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Free Exchange add-on picks up native spam filtering slack

It's no secret that Exchange administrators hate spam. Protect users with a free add-on that bolsters Exchange’s native spam filtering.

Only spammers like spam, or at least spammers like the money it generates. Exchange administrators hate spam more than users because they have to clean up the mess. And although each new version of Exchange Server has been equipped with better spam-protection technology, sometimes using a third-party product is the way to ensure that spam stays out of your organization.

One such useful third-party add-on available to control spam in Exchange Server is Valetta, Malta-based WinDeveloper Software’s IMF Tune. The product lets you adjust the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) and provides functionality that isn't available through its default interface.

Some of IMF Tune’s key features include:

  • Multiple SCL thresholds -- Uses the spam-confidence level (SCL) to determine whether a message is spam or not. Normally, an administrator is only allowed to set the SCL higher or lower. IMF Tune lets admins assign more specific behaviors to email messages that match various SCL levels. For example, admins can reroute a suspicious message to a different email address instead of blocking it entirely.

  • External spam-management integration -- Scans messages (headers, subject lines, bodies) for keywords that other spam-management products might have inserted. This allows appliances to block questionable messages that add X-SPAM headers without Exchange Server having to further process the message.
  • Advanced rules construction -- Blocks messages based on the presence of specific terms during an SMTP EHLO/HELO conversation; this is a new option for admins. You can also combine rules to allow the flow of messages that include specific terms.
  • Flexible message quarantining -- Isolates quarantined messages to a disk or to an optional SQL Server database.
  • Whitelisting / blacklisting -- Maintains whitelists and blacklists and classifies them using a range of parameters.

IMF Tune includes a separate moderator/reporting interface that’s accessible via the Web. The interface doesn’t have to be installed on the server that’s running Exchange; however, it does require an instance of SQL Server (the free SQL Server Express edition is sufficient). You can unblock messages or examine mail that IMF has quarantined, look at spam statistics and perform a number of other administrative functions using the interface.

IMF Tune is compatible with Exchange Server 2003 through Exchange Server 2010 versions and runs on all Windows Server versions starting with Windows 2003.

Serdar Yegulalp
has been writing about computers and IT for more than 15 years for a variety of publications, including,, InformationWeek and Windows magazine.

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