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Stop those unwanted messages

How to block specific senders or apply blanket restrictions using rules.

No doubt about it, spam is getting worse. One thing we can do is apply the appropriate filters at the Outlook client or Exchange server. The former means you'd have to apply the filters throughout your organization which is a time-consuming process. The latter is quicker, but applies a blanket policy on your e-mail domain. You have to choose which approach is best suited for your organization's needs.

A user had complaints of receiving an unwanted email message, which was being received in the Inbox once daily. I had two options to resolve this issue:

  • On the user workstation apply a rule in Outlook that would permanently delete this mail.
  • Enable message filtering on the Exchange server.

Because it was only this user that was affected, I decided to use the first option. Here's the procedure:

  • In the rules wizard, click New.
  • Under "Which type of rule do you want to create?" select "Check messages when they arrive.' Then click next.
  • Under "which condition(s) do you want to check?" I used "with specific words in the subject." In here I included the identical words in the subject of the email. Click next. (Note: Because spammers are getting much more devious, you may have to revisit this setting periodically.)
  • Then under "What do you want to do with the message?" You can select the option that pertains to your requirements. In my case I selected "Permanently delete." Click next.
  • If you wish you can select any exceptions.
  • Click finish.

But you might want to apply a blanket restriction, as, for example, when someone is spamming large numbers of your users. In such a case, you will have to enable a message filter on the Exchange server

Here's how, in Exchange 5.5:

  • In Exchange administrator, double-click on the Internet Mail Service.
  • Click on the connections tab.
  • Click on the message-filtering button. Click the Add Button to enter an email address that you want to prevent going out to users mailboxes.
  • If you entered an email address to be blocked the delete messages check box is checked automatically to delete the message once received by the exchange server.

In Exchange 2000, here's what you do:

  • Open the Exchange System Manager
  • Expand the Global Settings
  • Right-Click Message Delivery and select Properties
  • Select the Filtering Tab
  • Click the add button. This will display the add sender dialog box
  • Here you can enter the email address that you would like to add to the filter list.

In this screen you will also be presented with three check boxes. You can select the one that fits your choice.

Once the process above is completed you will then need to enable the filter message on the SMTP Virtual Server. Here's how:

  • Open Exchange System Manager.
  • Navigate down to your server.
  • Expand the protocols container under your server.
  • Expand the SMTP container.
  • Right-click on the virtual server that you would like to apply your filtering to and select properties.
  • Click the advanced button.
  • Select the relevant IP address and then click on edit.
  • Select the Apply Filter checkbox.

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

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