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Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne Stops SPAM with GEE Whiz for NetMail

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By John Carter

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Posted: 19 Dec 2003

Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne Stops SPAM with GEE Whiz for NetMail
John Carter, Senior Network Systems Programmer - IT Services

When you have 26,000 student accounts and 1,200 faculty and staff, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time dealing with and managing anti-spam and virus prevention on your network. And that's what we found we were doing with the solution we had in place before February, 2003. At that time, we were unhappy with the technical challenges and the amount of time we were spending trying to manage spam quarantines with another anti-spam product for our GroupWise system, so we decided to find a better solution.

When we heard about GEE Whiz for GroupWise, we decided to give it a try. After a few days of running GEE Whiz for GroupWise, we knew we had found the anti-spam/anti-virus solution we had been looking for. By running at the GWIA, directly on NetWare, we were able to stop spam and viruses BEFORE they got into our GroupWise system - at our email perimeter. We no longer had to worry about having to load the latest field test patches to get our anti-spam/anti-virus program to work, and our GroupWise users were thrilled with the improved service. When we found out that GEE Whiz for NetMail was available, we jumped on board the BETA program so we could offer the same anti-spam/anti-virus services to our NetMail users that our GroupWise users were enjoying.

Since September 1, 2003, GEE Whiz for NetMail has handled all email for Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). GEE Whiz for NetMail is responsible for providing anti-spam and anti-virus services for 26,000 students (NetMail users) and 1,200 staff (GroupWise users). We average about 30,000 messages per day and GEE Whiz for NetMail hardly breaks a sweat. Approximately 40% of the email we receive is filtered because of spam or viruses. By installing GEE Whiz for NetMail to watch our primary email server, we are able to provide anti-spam/anti-virus services to both our NetMail and GroupWise systems. Email that is destined for staff gets relayed by NetMail to GroupWise.

Even though NetMail comes with a native ability to support certain anti-virus products, NetMail did not support Kaspersky (, our preferred anti-virus solution for the email systems. GEE Whiz allowed us to use Kaspersky with NetMail. GEE Whiz supports a much wider range of anti-virus products than those that are supported directly by NetMail. For double protection, we use Trend Officescan on the desktop. Having 2 different vendors may seem like more work, but it offers wider protection on any new viruses that come out as one company is not always the first to release a new pattern file.

So, how has our experience been with the BETA release of GEE Whiz for NetMail? Excellent! GEE Whiz for NetMail has allowed us to implement a number of flexible anti-spam strategies - all of which are easy to configure using the web browser interface. The default Spam Assassin rules that ship with GEE Whiz do an excellent job to start with. Initially, we enhanced this with Real-time Blackhole Lists (RBLs) and an extensive Blacklist that blocked spam from known domains and suspect addresses. We also enhanced our anti-spam strategies by manually configuring Content Filters to deal with mail that was being misclassified (false positives). However, since adding the Bayesian filtering option, configuring GEE Whiz to "auto-learn", and using the option to "teach" GEE Whiz' Bayesian filters to differentiate good emails (HAM) from bad emails (SPAM), our SPAM detection accuracy has been outstanding.

One of the features that cinched our decision to switch from our other anti-spam product to GEE Whiz is GEE Whiz' ability to modify the email's subject line and to have variable SPAM thresholds. This has made my life easier as an administrator because I don't have to spend an unacceptable amount of time dealing with the Spam Quarantines that I used to have to do with the other anti-spam product. Having multiple spam thresholds has also made our users' experience much better and has increased their satisfaction with our anti-spam solution. Our users no longer have to worry about important emails being blocked. By "tagging" the email subject line, the user is alerted that a tagged message is a possible "False Positive" spam email. Using multiple thresholds allows us to automatically delete the obvious spam messages (identified as the "auto-delete" threshold), but allows emails that fall into the category of "potential false positives" to go through to the user. Being a university, we receive a wide variety of email content. I think it's fair to say that "one man's junk is another man's treasure" seems to be the philosophy when it comes to email in our environment. Having the ability to tag messages to receive a spam value and be forwarded to the recipients has been a big plus for our users (and me!).

Since using GEE Whiz for NetMail with its Spam Assassin, Bayesian filtering, RLB lists, and other filters, IPFW has dramatically cut down on the amount of SPAM that comes into our users' mail boxes (both NetMail and GroupWise). With GEE Whiz "file type filtering" and custom filters, we have been able to completely block emails with predictable subject or content patterns. This has allowed us to pro-actively identify email virus threats before anyone even asked what we were going to do to prevent IPFW from getting infected. :-)

There are only a few features of GEE Whiz features that we don't use. These include the ability to add a corporate signature/disclaimer to all outbound emails and email copying for basic archiving purposes. We do use the email copy feature on occasion for trouble shooting email problems where someone says they are not getting emails sent to them without having to dig through SMTP logs.

GEE Whiz for NetMail has been an excellent, cost-effective, time efficient and user accepted anti-spam/anti-virus solution for Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne.

  • For more information about Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne, go to:
  • For more information about Omni Technology Solutions GEE Whiz for NetMail and GroupWise, go to:

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