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How to Configure Email Filtering Video Tutorial

How to Configure PageGate Email Filtering


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How to Configure PageGate Email Filtering Transcript for Video:
Welcome to the video tutorial on how to configure PageGate’s email filtering system. In this tutorial, we’ll be going over the different methods of filtering email available to PageGate’s GetMail interface and mail server.

Before we begin, PageGate’s GetMail interface must be configured and started before you can configure an email filtering system. This can be done in a variety of ways and I’d recommend having a look at our overview of the GetMail for more information as you’ll need an understanding of the GetMail interface and PageGate’s mail server to understand how to implement an email filtering system with either or both.

There are two different layers of email filtering that can be implemented:

  • Mail Service Filtering

This method of filtering enables PageGate’s mail server to accept or reject email based on rules you configure and is used when having PageGate host a domain or sub-domain for messaging. This filtering configures the server-wide rules on what traffic is and isn’t allowed to flow through the system. For example, you could configure an IP filtering system that only allowed specific IP addresses to send email to PageGate or you could configure a sender’s name filtering system that blocked specific email addresses or domains from sending traffic to your PageGate server. This method of filtering cannot be used in conjunction with POP Mail Collection.

  • GetMail Filtering

This method of filtering configures the mail server engine to accept all inbound email and then emails are scanned and filtered after the fact. This is the only method of email filtering that works with POP Mail Collection to bring traffic in to PageGate.

Both filters effectively achieve the same thing; they both block unwanted messages. However, the difference is what stage the block happens and if you want to notify the sender that the block is happening. However, when you use POP Mail Collection to receive email traffic in to PageGate, those email have already been accepted by the receiving POP server and are simply collected by PageGate. PageGate’s mail server has no immediate control over those messages, so we’ll have to filter them at the GetMail level instead. Effectively, GetMail filtering is post-hoc and Mail Service filtering is real-time.

To configure either style of filter, there’s some basic setup we’ll need to go through. So, before we go in to detail about how to configure the email filters, let’s do our basic setup.

 

The first step in creating an email filter is to find the PageGate database folder. To determine that, open the PageGate Admin, and then go to the Program – Settings section. Here on the right, you’ll see the database directory. Make a note of that folder, and then browse to it in Windows.

Here in the database folder, we need to create a new directory and name it ‘Filters’.

Here inside the ‘Filters’ folder, we can create the files that control each of the different filters we may need to configure. The first step in creating a filter is to create the file associated with the filter, then populate it with information. All files associated with the mail server and GetMail filters have no extension associated with them. So, when you create the files, make sure your text editor doesn’t put a .rtf, .txt or any other extension on the file.

Also, these files will have one of two functions: Allow or Block. Allowed lists always override Blocked lists, so if an entry exists in both, it will be allowed.

It’s also important to note that everything is allowed by default if the Blocked file doesn’t exist. So, implementing an Allowed file without a Blocked file is redundant. The purpose of the Allowed file is to narrow, qualify or create an exception to an entry in the Blocked file.

The contents of these files are read in when the GetMail service starts, which means that updates to your email filter rules are not automatically applied. To apply any updates you’ve made to the filter, you will need to stop and restart the PageGate GetMail service and we’ll go over how to do that at the end of the video.

Let’s go over Mail Server Filtering first. PageGate’s Mail server can filter email based on three categories:

  • IP address of sending system
  • Sender’s name/from address
  • Intended recipient of the email

First, we have IP Address Filtering. This filter allows you to control which IP addresses are and are not allowed to connect to your system. There are two files we can create for this filter:

  • BlockedIps

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what IP addresses are not allowed to connect to its mail server.

  • AllowedIps

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what IP addresses are allowed to connect to its mail server.

Each line of either file will need to have a full IP address that should be allowed or blocked.

As an important note, if either file only contains the single character '*', that tells the mail server that all IP addresses should be allowed or blocked. For example, you could use a single * in the BlockedIps file and then list three or four specific IPs in the AllowedIps file. This would tell that program that all IP addresses except for the ones you’ve specified in the AllowedIps file are denied access to the system.

Next, we have Sender Filtering. The two files associated with this filter are:

  • BlockedSenders

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are not allowed to send traffic to or through its mail server

  • AllowedSenders

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are allowed to send traffic to or through its mail server.

On each line of either file, enter a full or partial sender email address.

It’s important to note that information is matched from right to left and that partial addresses are allowed. This allows you the ability to:

  • Block by specific email address (example@domain.com)
  • Block by domain (example.domain.com, notepage.com, gmail.com, etc)
  • Block by partial domain (example.domain.com, domain.com, .com, .org, etc)

For example, if you were to just use ‘.com’ on a line by itself in the Global.DontAllow file, that would configure PageGate to block ANY sender’s name that ends with .com  or you could use gmail.com to block all messages from the gmail.com domain.

