We have some exciting news about our spam prevention series. The upgrade to FreeBSD 9 and overall refactoring was not the only treatment the SP series got this autumn and winter. We have collected feedback and performed evaluations of how our customers uses the web interfaces, trying to figure out what the best possible reporting and logging experience would be like. Read on to see what this has resulted in.
We have migrated to the new web interface from the security router series. That means a prettier UI, faster loading times, the ability to link directly to certain views using URLs with query strings, and better utilisation of your screen’s full width.
Let’s start with the mail tracking. The new UI provides some benefits of its own; displaying more information, auto-scaling all columns, and faster loading. We have combined the history, queue and quarantine within the same page. It’s pageable with a variable page size, so that you can view as many messages as you like per page. It has multi-select actions, for better queue management (viewing perhaps 1000 messages matching a certain search query, and bouncing them all). Finally, the “eye” icon brings up an inspector which you can use to view details for a message by just hovering items in the list.
The new log searcher is a lot faster than the previous, and can render thousands of lines without hogging your web browser. Most importantly, it can search multiple cluster nodes at the same time, viewing the number of hits (in real-time) per cluster node as a green badge. In that way, you can start a search for an IP address, and then ask someone to try sending the message again, and you will (when tailing in real-time) see a green badge on the cluster node which received the connection. Extremely handy.
The new reporting and graphs are based on the SR series code. That means a new statd which is fast, produces beautiful graphs, with real-time graphs, customisable legends, etc. Best of all is however that you can graph anything you like. To start with, you can create legends yourself; just look at the pie chart in the bottom right width the edit button clicked. You can even use math expressions to calculate values. Even cooler, you can use the new HSL stat() function in any flow, producing counters for whatever you like. There counters automatically becomes graphs and pie charts. I believe this is the most powerful reporting available in any mail security product ever. Perhaps any appliance.
Scripting, such as the system authentication script that allows for remote authentication and custom access levels, has become a lot better thanks to a great scripting editor with syntax highlighting and the ability to test the script using a “sandbox environment”.
The new web UI from the SR series doesn’t only bring nice real-time graphs, but also a true ANSI terminal.
We have made the already awesome clustering a lot easier to configure; with one “create cluster” guide joining two initial units, and one “add node” guide for adding a third, fourth, etc node to an existing cluster.
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you’re certainly not alone (and not using our spam filters). At about 7 pm yesterday (Swedish time) someone thought it would be a good idea to send a massive burst of spam. It seems that for many of our customers, that single spam outbreak accounted for as much as 70-90% of the total traffic. It seems that all of them used “yahoo.nl” as sender domain, which (unsurprisingly) doesn’t use SPF.
Fortunately, the combination of Commtouch’s RPD and our own (Halon) outbreak signatures was able to block it entirely, from 6 pm.
We can see that a lot of this was also blocked at IP level. The “normal” amount of IP blocks is almost invisible in the graphs, compared to the spam outbreak. I’ve removed the axis of the graphs, but let me tell you this. One of our customers, which is a large hosting provider, blocked more than 4 million of those per hour. That sure is a pretty persistent spammer.
We said to ourselves; “wouldn’t graphs that update every second with live data be useful”, and a few hours later the statd process was tweaked to output 1-second measurements of traffic, CPU, firewall states, etc. and the graph library was modified to dynamically populate data-points (in addition to the “historical” rrdtool file format support that it currently has).
API-wise, this translates into the commandRun API. The normal graphs, populated over time, is fetched using the graphFile API call, which takes an argument such as “interface-em0-packets” and returns the raw rrdtool database data. For real-time graphs, this translates into executing “statd -g interface-em0-packets” using the command-API. While we were at it, we added both “historical” and real-time graphs for firewall states.
In the web user interface, add graphs as usual, and select “Real-time” as time interval (instead of Recent, Day or whatever it says).
Today, on the 2nd of September we release 126.96.36.199. Neat, right?
Among the new features you’ll find the DNSSEC trusting the newly signed root anchor, administration user interface improvements and the usual stability and performance enhancements.
Now why would you care? Well, this could be your first step into the next generation of e-mail security. Why not start DKIM tagging when you’re at it?
There are small, yet useful features are well. Let’s say you want to implement a reporting rate control in your outgoing recipient flow, so that users or servers doesn’t send outgoing spam. In this example, we do this per-username ($saslusername, a pre-defined variable in the recipient flow) limiting the number of e-mail to 100 every hour, while sending at most one warning e-mail to the administrator about this every day and per user.
The Halon MTA is a flexible email operations and security platform.
It enables organisations that operate large-scale email services to offer competitive features by rapid implementation
and to lower maintenance costs through reliable deployment and reduced complexity.