Monday, December 11, 2006

Exchange 2003 SP2 IMF tuning

Okay, I should be working on the E2K7 book, but I'm playing. Sort of. I needed to tighten down my Exchange 2003 SP2 Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) a little more. All that holiday spam is creeping in my mailbox. And no one at work has time to manage an IMF archive. So, we started rejecting the mail that arrives with an SCL of 7 or above. But that is still quite a bit of spam that got through. Plus, the rejection message was not exactly friendly. If someone sends me a real message that just happens to get tagged as spam, this is included in the NDR:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 12): 550 5.7.1 Requested action not taken: message refused

However, I was doing some research and found that you can customize this message. Locate the following Registry key:

In that Registry key, create a new REG_SZ value called CustomRejectResponse and then put the string you want to see in that value. Here is my new message:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 12): Your message looked like spam. Our filter rejected it. We are very sorry, but we hate spam. Please add some more text to your message or contact CTA support.

Actually, I will probably change that to have a URL once I can get someone to post me a page explaining why we rejected their mail and how they can fix it. The IMF is famous for rejecting very short mail, though. I might add to the Custom Weighting File something like CTACTACTA and say that if a message has that in the body it is never spam.

Anyway, if you are wondering how I'm testing the IMF to see the reject message, here is the easiest way. (I got this from the Exchange 2003 course #2400 class, by the way. Thanks David Elfassy!)

Go out to an external mail system such as GMail, create yourself a message, set the subject line to Low mortgage rates *** and set the message body to Cheap rates on your mortgage $$.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

We have used the advice here, but recently found that it is important to prefix the custom response with:
550 5.7.1

If the 550 code is not included, mail forwarding systems such as Backup MX ( will not know how to handle bounced messages.

See this MS article for more details:

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Pepe said...

Thank you very much.

This post was of great help to me.

Also, "petermiller" comment is also spot on!

Best regards.

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We also use the Exchange 2003 SP2 IMF tuning. Works well. We have seen many issues with Exchange 2003 Activesync when companies use Trend Micro's mail security for exchange. Read more at our blog iPhone 3G Activesync blog

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