As another example, you could use .com in the Global.DontAllow file, then use gmail.com and notepage.com in the Global.Allow file to create a rule that blocks all sender domains that end in .com except for gmail.com and notepage.com

Next, we have Recipient Filtering. The two files associated with this filter are:

  • BlockedRecipients

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what recipient addresses are not allowed to be messaged. If a system tries to send to a name specified in the file, that message will be rejected by PageGate’s mail server.

  • AllowedRecipients

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what recipient addresses are allowed to be messaged from your PageGate mail server.

 

On each line of either file, enter a full or partial recipient or group name.

It’s important to note that information is matched from right to left and that partial addresses are allowed. For example, if you were to just use ‘_shift’ on a line by itself in the BlockedRecipients file, that  would configure the filter to block all messages to any recipient or group whose name ends with the characters ‘_shift’. As another example, if you were to use agency_heads, that would only block email from being delivered to the specific recipient or group named agency_heads.

If either file only contains the single character '*', that tells the mail server that all recipients should be allowed or blocked. For example, you could use a single * in the BlockedRecipients file and then list three or four specific recipient or group names in the AllowedRecipients file. This would tell the program that the only recipients and groups available to message are the ones you’ve explicitly granted access to in the AllowedRecipients file.

Now let’s go over the GetMail level filter.

The GetMail filter can only filter based on sender’s name.
A GetMail filter can be applied to a single recipient or group, multiple recipients or groups, or all recipients and groups.

There are two files associated with the GetMail rule for all recipients and groups:

  • Global.DontAllow

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are not allowed to send traffic to your recipients and groups. If a system has sender’s name value in range specified in the file, they will not be allowed to send traffic to or through your system.

  • Global.Allow

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are allowed to send traffic to your recipients and groups. If a system does not use a sender’s name in the ranges specified in the file, their messages will be filtered and prevented from going to your recipients and groups.

On each line of either file, enter a full or partial sender email address.

It’s important to note that information is matched from right to left and that partial addresses are allowed. For example, if you were to just use ‘.com’ on a line by itself in the Global.DontAllow file, that would configure PageGate to block ANY sender’s name that ends with .com; or as another example, you could use gmail.com to block all messages from the gmail.com domain.

As another example, you could use .com in the Global.DontAllow file, then use gmail.com and notepage.com in the Global.Allow file to create a rule that blocks all sender domains that end in .com except for gmail.com and notepage.com

If either file only contains the single character '*', that tells the mail server that all sender addresses should be allowed or blocked. For example, you could use a single * in the Global.DontAllow file and then list three or four specific email addresses and/or domains in the Global.Allow file. This would tell that program that all sender addresses except for the ones you’ve specified in the Global.Allow file are denied access to the system.

It’s also possible to configure GetMail level sender blocking for a single recipient or group. There are two files associated with the GetMail rule for a single recipient or group:

  • RecipientOrGroupName.Allow

The name of the file will be determined by the name of the recipient or group as it exists in the PageGate Admin. For example, if your group name is it_alerts as listed in the PG Admin, the file’s name would need to be it_alerts.Allow

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are allowed to send traffic to this recipient or group.

  • RecipientOrGroupName.DontAllow

The name of the file will be determined by the name of the recipient or group as it exists in the PageGate Admin. For example, if your group name is it_alerts as listed in the PG Admin, the file’s name would need to be it_alerts.DontAllow

If this file exists, it tells PageGate what sender addresses are not allowed to send traffic to your recipients and groups. If a system has sender’s name value in range specified in the file, they will not be allowed to send traffic to or through your system.

On each line of either file, enter a full or partial sender email address.

It’s important to note that information is matched from right to left and that partial addresses are allowed. This allows you the ability to:

  • Block by specific email address (example@domain.com)
  • Block by domain (example.domain.com, notepage.com, gmail.com, etc)
  • Block by partial domain (example.domain.com, domain.com, .com, .org, etc)

For example, if you were to just use ‘.com’ on a line by itself in the Global.DontAllow file, that would configure PageGate to block ANY sender’s name that ends with .com  or you could use gmail.com to block all messages from the gmail.com domain.

As another example, you could use .com in the Global.DontAllow file, then use gmail.com and notepage.com in the Global.Allow file to create a rule that blocks all sender domains that end in .com except for gmail.com and notepage.com

To apply changes made to the email filtering system, we’ll need to cycle PageGate’s GetMail service. To do that, open the PageGate Admin and the PageGate Monitor. Here in the Admin, expand the Interfaces section, right click on GetMail and select Stop. Here in the PageGate Monitor, we should see GetMail go red. When it does, right click on GetMail in the Admin and select ‘Start’ and we should see the interface go green in the Monitor once more, indicating that the interface is running and that your changes have been applied.

This concludes the video tutorial on PageGate’s email filtering system.

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