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Securing auth on Exchange 2003?

Posted on 2006-10-24
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Last Modified: 2010-10-05
Hello,

I’m wondering what settings I should use for SMTP authentication, where the single mail server in question receives mail from external sources, and it’s also the mail server for an internal Windows 2003 domain.

I’ve been looking at the authentication settings, but I’m not confident in my own knowledge on securing Exchange 2003.

The setting I believe I need to tighten are located in: Exchange System Manager > Administrative groups > First administrative group > Server > srv01 > Protocols > SMTP > Default SMTP Virtual Server Properties > Access > Authentication.

The defaults are…

[X] Anonymous access
---[ ] Resolve anonymous email

[X] Basic authentication (password is sent in clear text)
---[ ] Requires TLS encryption
---__________ Default domain

[X] Integrated Windows Authentication


Can someone advise?

Thanks,
/wl
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Question by:windylad
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17794746
Hi windylad,

That is the default setting, and the default is fine (exchange is configured correctly by default nowadays)

You will always need Anonymous access ticked, if you don't then other mail servers will not be able to send to you.

This guide from Sembee will show you how to harden it up that little bit more -> http://www.amset.info/exchange/smtp-relaysecure.asp

Hope that helps,

-red
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Author Comment

by:windylad
ID: 17794857
Thanks for the link red.


I’m specifically interested in disabling the plain text authentication method on my SMTP server for unencrypted sessions.  (None of my users will be connecting from an external source)


If I change the default settings from

[X] Anonymous access
---[ ] Resolve anonymous email

[X] Basic authentication (password is sent in clear text)
---[ ] Requires TLS encryption
---__________ Default domain

[X] Integrated Windows Authentication


to…


[X] Anonymous access
---[ ] Resolve anonymous email

[ ] Basic authentication (password is sent in clear text)
---[ ] Requires TLS encryption
---__________ Default domain

[X] Integrated Windows Authentication


What effect will this have on my servers security?

Thanks,
/wl

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Accepted Solution

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redseatechnologies earned 250 total points
ID: 17795060
windylad,

The effect would be positive if anything, less option means less vulnerability.

However, if you have no external users connecting to it, and relaying disabled - then it is not going to make a difference (as it isn't going to be used, and even if someone tries, isn't going to do anything for them anyway)

Although, I am a big fan of overkill when it comes to security - it isn't called paranoia when everyone REALLY IS out to get you, then it is just called common sense!

-red
0
 

Author Comment

by:windylad
ID: 17795203
Even though disabling it in this case will not make a difference, the fact that it's disabled meets a particular security policy we need to comply with.  Thanks red.
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17795268
No problem, thanks for the A grade

-red
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