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IMF Tune - Bringing Back the Exchange Connection Filter
IMF Tune - Bringing Back the Exchange Connection Filter

What's New in IMF Tune v3.0

May 23, 2007

Contents:

Disk Maintenance

IMF Tune v3.0 completely overhauls the way it works with log files and archived emails. To begin, here are the limitations we are addressing:

  1. Since its first release, IMF Tune allowed the separation of log files and archived emails based on SCL ratings. However this could involve the configuration of many disk path settings.

  2. On naming logs and archive directories, administrators often choose names reflecting the SCL rating. For example the log file for SCL range 7 to 9 is often named something like 'scl7_to_scl9.log'. However these names become inconsistent as soon as the SCL range is modified, unless archiving and logging configurations are also updated.

  3. Earlier IMF Tune versions would initiate a new log whenever the file reached 10MB, a limit that was not configurable. Also there was no way to initiate new logs on daily basis.

  4. IMF Tune provided no form of backup and purging of disk files. This could lead to disk space depletion.

The new IMF Tune functionality addresses all of these limitations as explained in the sections that follow.

 

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Email Archive Maintenance

The Archive Maintenance settings are located under Disk Maintenance | Archiving.

Archive Maintenance

Here we configure the default email archive directory. As we shall see, this path will allow us to centralize the configuration of SCL based archiving.

Archive Maintenance also includes configuration for the compression and backup of emails. Here we can identify the number of days emails must age before being backed-up. Following that we can also instruct IMF Tune to regularly delete these backups. In this manner we free up disk space once the backup ages by the specified number of days.

Disk Maintenance also includes an update under the SCL Archive configuration. Under the Global Thresholds category select an SCL range and click Edit. From here select Archiving to expose the new options:

SCL Archiving

The archive directory path may now be configured in one of three ways. The first two methods make use of Archive Maintenance. The third allows us to directly specify the archive path ignoring maintenance settings. However if choosing the third option, we lose the backup and purging functionality Archive Maintenance provides.

Using Archive Maintenance we can choose to either save emails at the root or under an automatically generated sub-directory. IMF Tune takes care to name sub-directories using the SCL range, for example 'imfeml_scl6_scl7' is used for archiving emails within the range SCL6 to SCL7. Furthermore in case the SCL range is modified the sub-directory names are also changed automatically.

 

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Log Maintenance

Log Maintenance configuration is located under Disk Maintenance | Logs/Reports. Here we again find all the functionality provided under Archive Maintenance. In addition we can also instruct IMF Tune to break log files by date and by size.

Log/Reports Maintenance

Again just like for archiving, SCL Logging was updated to enable Log Maintenance integration.

SCL Logging

 

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Keyword Reporting

Keyword Reporting is a completely new feature that allows us to see how emails are matching the IMF Tune white/black lists and SCL Rules.

Keyword Reporting

Configuration simply involves enabling and identifying the report file path. Again Disk Maintenance can be allowed to manage, backup and purge report files.

The report is HTML formatted and is especially useful when verifying configuration effectiveness. If we are uncertain why an email was blacklisted, if we are uncertain whether a rule is only matching the intended class of emails, then this is the report to look at.

Report File

 

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Advanced SCL Rules

One of the hottest new features is certainly the support for Advanced SCL Rules. Up to IMF Tune v2.8 we had SCL Management. This functionality is still available and is now located under SCL Rules | Simple. Move to SCL Rules | Advanced to discover the new Rules Wizard functionality.

SCL Advanced Rules

Advanced Rules allow the configuration of a set of Conditions and Exceptions that must be satisfied for an Action to be applied. With Advanced rules we get a completely new level of flexibility. For example we can have a subject white list that only applies to a specific mailbox.

The Rules Wizard layout is very intuitive. The following screenshots show the condition selection, action configuration and the final summary step:

Rule Conditions

Rule Action

Rule Summary

 

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New Email Filtering Criteria

IMF Tune provides access to more email properties than ever. The following is the list of the new properties available:

  • Email processing date
  • Email Size
  • Attachment Names
  • Presence of any attachments
  • Presence of an HTML body
  • Email body character set
  • Email content media type
  • MS IMF SCL rating
  • EHLO/HELO SMTP Protocol command data

Access to these properties can greatly improve filtering. For example rules can be assigned a start and an end time. Spam is typically small in size, rendering the email size useful in enhancing filtering rules. Filtering by attachment name or extension could ensure business critical documents are not blocked. Character set information is useful when blocking foreign spam.

 

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Improved Sender Based Filtering

Earlier IMF Tune versions matched sender addresses against the SMTP MAIL FROM protocol address. However email clients (such as Outlook) typically show the sender address read from the headers. This may not always match the MAIL FROM address, sometimes leading to the impression that sender filtering is not working.

As from version 3 IMF Tune will process sender addresses against all of the following:

  • MAIL FROM protocol address
  • From header
  • Sender header
  • Resent-From header
  • Resent-Sender header

 

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Processing MIME Body Part Headers

So far IMF Tune header processing was largely based on RFC2822. This meant that only the initial header block would be extracted and processed.

Version 3 was now extended to process headers for MIME encoded body parts. If for example a rule is setup to match the Content-Type MIME header, IMF Tune would process that against each occurrence found within any of the body parts.

 

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Known Issues

The following is a list of known issues with the current IMF Tune v3.0 build.

  • Documentation is outdated. Currently the IMF Tune v2.8 documentation is being included.

  • IMF Tune Configuration Backup tool (IMFTBak.exe) is not included. A new version of this tool will be available by final release.

 

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Version Information

This information applies to the first beta release of IMF Tune v3.0 build number 3.0.105.15. If IMF Tune is already installed you can verify the current build number from the configuration under the WinDeveloper category.

 

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