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Microsoft Exchange’s SPAM Notifications make Things Simpler

Every email user gets Junk emails or Spam. As per SecureList, a project of antivirus software vendor Kaspersky Labs, it is observed that spam makes up more than half of all email traffic and it’s a positive signal that it’s reducing year on year. It’s been going down gradually since 2008.

Microsoft Exchange’s SPAM Notifications

The main reason why we are seeing less junk mail in inboxes is actually because of server-side spam filtering. Such intelligent algorithms execute off aggregated analytical review of email addresses, sending and relaying IP addresses, and the keyword scanning of headers, subjects, and other message bodies.

However, they’re not perfect.

Not a day passes by when one of my users doesn’t complain that they have not got an email they were expecting. “Check your spam folder” is the first reaction given, of course, however, what about vital emails that were not assumed. It’s better to let 100 unwanted messages move freely into an inbox than to skip and miss a single potential lead, after all.

A substitute to the spam folder in Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange Online is the quarantine, which comes along with end-user spam notification. They perform exactly what they are expected to do, like isolate suspected junk mail and inform the user present in a configurable digest format, such that they don’t receive as many “You’ve Got Spam!” messages as they would’ve gotten spam.

Let’s understand how to configure Microsoft Exchange mail server for producing periodic end-user spam notifications.

1.Creation of a new spam filter in Microsoft Exchange mail server

You are allowed to edit the default spam filter, however, it is recommended to create a new one for testing purposes which is applicable to only to the respective user or a selected group of beta users.

In your existing Microsoft Exchange Admin Center, under Protection, select and click on Spam Filter. Select the plus sign (+) for creating a new filter. And name it as per your requirement. Set to depict both “Spam” and “High confidence spam” to “Quarantine message.” then you’ll ultimately get a red alert message that suggests you configure end-user spam notifications.

First, you are required to fill out the rest of the form as per your liking, and the “Applied To” portion near the bottom is compulsory.

You may apply this new spam filter to particular recipients via a name, domain, or group membership. You are also allowed to append exceptions and additional criteria at your heart’s content before you opt for save option.

2. Setup and Configure end-user spam alerts and notification in Microsoft Exchange mail server

Activating and turning on notifications is actually easy, therefore Microsoft put the control in an illogical place to ensure you don’t get bored.

You may notice, once you record your new filter, which the pane on the right mentions “End-user spam notifications: Disabled” and deactivate for that filter. Now the obvious question arises, can you select your new filter and enable them? The answer is “not”.

What you require to do is select and highlight the Default filter and then click on the “Configure end-user spam notifications…”available on the right.

Over here, simply tick the only box available and then fill in a number for how many days you need between notifications. Select your language and then save. And, this is applicable to your custom filters. You will observe that your custom filters will still show “End-user spam notifications: Disabled” .

3. Read the notification emails in Microsoft Exchange mail server

After a day has gone by, your test users will receive their first email notification from [email protected] This is subjected as “Spam Notification” with the due number of messages quarantined.

Each and every message includes the following elements of every message:

✓ Sender’s alleged email address
✓ Size in bytes
✓ Email subject line
✓ Date and time in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)
✓ “Report as Not Junk” link
✓ “Release to Inbox” link

The email address is “alleged” as most spammers aren’t using actual genuine email accounts. It’s trivially simple and easy to forge the Sender field, therefore it should never be considered as gospel.

The subject line, in case my current notifications are at all representative, will very likely be something regarding Gwen Stefani and/or Blake Shelton.

The date and time are depicted in UTC, the standard format for electronic communications. It’s usually equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), therefore unless your users are present in western Africa, Portugal, the British Isles, or Iceland, they might require performing some conversion.

The size is just an indication to the message’s legitimacy. A phishing email might be a single sentence with a spoofed email address of a trusted contact, within 10KB, or it might be that person just conveying hi. A message over 100KB might be a perfectly safe HTML message having lots of formatting, or it may be an advertisement.

In case you suspect a quarantined message is actually expected, click on the “Release to Inbox” link. This will open a webpage displaying, “Spam message was released from quarantine.”

And, it will show up in your inbox soon, however, this will not influence future spam detections. (Randomly, this webpage shows a certificate error or is not found or something. such the message is generally released anyway.)

The “Report as Not Junk” link conveys to Microsoft that, well, this message is not junk. This will become one tiny data point in their massive spam-detecting engine, however, will not automatically be delivered. The “Report as Not Junk” and “Release to Inbox” is purely separate.

4. Informing your users in Microsoft Exchange mail server

After your notification frequency has been set, spam-detection level or any other criteria will make sure to communicate with your users about these spam-notification emails.

You may still require adding senders to permit and block lists at an administrative level however users will receive a summary of quarantined messages right in their inbox. They are allowed to move the actual messages to their respective inbox.

This solution might not be appropriate for everyone — that’s why it is recommended to create a new spam filter for testing. As it can be tailored and customized by the group or individual email address, you are allowed to expand and edit it for the users who wish it.

The above suggestions should be implemented

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