1. Newsletters
1.1. 4.3 Release, Back-ups, Custom Filters
Vircom Technical Newsletter
Latest ModusMail/ModusGate available : 4.3.459

Modus 4.3 is out
The new Modus 4.3 is now available, and is better than ever before with new features that make it easy for you to monitor and maintain your system's performance.

New Webmail: Modus webmail has a striking new look that is so intuitive, so fast and so widely compatible with all the many browsers on the market that you'll be able to use it anywhere on the planet.

WebMonitor: Check your system health and mail traffic in seconds. Service status, hardware usage, server response time, everything you need to monitor and troubleshoot your server.

Quarantine view using IMAP, SURBL support, enforcement of corporate email policies (includes parental control), custom filters preferences and much more.

Backing up your base configuration
The configuration settings are mainly stored in the registry and Modus provides a command-line tool you can use to automate the process. The program is called "mailconfigbackup.exe" and can be found in the root folder of your Modus installation. You can easily automate it with a simple batch file called by the windows scheduler.

@echo off
cd \program files\vircom\modusgate
rem delete the old config if present
del config.txt
rem do the mailconfigbackup
mailconfigbackup config.txt
rem copy the config.txt to another machine on your network for safekeeping
copy config.txt \\remotebox\somefolder

If you're running the default settings, your blacklist & whitelist settings (and custom sieve scripts) are stored in sievestore.mdb. It is located in a subfolder of the modusgate or modusmail folder called "sievedata". To back it up, just add the lines below.

rem copy the sievestore.mdb file to the remote machine for safekeeping
copy sievedata\sievestore.mdb \\remotebox\somefolder

If you're using MS-SQL to store the sievedata, you can use the MS-SQL Backup Wizard to setup a backup routine to perform the same thing. The relevant tables to backup are: ScriptArchive, ScriptStatistic, ScriptDomainUser and the SieveCatalog table.

For more information about backup practices, please read our complete article How-To: Back up Modus

Did you know... Custom Filters?
Did you know you can create custom filters to block, whitelist, duplicate, redirect, save on disk, rewrite information and more? In version 4.3, you can also use a new type of script for the enforcement of corporate email policies or for parental control.

Also in version 4.3, you can add script conditions for whether the email is inbound, outbound, internal or relaying between 2 other mail servers. The possibilities are endless.

Custom Filters can be run before Anti-Virus, just after, or after all scanning (AV & AS).

Modus Console -> Anti-Spam -> Custom Filters

Please refer to your product manual for more information.

1.2. IT Pro 2006 elections, System Health info
Vircom Technical Newsletter
Latest ModusMail/ModusGate available : 4.3.459

Windows IT Pro 2006

In 2004, Modus™ was voted Best Product and the product with the Best Support. We hope to be among the winners again with the nomination of Modus for the Windows IT Pro Reader’s Choice Award.

We’d like your help. Please vote for ModusMail or ModusGate today by clicking on http://www.windowsitpro.com/readerschoice.

How-to isolate problems using the System Health panel

Modus 4.3 comes with a fully functional System Health display that provides you with at-a-glance information about the state of your server. It gives you the ability to dig deeper into the display to get at historical information for each status indicator. It's one thing to know that this information exists – it's quite another to know what to do about it!

  • CPU Usage
  • Modus services
  • Memory usage
  • Disk usage
  • Connections
  • Spool & Queues
  • Performance
  • Mail traffic
  • Latest AV/AS updates
  • Modus License Expiry

  • We strongly recommend that you read our troubleshooting guide first because it explains how the spools operate and which service is responsible for which spool subfolder: Troubleshooting Mail Delivery Problems 



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    Vircom Website - Email Support - Sales

    1.3. Version 4.35, image spam, text spam, end-of-life
    Vircom Technical Newsletter
    Latest ModusMail/ModusGate available : 4.35.477

    Introducing Modus 4.35 with the new Second Generation SCA Engine
    May was a great month for spam fighting at Vircom. We have known, for some time, that spammers would be employing image-based spam, a hard-to-catch technique to foil anti-spam engines. Scanning the content of images requires very costly resources and OCR technology is not up to par for high-volume/high throughput situations. A script-based approach is unreliable. Generally, scripts are too specific, preventing the system from dynamically adapting to minute changes within the image, or too generic and likely to block legitimate messages, typical of email exchanges between friends and family.
          The problem is further compounded by the fact that spammers often use multiple versions of the same image: altering the content slightly each time, or adding random pixels to the messages to foil signature-based approaches. Our second generation SCA engine, with its new content analysis layer, can sniff out enough information from the image-based messages without major impact on performance. This technique also enhances our text-based spam catching.

