The software extends and builds on the standard security features found in Exchange, specifically the mail server's Intelligent Message Filter (IMF), John Young, president of Nemx Software told ServerWatch. It also features nonsignature-based virus detection, SURBL interfacing, and detection of spoofed NDRs.
Although Power Tools runs only on Exchange, it by no means plays in a niche market. Exchange commands a 31 percent share of the corporate messaging market, which translates into an installed base of about 1.14 billion mailboxes, a February 2004 report from the Radicati Group said.
Nemx Software beefs up Microsoft's IMF technology, which was unveiled earlier this year. IMF provides server-side message filtering and heuristics-based message analysis, but its capabilities stop there. Power Tools 5.0 expands on this to offer a wider spectrum of filtering actions. Admins can define and control SCL thresholds at various levels within their Exchange organization (including servers, groups, and mailboxes) and assign different reactions to each level.
Young cited an educational institution as one place where where such customization would be valuable. For example, staff members receiving pornographic spam could have the offending message automatically moved to a subfolder, but the same message sent to students would be deleted.
Power Tools 5.0 features a variety of other detection and preventive components to further tighten Exchange security: nonsignature-based detection of new, unknown viruses and malware; detection of various spoofing techniques used to provide nondelivery reports (NDR); and Spam URL Real-Time Block Lists (SURBL).
Power Tools 5.0's proactive malware detection feature catches viruses and other malicious software before virus signatures have been released. Power Tools 5.0 sends every message with an executable attachment that hits the mail server to a virtual server, where it is then examined to ensure it does not contain a virus, Young said. He noted that during testing, 64 percent of viruses were caught this way and never hit the network.
Power Tools 5.0 extends to SURBLs, blocking messages in real time based on the domain names that appear within message body URLs. By adding SURBL collaborative functionality to the Exchange server, e-mail messages containing previously reported URLs are tagged, increasing the overall "Spam Confidence Level" of the message. Power Tools 5.0 also includes self-updating capabilities for the SURBLs, RBL, and Concept Manager functionalities, so administrators no longer need to manually update definitions.
Finally, Power Tools 5.0 has functionality to prevent attacks from spam campaigns or virus outbreaks with spoofed e-mail addresses. By thoroughly reading the NDR headers, spoofed messages are identified and diverted before an e-mail message penetrates the server, thus reducing the amount of mail to be processed.
The Advanced and Internet Editions of Power Tools for Exchange Server 5.0 are available for immediate purchase. The product is priced starting at $999 for a 50-user license and $495 for the Internet Edition. Further pricing is dependent on the specific components selected and number of connectors or mailboxes. For a limited time, the IMF/SCL component is available for $249.