SEM – SPAMfighter Exchange Module – Installation and Configuration with Exchange 2013

KB ID 0000824 


“I seem to get a lot of spam”, and “I get a lot more spam than I used to” are right up there with “My computer is running slow”. It’s a problem that, eats up users time and fills your mail stores with junk, and time/disk space costs money.

SEM is tiny! In a world where a graphics driver is now over 100MB the entire install suite is less than 11MB. This is going into my test network so testing its ability to limit spam is NOT the point of this exercise, I’m looking at the ease of installation, configuration, and administration.

SEM Pre-Requisites

1. Exchange 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013.

2. Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2003 R2, 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012.

3. .Net framework version 2.0 (SP1).

4. MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components) version 2.7.

5. Internet Information Services.


Before You Start

1. If you have already installed the Microsoft Anti Spam agents you might want to remove them, (not that you have to). If you don’t know you can run the following command;


If you just have the four below then you DO NOT have the extra agents installed.


2. If yours looks like the one below, then YOU DO have them installed.

Exchange 2013 Antispam Agents

3. As stated you don’t have to remove them but if you want to simply execute the following two commands;

cd "Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV15Scripts"

Remove Antispam Agents

4. Answer each question, then run;


Powershell Services

5. Restart the Microsoft Exchange Transport service.

Restart Transport Service

Install SPAMfighter

6. Download the installer, and run it.

Spamfighter SEM

7. The installer is pretty straight forward > Next > Accept the EULA > Next > Enter your details > Next > Accept or change the install location > Next.

Spam Control 2013

8. The product will install.

Stop Spam Exchange 2013

9. At this point it’s downloading definitions form the internet, and it will take a while.

Exchange 2013 AV Download

10. When complete it needs to setup a user that the services will run under. Just supply a password > Next.

Note: This user (by default) is added to the local administrators group, and the Exchange Organization Management group.

Spamfighter service account

11. Finish.

Launch spamfighter

12. The management console installs on TCP port 5000, so if you need to access it through a firewall you will need to open that port.

Spamfighter port number

13. Toolbars Tab: From here, I’ll jump straight to the configuration section, this drops you straight onto the Plugins tab. From here you can change the logo that will be displayed with the toolbar (this is NOT visible with Outlook 2013). You can also change the URL it points to and adding rights to users.

Spamfighter toolbar

14. Toolbar Tab > Outlook Toolbar: On a client running Outlook > Download Outlook Toolbar > Run the installer.

Note: The installer is a .exe file, I would have preferred a .msi file, so I could deploy this out (on mass), to domain clients via GPO.

Spamfighter Outlook Toolbar

15. Next > Accept the EULA > Next > Next.

SEM Toolbar

16. Finish.

Instal Outlook Toolbar

17. Now when you launch Outlook you can see the plugin loading.

Spamfighter plugin loading

18. You will now have an extra toolbar with the following options.

Outlook 2013 Spamfighter Toolbar

BE AWARE: You install the OWA toolbar ONCE on the Exchange CAS server.

19. Toolbars > Outlook Web Application: Install OWA toolbar.

OWA Toolbar

20. Yes.

Install OWA Toolbar

21. Now when your clients access OWA, you have the toolbar.

EXchange 2013 OWA Toolbar

22. Latest news: Essentially this is just an RSS feed from the manufacturer to keep you abreast of software updates etc. If you have some RSS aggregation software you can add this same feed.

Spamfighter RSS

23. Mailbox Tab > Mailboxes: Here it will list all the mailboxes, by default the ‘Default policy’ will be applied and virus filtering will NOT be enabled (this is an add on license). you can also access statistics for this particular mailbox, and view quarantined emails. The User filter settings are for applying an exception for this one mailbox (I’ll cover this later). If you can’t locate a particular user there is also a search function.

Mailbox properties

24. Mailbox Tab > Usergroups: Usergroups are used to apply policies, any new group requires you to maintain membership manually. But if your Active Directory is well designed, you can select your SPAMfighter groups based on your OU structure.

Create spamfighter usergrouop

SEM – SPAMfighter – Configuring and Working with Policies

This is pretty intuitive, and the default policy comes preconfigured and already applied, though with all filtering systems it will probably take you a little while to get it streamlined to your requirements. The policies section has four main tabs;

Filter Settings: What tools you are going to use to look for spam.
Accept Actions: What it will do if it finds nothing.
Block Actions: What it will do if it finds something.
User Filter settings: Exceptions to the filters for one or more users.
Mailboxes: Puts you straight back to the mailbox section you saw earlier.

