How to Build an Anti Spam Appliance Using Untangle-Part 1

This article is intended as a glowing article. Its contents are part of the training material on my startup company, PT. Excellent Infotama Kreasindo for the subject “Security Hardening &  Improving Mail Server Performance”. Training utilize Untangle as its base system for anti spam appliance.


The person examines email signWHAT IS ANTI SPAM APPLIANCE ?
Anti spam appliance is a system (can be based on Linux, Windows, FreeBSD ) that has a mail server security functions . In some products, anti spam is one module from main functions of the UTM (Unified Threat Management ). Anti spam appliance can be installed in the form of software and hardware. Some UTM / anti- spam appliance that is quite popular among other things are :

  1. Cisco IronPort
  2. Fortigate Fortimail
  3. Astaro
  4. Symantec Brightmail
  5. Juniper Networks
  6. Cyberoam
  7. Check Point
  8. Barracuda
  9. etc. 🙂

Anti spam appliance licensing  price are usually calculated based on the number of users and is calculated per year (can be multi -year depending on the calculation mechanism of each vendor) . There is also a UTM appliance that has a lot of modules , but the module is determined by the activation of the purchased license. For example, if you buy the license  for  web filter only and does not include an email filter, UTM can only protect your web and not for mail server even though it actually has a feature for that.
In addition to using a hardware appliance, we can also use other products, mainly in the form of software at a lower price. Software appliance are much cheaper because it does not include hardware and usually licensed based on the number of server/modul, not by the number of user. Untangle is best example for this kind of appliance (although Untangle also provided hardware appliance for some country).
Untangle is a software -based network gateway built from Debian Linux to secure the network . Since the end of 2013 , Untangle split their product into 2 products line : Untangle NG ( Next Generation )  Firewall and Untangle IC (Internet Control) . We will  discus Untangle NG Firewall for anti spam appliance.
Features of Untangle

  • Web Filter
  • Spam Blocker
  • Application Control
  • Virus Blocker
  • Spyware Blocker
  • Phish Blocker
  • Intrusion Prevention
  • Attack Blocker
  • Firewall
  • Open VPN
  • Captive Portal
  • Ad Blocker
  • Reports

Our engineers test several anti-spam software  and Untangle eventually be an option due to  the following consideration :

  1. Easy to install
  2. Provides a variety of free features
  3. Paid Feature  are modular, can choose some specific modules and disable the features that are not required
  4. Can be set as an anti- spam appliance with a few brief setting, goal of this article 🙂
  5. Proven reliable based on personal experience 🙂
  6. Appliance can be installed above or directly on a physical computer
  7. Has the complete functions , including remote access option by Untangle engineer for premium license

Based on our test results on the production server for 1 month usage, the total incoming email approximately 1 million emails and Untangle kick about 800 thousand spam emails . Due to the information page on their website, Untangle claims its accuracy detection rate are about 97% of the total incoming spam. Beware : the result may varies due to many factor, please try it to obtain the actual result.
Although most of our deployment are for protecting Zimbra mail server, Untangle can be deploys with with Microsoft Exchange Server, MDaemon , Lotus Domino and others.
In the next article we will discuss about the installation and configuration procedures for preparing Untangle as an anti spam appliance.

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