Overview of new outgoing mail anti-spam services:
Outbound spam or UBE (unsolicited bulk email) is the sending of messages from our servers to external recipients. Such outbreaks, while stopped quickly will temporarily damage the reputation of the sending server. You may have witnessed the result of this as a server being temporarily blocked or "blacklisted" which impacts your ability to send mail to some recipients. It's a rare exception that the sending of such messages is actual malicious user intent (which we have a zero tolerance policy for).
Nearly all outbound spam that originates from our servers comes from two sources:
1. Compromised and/or exploited email accounts
2. Insecure or exploited web applications, scripts and FTP accounts
Issue number one commonly occurs from weak, easily guessed email passwords or users who may have systems infected with password gathering exploits (e.g. virus, trojans or malware). We've done our best to control outbreaks through further security within the mail servers such as brute force hacking detection and enforcing stronger password requirements. Unfortunately, these measures can only go so far and accounts are susceptible to compromise and exploitation.
Issue number two occurs from insecure and/or exploited web applications, scripts and FTP accounts. Spammers and hackers use insecure content such as contact forms, upload scripts, user forums, and other applications (virtually any script that can send mail) to send spam. In some cases, these individuals are able to modify or upload their own scripts and applications. Lastly, like email accounts, FTP accounts can sometimes have easily guessed or compromised passwords from a variety of sources.
With tens of thousands of email users across numerous email systems, spam outbreaks and the resulting server blacklisting occurrences have become routine and problematic. Thousands of messages can be sent within minutes causing hours or days of costly damage and delays. Our ongoing goal is to eliminate such issues.
For outgoing mitigation, we have partnered with MailChannels (http://www.mailchannels.com) to bring innovative, industry leading, cloud based outbound spam filtering and blacklisting mitigation to all shared mail servers. The primary benefit is that the MailChannels platform handles the delivery of email to your recipients. Mailchannels identifies and effectively stops spam with a combination of user reputation tracking, policy checks, IP address re-mapping, and notifications. MailChannels unique, powerful approach defends and protects against both spam abuse, compromised accounts and blacklisting, transparently with a high degree of accuracy and minimal interaction. We are bringing this service to all shared and managed clients using shared mail services at no additional cost!
After all of our shared mail infrastructure is updated to the latest version of SmarterMail, we will steadily implement the use of MailChannels for outgoing spam filtering. We anticipate a full deployment and utilization by late January 2014.