25. Out of the box there are five filters enabled.

Spamfighter policies

26. But there are four further filters that you can add to the policies.

Add in policy filters

SPAMfighter – Filters

27. VIRUSfighter Antivirus Filter for SPAMfighter Exchange Module: Remember this is an ‘Add on’ so it would only apply to mailboxes that have this enabled. It’s on its most conservative setting, and will replace the infected email with safe content.

virusfighter policy

28. SPAMfighter Sender Filter > Whitelist:Simply add either a particular email address you want to allow or add in an entire domain.

whitelist 2013 senders

29. If your lists get a little unwieldy you can import or export them, and chose weather to overwrite them or append the imported list to your existing list.

Exchange 2013 import whitelist

30. And where there is a Whitelist there is a Blacklist, it’s configured exactly the same.

Blacklist Exchange 2013

31. Automatic Whitelist: This is a brilliant feature! It dynamically adds the addresses our users send to to the Whitelist, and maintains the cache for 10 days (which you can alter). I’m surprised this is disabled by default.

Note: This will be enabled by default in the next release.

Automatic Whitelist

32. SPAMfighter Content Filter > Whitelist phrases: Gives you the power to automatically Whitelist emails based on a phrase they contain i.e. Your corporate email disclaimer or default signature.

Spam content filter 2013

33. SPAMfighter Content Filter > Blacklist phrases: As the warning says be careful with this section, this is the sort of thing that is handy for blocking “We attempted to deliver your parcel but were unable to” emails that urge you to click an attached zip file full of infected spyware nastiness.

Spam blacklist phrase

34. SPAMfighter Content Filter > Whitelist Attachments: Here you can upload an attachments (like your company logo from your email signatures) and the system will whitelist and allow through emails containing them.

Exchange 2013 whitelist attachment

35. SPAMfighter Content Filter > Blacklist Attachments: Thankfully this is disabled by default, the list of file extensions is quite long, and contains some commonly used file extensions, You will need to do some planning and testing with this one if you want to enable it.

Exchange 2013 block attachments

36. SPAMfighter Community Filter: This will filter mail based on mails that have already been blocked by other SPAMfighter users, it uses a scoring/weighting system. You simply set a threshold the higher you set it the more mail will be stopped, this will require some fine tuning.

spamfighter community filter

37. SPAMfighter Language Filter:This is enabled by default, but no languages are selected (which is sensible). If you are never expecting any emails in Chinese you can block them here.

Exchange 2013 stop languages

SPAMfighter Filters that you can Manually Add to the Policy.

38. SPAMfighter IP-address Filter: Pretty much does what it says on the tin! Though blocking spammers by IP address is a little hard to manage, and it’s pretty easy to spoof an IP address anyway, which is probably when this is not on the default policy.

IP address filter block Exchange 2013

39. SPAMfighter Sender Policy Framework Filter: Personally I think you would be crazy to turn this on! If you don’t know what an SPF record is then read the following article.

Setting up the Correct DNS Records for your Web or Mail Server

Exchange 2013 SPF filtering

40. SPAMfighter DNSBL Filter: A DNSBL is a dynamic DNS list of known spammers, if you are familiar with RBL block lists this is similar.

Exchange 2013 DNSBL filter

41. SPAMfighter Combined Spam Score Filter: All the other filters check the mail and give it a score, if the score is higher than a certain threshold this this filter will aggregate all those scores and block the mail.

Spam Score

SPAMfighter – Policies > Accept Actions

42. If the mail makes it through all the filters, then this section decides what happens with it.

Accept Actions

43. And that is adding information to the mail header that says the mail was scanned and accepted.

Modify email header

SPAMfighter – Policies > Block Actions

44. If the mail gets blocked by any of the filters, this section decides how that is handled.

Note: You can add other actions from the drop-down list below if this does not do what you require.

Block Actions

45. Just as for the accept policy action, this modifies the email header, though this one says the mail was blocked.

Inject into header

46. SPAMfighter Move To Folder Policy Action > Mailboxes : The second default policy action takes that filtered email and places it within a folder called SPAMfighter within the users mailbox.

Note: You can redirect that mail to another mailbox if that is your preference.

Redirect Spam

47. The system for Public Folders (if you use them) is identical.

Public Folder Spam Solution

48. Contacts: As is says contacts do not have a mailbox, but you can redirect filters contact mail to a specific mailbox should you wish.

Scan contact mail for spam

49. User Filter Settings: This section can create an exception for one particular user, it simply creates another policy that you can apply to that user.

User Filter Settings

50. You can create new policies and apply then to particular users or usergroups, and make the system as granular as you like.

Spamfighter working with policy

51. Statistics: On my test network I didn’t have any throughput on which to pull some meaningful statistics.

Email spam statistics

52. Statistics > Notifications: You can have daily/weekly/monthly reports emailed to you.

Email notifications

53. If you decide to purchase, the licenses are priced per mailbox. Prices start at £14.50 each (or £29.00 with the Antivirus) And go down to £2.45 (or £4.90 with Antivirus) depending on the amount you buy. They are available for 1, 2, and 3 year periods. For an up to date price list go here.

Spamfighter Licence and price

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links


Author: Migrated

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