The Exchange 2003 IMF is a MF allright
April 13, 2010 10:18 AM   Subscribe

How to adjust Exchange 2003's IMF settings - or, alternatively, edit everybody's 'safe senders' lists in Outlook - to stop's emails from winding up in the JunkMail folder? Because all the proposed 'whitelisting' options for Exchange 2003 kind of suck.

I have many email users on an Exchange 2003 server using IMF (Intelligent Message Filter) - and emails from are getting incorrectly scored as spam by IMF and winding up in people's 'Junk Mail' folders.

Common problem, right? You'd think there would be a real straightforward way to adjust the IMF settings, and/or whitelist all incoming mail from for all 100+ users.

However, every proposed solution I have found says otherwise. Exchange 2003 apparently doesn't want to let admins edit people's 'safe senders' lists, nor do anything in the way of domain whitelisting. The particular configuration of this Exchange server also makes some of the normal solutions (i.e. whitelist by sending server's IP) unworkable.

So: I'm at the tail end of a few hours Googling on this and am no closer to a solution. Here are the proposed workaround/options for 'whitelisting' in Exchange 2003 with IMF, and why they are inadequate here:

a) I cannot adjust the "global accept list" to whitelist via IP address because all incoming email is coming from 1 upstream mailserver that is doing some other mail management.
(The delivery chain here is: internet -> hosting provider -> Server A -> This Exchange server). So all incoming email looks like it's coming from Server A's IP, and always will.

b) The msgfilter.dll option only whitelists recipients, not senders

c) SMTP address "block list service configuration settings" is also a recipient-only filtering option

d) Similarly, Connection filtering -> Configure an Exception to the block list only lets you specify recipients to exclude, not senders.

e) The ucecontentfilter.xml option whitelists only by BODY and SUBJECT content - not by senders, domains, etc.

f) I can't even pop in everybody's mail via OWA and whitelist by hand - because I don't have these people's passwords. Nor do I want to reset/notify 100+ enduser passwords just to whitelist a single domain. The option from people who have written VB scripts to do just this are also out for the exact same reasons.

g) I've read up on the "Using a GPO to deploy safe senders list" but this, to me, looks like it wipes out everybody existing safe senders lists and replaces it with the one you provide. This is bad.

You know what I wanted? Something along the lines of Right-Click user, "adjust safe senders" list, edit list, done. Or something as simple as "whitelist by domain" inside Exchange Mgr->Global Settings->Message delivery.

Anyone out there have alternate solutions to this that I am missing?
How can I edit/adjust all the current users safe senders lists to whitelist emails from
posted by bhance to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Body keyword whitelisting would probably get you about 95% of the way there. If you add ImportantCompany's name, phone number, and "" to your whitelist, you'll pick up the vast majority of e-mail coming from there, and very little spam.
posted by pocams at 10:49 AM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: As a followup, does not always mention its name, URL, and/or telephone number in the body and/or subject of its messages.

Their emails can consist of, say, one PDF attachment and the words "Here is your May invoice"
posted by bhance at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2010

I'd almost be tempted to eliminate IMF filtering altogether, and look at another option which allows whitelisting (although there's a link from your first link to an IMF improver application which is non-free).

For instance, I'm a big fan of linux proxy mail servers (running postfix, spamassassin, and an antivirus application (tied together with amavis)). For the cost of the hardware, you've got a very flexible mail filter, which allows white-, black-, and grey-listing (the new hotness!). Hell, if you've got a VM host somewhere (vmware, MS virtual server) you could do it on a virtual machine*. But that's just me.

*Note: proper placement for a mail proxy would be in a DMZ network. But if you're just going to use it as mailfilter-plus having it internal is.. better than nothing.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:53 PM on April 14, 2010

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