Exchange 2003 gets new antispam, antivirus features

Microsoft Corp. detailed new antispam and antivirus features that will be incorporated into its upcoming Exchange Server 2003 software Monday, as part of the software giant’s continued Trustworthy Computing push.

Security features such as encryption, authentication and filter techniques are built into the software, in addition to improved default settings, such as turning off Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) relay, and support for Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, the company said at the RSA security conference in San Francisco.

In addition to antispam and antivirus technologies built into the core product, the company announced that Exchange Server 2003 will feature tools aimed at furthering partner support, which will give IT administrators more control over spam and securing their networks.

The software, due to be released in mid-2003, will include an updated virus-scanning API (application programming interface) that will enable partners to deliver complementary virus-fighting technologies. The API will give partner products enhanced abilities to delete infected messages, scan outgoing mail, and send a message back to a sender notifying them that a virus was detected and the e-mail deleted, Microsoft said.

To help battle spam, the software includes a tool which will allow partner products to scan incoming e-mail messages and attach a numeric score to a message, indicating the probability of that message being a piece of spam, the company said.

In addition, the antispam tool works with junk mail filters in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, blocking HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) content by default, assigning “block” lists and automatically filing junk mail to the trash.

All the new spam and virus-fighting features come as part of the Redmond, Wash., software maker’s Trustworthy Computing push gains steam. Having been peppered with security concerns related to its products, Microsoft introduced the initiative to shore up the customer confidence and gain a competitive edge.