Securing the Mail: Batten Down the Hatches With Groupwise

Novell Netware is still a strong player in today’s IT industry.
However, when we talk about viruses and spam, this software family
rarely gets mentioned. You can chalk one reason for this up to the
fact that virus makers target what they perceive to be the most
popular software and operating systems, and items that are supposed to
be “unbreakable” (you’d think we would have learned not to claim any
package is unbreakable after the Titanic).

However, these facts don’t excuse Novell mail administrators from
making sure that their servers are properly secured, and their users
are properly protected. In fact, it behooves Novell mail
administrators to take extra caution just to stay off the “worst
reputation” list.

Locking Spammers out of Groupwise

One of the biggest reasons we have so much spam today is that too many
mail administrators leave gaping holes in their server setups. Don’t
be one of these people. The technical issue is that of leaving the
ability to “relay” open for all comers, which means that anyone can
bounce mail off of your mail server as though it was coming from you,
instead of them. This is how spammers do their dirty work, and why all
of the complaints then come to you rather than them.

In order to make sure that you haven’t left the door open, or that
someone before didn’t throw it open before you arrived, you’ll need to
make use of the Groupwise Internet Agent. This software has an Access
Control feature that lets you lock down your mail server against
spammers using it as a relay.

To do so, examine your Default Class of Service first to ensure that
you or someone else didn’t open up its permissions too widely by
telling it to accept and send messages from everyone on the planet.
Then, make sure that no one’s created a Class that opens up those
doors rather than learning how to properly let specific people or
groups relay but no one else.

Blocking Incoming Spam with Groupwise

Some companies have usage policies that actually cut down the amount
of incoming spam, such as not using the company account to surf the
Web or to do other things that might get an address harvested. If your
users don’t have a big problem with incoming spam then count yourself
lucky, and start contacting writers or editors to tell them how you’re
managing it! However, if you’re like most of us and both you and your
users are getting buried in the stuff, there are some helpful third
party tools and services available.

First of all, there’s Novell’s partners. Go to
http://www.novell.com/products/groupwise/partners/security.html to see
what they have to offer not just on the spam-blocking front, but on
various other security-related areas as well. In addition, check out
MailWise Filter
and MIMESweeper when researching ways
to cut down on the amount of spam that comes into your office.

If spam has become a nuisance in your workplace, then you may find
that management is willing to give over some of their budget toward
lessening that burden. Especially if their own mailboxes are
overflowing with advice on how to help smuggle money out of Nigeria,
and get various bodily extensions.

Stopping Viruses with Groupwise


No one likes to deal with viruses. Whether you’re a computer guru or
just know how to turn the machine on and use a word processor,
computer viruses can be the bane of your existence. As the
administrator, you have the additional hassle of having to clean up
after other people’s messes after they trigger a virus, or merely
think they did. Fortunately, Novell’s Groupwise has plenty of
antivirus solutions available.

Save yourself and your staff a lot of headaches. Scan email and
attachments as they pass through your mail server, so you can take
care of viruses before they ever reach an end user’s computer. There
are a number of programs that add virus-scanning capabilities to
Groupwise. Some of these items are detailed on the Novell Partners page.
Another product is InoculateIT.

There’s really no excuse for leaving viruses for your end users to
deal with. Take some control of your network, and what comes in and
out of it.

Wrapping Up

As a network administrator, you probably feel sometimes like the
weight of the world is on your shoulders. Even five minutes of
downtime is enough to set your phones ringing with calls all the way
from the mailroom to the boardroom. As if you didn’t have enough
trouble, now there’s so much spam that even the folks who would rather
stick a pen in their eye than use a computer know exactly what spam is
in computer-ese, and hate it just as much as you do.

It seems the only way to protect from spam and viruses these days is
to unplug your network from the rest of the world, and then remove all
of the drives that let people add any new software or data. Obviously,
this is not considered a viable solution in most situations. At the
very least, there are three things you can do: make sure your own mail
server isn’t contributing to the spam problem, try various methods of
blocking incoming spam from reaching your users, and use additional
software to scan for and block incoming and outgoing viruses.

There’s nothing quite like a quiet phone in the admin office.

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