Although its predecessor, Antigen, uses a 3rd-party anti-spam engine, Forefront Server Security for Exchange has no native anti-spam feature. Exchange 2007 provides anti-spam functionality instead, although the Forefront for Exchange installation does trigger a PowerShell command that enables Premium Anti-Spam Services in Exchange 2007. This is only available if you have an Exchange 2007 Enterprise CAL and is not available with a Standard CAL, by the way.
Most people get confused here, since this anti-spam feature is only usually enabled when Forefront for Exchange is installed...but it’s actually an Exchange 2007 feature.
As this is a Forefront blog, I’m not going to delve into the depths of this Exchange feature, but here are some good articles that explain the Premium Anti-Spam Services in a little more detail:
· Enabling Forefront Security Anti-spam Updates by msexchangeteam.com – this article will show you how to configure and check anti-spam updates through the Exchange Management Console.
· Use Anti-Spam Filter Update Cmdlets to enable/disable to pull-down updates from microsoft.com, if you prefer PowerShell to the Exchange GUI.
So, what related features does Forefront for Exchange possess that can help in the fight against spam?
· Keyword Filtering – available on Exchange 2007 Edge and Hub servers as part of Forefront’s Transport scanjob, this type of filtering looks into the message body and compares them to customisable Keyword Filter Lists.
· Content Filtering – block messages based on Subject Line content, or specific SMTP Senders/Domains. Available on Realtime scanjobs on Exchange 2007 Mailbox servers only.
These Forefront features are not to be seen as native anti-spam features. They are not your answer to solving all of your spam problems, but can help in a reactive way to block some spam that you see coming into your environment (no anti-spam solution can claim to be 100% effective after all).
Let’s do some sums to finish off:
Exchange 2007 (Enterprise) + Forefront for Exchange = Exchange 2007 Premium Anti-Spam Services
Forefront for Exchange ≠ anti-spam features
Well, that’s it for now. I hope this clears up some of the myths surrounding Forefront for Exchange and anti-spam.