Yenra : Anti Virus : Exchange Edge Services : Enhanced SMTP Implementation to protect from junk e-mail and viruses

Today in his keynote address at the RSA Conference 2004, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced that the company will deliver Microsoft Exchange Edge Services, an enhancement to the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) relay implementation in Exchange Server, part of the Windows Server System. With Exchange Edge Services, Microsoft will provide a new set of capabilities aimed at enabling customers to better protect their e-mail system from junk e-mail and viruses as well as improve the efficiency of handling and routing Internet e-mail traffic.

"The viability of the e-mail system as we know it is threatened by the constant deluge of information -- both wanted and unwanted -- that companies receive daily and hourly. We are striving to provide customers with the means to meet this challenge head on and preserve the integrity and productivity of their organization," said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Server Platform Division at Microsoft. "Exchange Edge Services will be a comprehensive way for customers to better protect their Exchange e-mail infrastructure and improve the efficiency of the handling of the tremendous amounts of incoming and outgoing e-mail traffic."

Exchange Edge Services will perform three major functions critical to overall e-mail protection, security and hygiene. As an SMTP relay, it will serve as an e-mail gatekeeper, for enhanced security and reliability when relaying e-mail to and from the Internet. It also will provide a variety of methods, built on the foundation already laid in Exchange Server 2003, to help block junk e-mail, and an extensibility infrastructure that industry partners can use to build and run anti-spam and anti-virus solutions. In addition, it will apply basic routing server rules, from relaying and address rewriting to format conversion, and provide the basic engine to allow an administrator to build custom rules.

One of the biggest challenges of the new millennium is the control and management of e-mail and its content. This new implementation of Exchange Edge Services helps address mission-critical concerns customers have about e-mail protection, security and hygiene. By taking advantage of the Windows networking infrastructure, Exchange Edge Services will provide customers with a number of different deployment and configuration options, including the option to take advantage of the Active Directory directory service and Internet Information Services.

"Many organizations today are running outdated legacy SMTP relay implementations," said Matt Cain, senior vice president at META Group Inc. "To ensure business continuity for e-mail services, we are strongly counseling clients to upgrade their mail relay infrastructures."

Exchange Edge Services gives industry partners a solid, extensible infrastructure to use to deliver innovative and robust solutions that help address customer needs for improved e-mail security and hygiene at the network boundary. Exchange Edge Services will provide a new way to extend the Windows- based infrastructure and can serve as an alternative to the complicated legacy systems used to protect the e-mail perimeter today.

With Exchange Edge Services, priority has been given to enabling greater control and flexibility over incoming and outgoing SMTP data, allowing industry partners to build solutions with anti-spam, anti-virus, secured messaging and content management capabilities. Partners will be able to build solutions that scan for viruses and help manage content security as well as support legacy Microsoft platforms and non-Microsoft operating systems. For partners with service offerings, Exchange Edge Services will provide another tool to deploy as part of a larger security solution.

Already partners such as Brightmail Inc., GFI Software Ltd., Network Associates Technology Inc., Panda Software, Sybari Software Inc., Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro Inc. have expressed excitement around this new software and intend to deliver solutions that further extend the capabilities of Exchange Edge Services.

Although it is critically important to provide a solution that offers protection at the client level, server level and the perimeter, Microsoft's philosophy is to block viruses and junk e-mail at the perimeter of the network, before they reach the end user and become harmful or distracting. Exchange Edge Services builds on the improvements in Exchange Server 2003 and the announcement of the Intelligent Message Filter.

Exchange Edge Services will include an intelligent, adaptive spam-filter and will feature the first implementation of the proposed Caller ID for E-Mail specification, which will help prevent domain spoofing and increase effectiveness of spam filters by verifying the original domain of a sent message. The filter will be the next evolution of the Intelligent Message Filter, built on SmartScreen Technology, which performs heuristics-based analysis to determine whether a message is junk e-mail.

Together with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, Exchange 2003 helps block both malicious content and junk e-mail at the gateway and client levels, thereby helping put control of the inbox back into the hands of users. Support for safe and blocked senders lists, domain spoofing prevention, and a range of other spam-blocking and spam-filtering techniques built into the core Exchange 2003 product allows IT administrators to focus on maintaining a healthy network, thereby helping keep end users more productive. Exchange 2003 also was designed to better integrate with third-party products. The updated virus-scanning API (VSAPI version 2.5) and junk e-mail filter spam confidence level (SCL) rating property enable partners to deliver more-integrated and more-effective solutions. In addition, the Exchange version of the recently announced Intelligent Message Filter will be released in the coming months, enabling Exchange 2003 customers to further protect messaging systems.