How can you test ride SpamCheetah?

How can you test SpamCheetah easily?

E-mail Spam has always been a problem that has been around ever since email came into being. And products like SpamCheetah exist to serve the growing need for spam control.

If you wish to understand how spam control works in the real world, how the headers show DKIM, SPF and how RBL check happens, then you can either head to Mail Tester or go here.

Test Spamcheetah by sending mail

Just send an email to the address in the web page and voila, the report is ready.

To get a good grasp of how email functions in today' world, the way to get visibility into email headers and how things work is inevitable.

Another place to learn about email is this.

MX Toolbox

The ability to use the tools in MX toolbox website requires some background information on how email works in today’s world.

The basic concepts like DNS, MX records and such are essential but obviously lot more technical depth is very desirable.

How Email flows is essential to understanding how to deploy SpamCheetah in your network. But we try our level best to delineate this to you.

Methods of tasting SpamCheetah

There are several ways to get a feel of SpamCheetah without going so far as deploying it. Here are some possibilities:

But then the way you experience the product in such situations won’t be quite enough. So it is always recommended you experience the full 30 day trial to get a hang of things in real.

E-mail spam control is not an easy problem even in 2021. But the way you fight spam is often with a great deal of difficulty since MSPs keep trying out various vendors before finally arriving at the right one.

In this article we are exploring some ways by which you can experience SpamCheetah without much effort on your side. Perhaps this blog will help you somewhat in making the transition bit easier?

Test SpamCheetah by sending mail

It is the easiest way to experience SpamCheetah. But it is something that happens without your having to do anything, just send a mail and you get an assessment of its spam characteristics. But this will definitely pique your interest in the product and how email flows and spam control works behind the scenes. Perhaps a new blog will be written detailing how this system was developed.

Single mail server

Deploying Spamcheetah standard edition

Multiple mail servers

Deploying Spamcheetah heavyduty edition

The multiple mail server instance is different. To deploy a multi mail server instance, you must do more work. You must get the MX record mapping of each mail server’s IP address and construct a map of domain and IP address.

Following that you can setup SpamCheetah with the information and then after ensuring that mail flows you can taste the product and finally buy if all goes well.

The multiple mail server can quite easily be made to flow through SpamCheetah just by setting up a domain mapping. Details are available on the website using the web interface.

How does SpamCheetah differ from others?

In terms of how the product functions compared to other offerings in market you can broadly categorize spam control as being one of

  • E-mail server level
  • Mailbox level
  • API based
  • OS specific

And many variations of the same.

SpamCheetah is an email server level MX forwarding product. Many products like Akismet use an API service and certain others run on Windows or work as a plugin in a mail server.

But this is a network appliance/VM and works at the network level as a complete bootable image that accepts SMTP traffic and forwards to the appropriate mail servers.

In that respect SpamCheetah is similar to Spamtitan.

But the spam control market is so full of options and each product is a little different , so it is better to give each product an honest look.

The idea of setting up a spam control product in your private cloud or in your premises is a bit daunting as it will lead to disruption and no matter what you must evaluate options and bite the bullet.

Web interface demo

One of the ways by which you can get a taste without doing anything at all, without any risk is looking at the web interface.

In doing so, all you are doing is just checking out the analytics the reporting and various displays of the product.

For a seasoned MSP or system admin this should be quite enough. But for most folks other options listed in this article are more useful.

The web interface uses a real instance and the web interface is also kept current and up-to-date, so no surprises after you install the product.

Can you get help deploying?

To deploy the product, you may do it easily if you are familiar with email gateway security products and if you can muck around with MX records like nobody’s business.

However if you must get some help then we are around. You can contact us and we shall do the needful.

The method by which we can get the product working well differs from network to network and it is in our interests to see you deploy successfully. So by all means get in touch and we shall take it from there.

How to get background information?

The architecture of spam control and email security products are more or less similar in the way they work from a network schematic point of view.

In every case you need to muck around with MX records and do a setup with a backup plan in case things do not pan out well.

In fact most email security products work only in the incoming mail path. For outgoing mails no spam control is applied.

We shall presently learn how MX records work.

MX record primer

A typical mx record looks like this

 dig +short gmail.com MX
5 gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
20 alt2.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
40 alt4.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
30 alt3.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
10 alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.

Or

dig +short mail.com mx
10 mx01.mail.com.
10 mx00.mail.com.

SPF lookup

echo mail.com|smtpctl spf walk 
213.165.64.0/23
74.208.5.64/26
74.208.122.0/26
212.227.126.128/25
212.227.15.0/24
212.227.17.0/27
74.208.4.192/26
82.165.159.0/24
217.72.207.0/27

SPF stands for sender policy framework and this is a DNS record aimed at establishing the link between sending IP Address blocks and domains that are owned by the mail servers.

The problem is that SPF query can be recursive and that means it is a lot of work for programmers but well that makes spam control a little bit more easier.

SPF is strictly not a record type. The record type in DNS i TXT. But SPF is now widely deployed and SpamCheetah counts on SPF for several purposes including greylisting

Greylisting and spam control

Greylisting schematic

DKIM and signing of mails

DKIM process

DKIM stands for domain keys identified mail. DKIM works by using cryptographic signing along with some SMTP headers. A body hash exists as well but it is mostly the headers that concern us.Body hash is not a must in DKIM but it is usually seen.

Security features built into SpamCheetah

SpamCheetah has a need to play well with the security architecture of enterprises being an email gateway security product. By keeping all our APIs that work in the backend up-to-date we try our level best to stay current. It is also kept secure with less bugs and undergoes automated tests with each release.

Security is an ongoing process and any lapse is serious. Our company takes security very seriously and so is spam control.

Without adequate security in your office network by way of using network firewalls and other measures like DMZ SpamCheetah can’t do much. But within the SpamCheetah appliance the lapse should not leak into the company’s modalities.

But attacks and countermeasures are an ongoing process in the world of software and it is not going to change anytime.