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How Do I moderate email for all users on my domain

Posted on 2006-11-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have a domain and before I select an OS, or email server I am looking to moderate all email sent on my domain for certain users (my children).  The domain is for my family and my children will be sending and receiving emails and I want to monitor all incomming and outgoing email and not allow either until they have been approved by me.  Any suggestions for the OS or email server to accomplish this.  Linux OS or Windows OS are both fine with me I am just looking for a solution that will allow me to prevent the junk from reaching my children and to keep an eye on my children and who they are sending email to.
Question by:caused
  • 3
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 17956153
Hmmmm..... the trouble, in terms of a turn-key solution, is that most E-Mail monitoring solutions are commercial in nature, and are designed for use with commercial mail environments. How complex are you willing to get? What is your skill level and how comfortable are you with tasks like compiling software and maintaining complex configurations?

Author Comment

ID: 17956483
I don't have any problems with compiling software or managing complex configurations, I just don't want to re-invent the wheel if someone knows of a solution for Linux I'm game, I have and manage both Linux servers running sendmail at work, as well as a Windows Server 2003 running Exchange 2003 at work...but none of my experaince has required me to do what I am looking to do and that is to monitor both incomming and outgoing email.  If I run Exchagne 2003 can monitor all incomming but my concern still remains the outgoing - that is why I was thinking about Linux and Sendmail and what can be done with it, or another Linux based mail server application.
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 1000 total points
ID: 17957984

Well, if you're comfortable with Linux and sendmail, then I'd set up E-Mail hosting for your family Domain on Linux, with sendmail. I'd add MIMEDefang (http://www.mimedefang.org) and in addition to the usual anti-SPAM capabilities it affords, I'd use the MIMEDefang function stream_by_recipient, or one you code yourself, to make copies of all E-Mail to/from your children's addresses.

Using the MIMEDefang MILTER, you can duplicate all E-Mail they send/receive on-the-fly. No one will be the wiser, because it happens at the MTA. You can direct the copies to a specific address of your choosing.

Couple of caveats, some obvious, some not:

1) If you permit TCP/25 out of your network, your kids could potentially bypass your MTA and thus skirt your surveilance.

2) If your kids can tunnel out, perhaps using SSH, to an external MTA that will allow them to relay, then again, they can bypass you.

3) This solution does not address Web-based E-Mail accounts, such as YaHell! or GMail.

4) Information thus collected is double-edged. If you reveal you know something that you could only have learned from an E-Mail, then your kids may switch communication methods to one you cannot so easily tap.

5) This surveilance does not address IMs, text messaging, phone, etc.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 17958024
On the plus side, the solution I've suggested is independent of the mail client. Doesn't matter what your kids use to access their mailbox on the Linux host, or what they use to compose-and-send E-Mail. Since you can code your MIMEDefang filter to work based on the SMTP Envelope address rather than the Message Header address, they can't "break" your surveilance by inserting fake Message Headers.

However, aside from MIMEDefang's excellent anti-SPAM capaibilities, this solution does not give you the opportunity to "approve" incoming messages. SPAM, including adult SPAM, can still leak through. You can add ClamAV and SpamAssassin to the mix and code your MIMEDefang filter with a very low SPAM score limit for your kid's addresses, and this may prove very effective. But it won't be perfect.
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

MATTHEW_L earned 1000 total points
ID: 18014434
If your comfortable with Exchange you can also very simply save all email that are coming in and out as well.  In the Exchange ESM go to the properties of the mail store and on the general tab select archive all message sent or recieved by mailboxes on this store, and select an email account to archive them to.  Then you just monitor that account and can see all emails incoming and outgoing from your whole family.  Another solution is using a moderated public folder that is mail enabled for each of your kids.  You can do this right through outlook connecting to an exchange server.  Create a new public folder for each child for mail and post items, set the permissions so only you and each child etc have permission, then under properties, administration of the public folder select moderated folder, check the box to set the folder as moderated select your account to send new items to, add yourself as a moderator.  You can even create a custom response to incoming email such as that this email will be delivered after approved or whatever.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions about exchange


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