Tag Archives: Mail flow rules

Creating a Catch-all Mailbox using Transport Rules

There are as many reasons to use catch-all mailboxes as there are against, and of course spam is one of the biggest concern. Nevertheless people are still asking for this feature, and therefore I want to show that it is possible also using Exchange Online in Office 365.

I will achieve this by using Transport Rules to control our mail flow. Transport Rules are a very flexible and powerful solution, yet easy to maintain. We have previously here at 365lab.net written a few posts of Transport Rules, but I still think that they deserve a little more attention.

Now to my demo. After establishing a PowerShell session to Exchange Online the first thing we have to do is to change our domain type to Internal Relay.

$domain = '365lab.net'
Set-AcceptedDomain -Identity $domain -DomainType InternalRelay

Next we need a distribution list that contains all our mailboxes. The idea is to redirect all messages sent to unknown addresses, and this distribution list will contain all known addresses, which mean we have something to use in our Transport Rule. Here I prefer to use a Dynamic Distribution List since they don’t require any maintenance after the initial configuration. Maybe you already have a distribution list that you want to re-use instead. If you want to this distribution list can be hidden from the Global Address List.

New-DynamicDistributionGroup `
	-Name 'Everyone' `
	-PrimarySmtpAddress "everyone@$domain" `
	-IncludedRecipients AllRecipients

Finally we create the Transport Rule that will do the actual redirection of the Mail Flow. In my example I want to redirect all emails to an already existing mailbox, $targetAddress.

$targetAddress = "contact@$domain"
New-TransportRule `
	-Name "Catch-all $domain" `
	-RecipientDomainIs $domain `
	-ExceptIfSentToMemberOf "everyone@$domain" `
	-RedirectMessageTo $targetAddress

All emails sent to the domain $domain is hit by this rule, as specified by the RecipientDomainIs parameter. I am also using the Everyone Distribution List in the ExceptIfSentToMemberOf parameter, so that my rule doesn’t hit existing mailboxes. It would also create a loop if messages addressed to the target mailbox were processed, they would be forwarded to the mailbox itself infinitely.

Now we are all set. All messages sent to non-existent addresses in the domain $domain will now be delivered to the mailbox $targetAddress.

/ Andreas


Mail flow rules for alias email addresses in Exchange Online

Stumbled upon an ‘issue/feature’ with mail flow rules (transport rules) that I’ve encountered before a couple of days ago and thought it was a good idea sharing.
It’s always good to get a reminder of things from time to time, even if it might be a bit obvious 🙂
The ‘issue’ do of course apply to Exchange On premise environments as well.

The user Kalle Kula have three email addresses as following:
SMTP:kalle.kula@corp.365lab.net (primary)

If an email is sent to the address kalle.kula@spam.365lab.net (one of the alias email address for the user), we want to append a disclamer that states “This email was sent to the domain spam.365lab.net”

How to do it:
1. In Exchange Admin Center, under mail flow -> rules, create a new dislaimer rule.
2014-01-02 13-18-37
2. To be able to do more granular selection and actions, click “More Options” in the bottom left corner.

2014-01-02 13-22-46
3. Then create your rule with the following options.

The logical thing here would have been to apply the rule if the recipient address matches my particular address, but that does only work for primary email addresses. So therefore we need to apply it on the header “To” and match the text pattern kalle.kula@spam.365lab.net (the alias address)

2014-01-02 13-36-072014-01-02 13-37-172014-01-02 13-39-00  

Add your disclaimer and set fall back action.
2014-01-02 13-42-27
The only thing you need to do now for the policy to be applied on future emails is to choose mode: Enforce, save it and you’re done!

If you want to check whether a rule has been used or not, you can use EAC as well.
2014-01-02 14-07-11

PowerShell version:
To do the same as above with PowerShell, you can use the following PowerShell lines:

#Connect to Exchange Online with PowerShell
$cred = Get-Credential
$O365 = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection 
$importcmd = Import-PSSession $O365 
#Create the Mail Flow rule (transport rule)
New-TransportRule -Name "Disclaimer - spam.365lab.net" `
                   -HeaderMatchesPatterns {kalle.kula@spam.365lab.net} `
                   -HeaderMatchesMessageHeader To `
                   -ApplyHtmlDisclaimerText "This email was sent to the domain spam.365lab.net" `
                   -ApplyHtmlDisclaimerLocation Append `
                   -ApplyHtmlDisclaimerFallbackAction Wrap `
                   -Mode Enforce 

Further documentation on mail flow rules (transport rules) you find on http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd351127(v=exchg.150).aspx.