    To date, over 230 sites have upgraded to the new version with no reported support issues.

    End-of-life for Modus products version 4.1 (and older)
    We are announcing the end-of-life for ModusMail and ModusGate version 4.1 (and older) effective July 31, 2006. Starting July 31, we will provide support services for upgrade issues only and will continue distributing anti-spam updates for versions 4.1 and older. Anti-virus updates will still be distributed to ensure that customers on an active support plan continue to be protected against viruses.

    We recommend that you plan an upgrade of your Modus products to the latest version by visiting the MyVircom section at www.vircom.com. The latest version of our product is included with your annual maintenance plan as long as this plan is still active. Should you require assistance with the upgrade, Vircom offers an upgrade service. If your maintenance plan has expired and you wish to take advantage of the new features found in current and future versions of the product, or if you want Vircom personnel to help you with the upgrade, please contact your sales representative. If you do not know who your sales representative is, contact Sales at sales@vircom.com or, by phone, at (514) 845-1666, ext. 2.
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    Vircom Website - Email Support - Sales

    1.4. The Importance of Upgrading
    Vircom Technical Newsletter
    Latest ModusMail/ModusGate available : 4.35.480

    Importance of Upgrading
    We would like to remind you that, with Modus 4.35.480, Vircom introduced new features in the Modus spam scanning engine to stop image-based spam emails. With this version, we are seeing an overall 95% catch rate with Image-based Spam. To benefit from these features, it is important that you upgrade to v4.35.480.

    Furthermore, with Modus 4.35.480, we can update the scanning binaries (DLLs used during the scanning process), which guarantees that we can push out fixes to the scanning engine instead of you requiring to do a manual upgrade of your software.

    So, to re-iterate what we said in our last newsletter: Upgrading is a good idea!

    Image-based Spam - an evolving problem
    Because of the evolving nature of image-based spam emails, recently, many customers have noticed an increase of this type of spam getting through the engine even when running modus 4.35.480. It is important to understand that these new variants of image-based spam emails only look like the old ones on the surface. However, the underlying structure of these new image-spam emails is different and require an improvement to our spam scanning engine (and those of other vendors too).

    Please be advised that Vircom is treating the problem as critical and our team is working to address the latest new variants of image-spam emails. We regret, however, that we cannot go into technical details to explain how we will address the problem. The risk that this information could find its way to a spammer is too great. The image spam issue is like a strategic “cat and mouse” match between anti-spam vendors and spammers. Vircom is determined to win this match by continuing to be a leader among anti-spam vendors by providing a rapid solution to new variants without compromising the catch or false positive rate.

          We have recently made changes to our spam filters and you should see improvements. Rest assured that our team strives to stay on top of any new spam variants and we will inform you of our progress.

    Other technical information:
    Since our last newsletter, we have published many knowledge-base articles that could be of interest to you. Here is a short list with a summary of the contents of each article:

    How-to: enable administrative review of released messages [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: move PostgreSQL from one drive to another [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: use the LDAP Plugin [Modusmail]

    How-to: configure ODBC for a 64-Bit environment [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: enable RBL after Auth-Login (SMTP Authentication) [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: Customize the Login Page for WebMail/WebQuarantine [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: Deactivate the Mimicking of Active Directory’s "Disabled Accounts" in ModusGate

    How-to: Configure Active Directory Authentication for Modusmail

    How does fingerprinting work (attachment scanning)? [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: Get TLS (encryption) to work on ports other than inbound Port 25 (SMTP) [Modusmail & Modusgate]

    How-to: Enable Persist Sorting Order (default sorting order) [Modusmail & Modusgate]

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    This newsletter is sent once a month.

    Vircom Website - Email Support - Sales