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A mail exchange spam filter – or MX spam filter for short – is an essential security measure that prevents unwanted and malicious spam email messages from being delivered to end users.
Spam email is one of the most common vectors for malware and ransomware delivery. Many of the most devastating malware attacks in recent years occurred as a result of spam emails being sent to employees.
The massive 2015 data breach at U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc., occurred as a result of malware that was delivered via spam email. That infection enabled the attackers to steal 78.8 million plan members’ records and the breach will reportedly cost more than $100 million to resolve.
All it takes is for one employee to open an infected email attachment or click on a malicious link in a spam email for an organization’s network to be compromised. Training employees how to recognize spam emails can help to reduce the risk of them inadvertently installing malware; however, an MX spam filter will prevent emails from being delivered and will ensure employees’ malicious email identification skills are not regularly put to the test.
The normal process of sending an email involves your email client – Microsoft Outlook for example – sending the message to your outbound email server. The outbound email server then checks a DNS server to find out the MX record that corresponds to the email address in the ‘to’ field. The MX record is used to direct that email to the inbound email server of the intended recipient. That inbound email server then delivers the message to the recipient’s email client – their Outlook inbox for example.
When an MX spam filter is used, the inbound email server – and in some cases also the outbound email server – are replaced with the server of the provider of the spam filter. All emails are therefore directed through the service provider’s server. The software on the server performs a range of checks to determine if the email is genuine and should be delivered, or if it is spam and should be quarantined, deleted, or rejected.
If the email is malware free and not spam, it is delivered to the inbound email server of the recipient organization and is then directed to the intended recipient’s inbox. This reduces the load on your inbound email server and ensures that end users only receive clean, malware-free emails.
A cloud-based MX spam filter is usually the most practical choice for organizations looking to block spam email messages. There is no need to purchase any additional hardware and neither install any software on servers or PCs. To start filtering out spam, all that is required is to sign up with an MX spam filter provider; make a small change to the MX record on the inbound email server, and configure the solution to suit your organization’s needs. The whole process takes a matter of minutes.
An MX spam filter uses a variety of methods to differentiate between genuine emails which need to be delivered and spam messages which need to be quarantined, deleted, or rejected. The first check performed by the spam filter is to compare the email address and IP address of the sender against global blacklists of known spammers.
However, spammers constantly change IP addresses and email addresses to fool spam filters. Additional methods of spam detection are therefore required to increase spam detection rates. Greylisting is a technique that greatly improves the spam catch rate. Emails that are suspected of being spam are sent back to their respective outbound mail servers and are requested to be resent. If the request is denied or the email is not resent within a set time frame, the message is categorized as spam. Spammers conduct huge runs of spam emails and their outbound mail servers do not tend to process these requests to resend the emails. This technique is particularly effective at blocking emails sent from new IP addresses and email accounts that have yet to be added to global spam blacklists.
Malicious links and infected email attachments must also be blocked. To do this, an MX spam filter will use an antivirus engine to analyze email attachments and assess embedded hyperlinks in the emails. Some spam filters also include an anti-phishing component to block phishing emails.
SpamTitan Cloud is a powerful, 100% cloud-based enterprise-class MX spam filter from TitanHQ. Being cloud-based, SpamTitan Cloud requires no hardware purchases or software installations. This highly scalable antispam solution is suitable for organizations of all sizes, from single employee businesses to multi-national corporations.
The solution is also quick and easy to install. All that is required before emails can be filtered is for an organization’s MX record to be changed to direct messages to SpamTitan’s mail server.
In addition to a powerful inbound email filter, SpamTitan Cloud also assesses outbound emails for spam and malware to prevent organizations’ domains, IP addresses, and email accounts from being added to spam blacklists.
SpamTitan Cloud has an exceptionally high spam detection rate of 99.97% with an ultra-low false positive rate of just 0.03%. Thanks to dual antivirus engines from ClamAV and Bitdefender, 100% of known malware will be blocked and prevented from being delivered to end users’ inboxes.
The solution is managed through an intuitive web-based interface which can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection and the solution includes a full suite of reporting and monitoring features.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and resellers can be supplied with SpamTitan Cloud in white label format ready for custom branding. The solution can also be supplied with a range of APIs for easy integration with third-party management tools. SpamTitan is available with a range of hosting options and can be hosted within an MSPs own infrastructure or in a private cloud.
If you are unsure whether SpamTitan will be right for your organization, you have the option of a free, no-obligation 30-day trial. During the trial you will benefit from full customer and technical support, with no obligation to purchase a license at the end of the trial.
If you have any questions about SpamTitan Cloud or would like to take advantage of the free 30-day trial, contact us today and a member of our friendly sales team will be happy to answer your questions and guide you through the installation process.
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