even a few 2007 / virtualized SBS folks). While there are tons of advantages and features in 2016, nearly all of them are related to the back end/IT that will make your Exchange/Outlook experience much better. Yes, I can hear you yawning. 🙂
The most exciting thing about ExchangeDefender on Exchange 2016 is the extent to which we have templated, wizarded, and simplified the management of an Exchange 2016 organization – we’ve written tons of control panels and wizards that will make ordinary users as powerful as IT people with a ton of PowerShell experience. As a matter of fact, our Exchange 2016 UI will be on sale shortly as a separate product. All the cool stuff you read about Exchange 2016 is only accessible via PowerShell and coding, something that even an overwhelming majority of trained IT staff aren’t capable of doing effortlessly.
We looked at the Microsoft Exchange platform, surveyed our users, looked at all the tickets and requests we’ve had since the 2016 launch and we built a simple, easy to use, non-IT guy friendly way of managing Exchange 2016 and all it’s new features. This means that for an average organization, ExchangeDefender Exchange 2016 will be the most powerful platform they can get.
Microsoft has really changed the game in Exchange 2016 with massive improvements around the web – from MAPI over HTTP to Outlook on the Web. Outlook on the web will turn your web browser into something as similar and almost as powerful as your desktop Outlook application. In fact, all ExchangeDefender employees currently use Outlook on the Web as their primary email interface because the search component is flawless and we already spend the entire day in the browser.
MAPI over HTTP component is truly solid and will hopefully eliminate a ton of problems that 2003/07/10/13 users had with configuring their Outlook initially. With the new setup and autodiscover, apps will be able to quickly locate the right server and keep connecting even when there are backend maintenance or outage scenarios. So far so good though, 2016 has been rock solid leading us to..
As everyone that’s ever had to deal with Outlook and Exchange will tell you, it’s reliable but when you have an issue it’s usually big – well, not anymore. With better implementation of multiple roles, Managed Store, expanding archives and SharePoint Foundation Search the new version of Exchange can handle larger mailboxes, provide faster searches and assure smooth operation in event of failure.
We have been leveraging Expanding Archives to provide bigger (archived mail) mailboxes while making the recent messages on entirely different storage. The results are phenomenal and you will notice the difference immediately.
Everyone with an AutoDiscover record can be moved on demand, if you don’t have an auto discover record you will need to create one for your domain and point it to autodiscover.xd.email – beyond that Outlook will handle everything just requiring the user to run an online “repair” that takes just a few moments and doesn’t require downloading all of the email, creating a new profile, re-configuring everything and so on. If you don’t have an auto-discover yet you will need it – there is no more “manual” configuration.
We truly look forward to getting all of our clients on 2016 as fast as possible and have additional staff, documents, and resources to make this a successful move for everyone. Once moved, the power of our UI and management infrastructure will give you more flexibility over the Exchange management and implementation while also allowing you to run things without PowerShell, hacking or putting things together. That in fact is our biggest competitive advantage: You don’t need to be in IT to manage your email.
A new webinar for October 17th at noon has been scheduled! We’ve been working around the clock to provide our partners, and their clients new features that make all of our work process easier, and more effective. Cool things that are happening as of today, October 1st :
Exchange 2016, Finally
The new exchange 2016 comes with a lot of new features. We’re particularly excited about the ability to create shared mailboxes, and manage password and lockout policies.
You can now reset your recipients accounts (PIN+Password) in Corporate Encryption.
New ExchangeDefender SPAM Email Reports are launching on October 1st 2018 and we’ve made several significant changes to the look and feel based on user feedback.
You’ve only been waiting 20 years for this feature and we’re happy to finally deliver it: ExchangeDefender will now show friendly display names and email addresses, giving you a better idea of who the email sender is.
Watch ExchangeDefender’s CEO, Vlad Mazek discuss newsworthy topics to be discussed during the upcoming webinar on the 17th at noon. Stay tuned as we share key advancements of our products and within the company. Reserve for the webinar now!