Fix for the Issue when SCL Levels Aren’t Correct in Exchange Server

no-spam-1055089-mHow should one practice good communication within the workplace? Well it’s easy since modern technology has advanced enough for us to send messages within the blink of an eye. Emails are one of the best sources of connectedness to arrive in the workplace. With this being our go-to method, we should know enough about this sources of communication in order to properly operate it. In our Exchange Server environment we have a couple of methods that make our effectiveness at work better. One such instance of this method will greatly increase our work performance as we’re not bothered nearly half as much. What I’m describing is our email spam protection that comes nearly standard on all professional level software.

Email spam guards are very effective these days as we normally don’t even know we’re receiving spam emails anymore. But sometimes these emails that are filtered out could contain important information that we may need. In our particular scenario this is exactly what’s going on, it’s even more difficult because we’re receiving emails through our intranet and they are all common emails. To combat this we need to figure out if this is specific to only one person or many. Since we can already tell that it’s only coming from one person we can go ahead and move onto the next step.

We should take note of the Spam Confidence Level (SCL) which controls whether or not the email is considered spam. After figuring this out we know that the SCL level is at a value of minus one (“-1”) which should be okay for receiving the emails in the first place so that can’t be the problem. To further dig into this situation we find that our encryption through outlook and Exchange Server has become disabled. This is our culprit: if the encryption is disabled Exchange will ignore the SCL level and set it to zero.

We can fix this problem if our Exchange Server is 2010 or older as well as if you’re using Microsoft Office 365. This fix is more of a workaround as you would want to wait untill Microsoft releases an official update with this fix included. To get started we’re going to need to enable our Remote Procedure Call (RPC) encryption. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Open up your control panel and then open the “Mail” section.
  2. Open up the show profiles and select your own.
  3. Click on properties and then click on “Email Accounts”.
  4. Select the Exchange Server account that you’re located on and click “Change”.
  5. Now find your mailbox server in the dialog box that just opened. Once found select “More Settings”.
  6. In the Exchange Server window click on the tab labeled “Security”.
  7. There should be a check box to select for encrypting data between Outlook and Exchange Server. Select it and then hit “Ok”. **Note** If you somehow can’t click on the check box (because it’s dimmed most likely) this is because your version of Exchange Server is probably the year 2013. In this case you cannot enable this check box and you should contact Microsoft support about the issue.
  8. Hit “Next” and “Finish”, them close and hit “Ok” and you should be set.

This workaround should now encrypt your emails which should override the Exchange Server. This will no longer reclassify the emails in question and now should put them in the correct SCL class -1. The SCL default is zero which should deliver the message to the receiver, but in this case that is not the solution. For reference, a level of 5,6 will be considered spam, 9 is definitely spam, -1 is classifying the email as safe and the sender is also classified as safe, and 0,1 will scan the email and determine its safe (usually). SCL doesn’t use 2, 3, 4, 7, or 8 just because the service doesn’t require them to function. If anything you can set up your email account to classify certain emails as -1 to help prevent future problems.

If this fix doesn’t seem to work out for you, then make sure that you meet some of the requirements for implementing the workaround. This is just a workaround; it would be wise to continue looking at recently released updates for a formal fix. Hopefully this workaround has helped you understand a bit about email SCL.

Written by Jacob Rede

1 Comment

  1. Nerisse · December 31, 2013

    Emails are important in the workplace because they help us communicate with each other properly. Many of us depend so much on our email systems that when problems or failures happen, we almost always go crazy. This is especially true if you are working with Microsoft Exchange. It is a good thing, however, that Microsoft always gives us ways to figure out what to do or how to get things back in order. This post is an example. The Spam Confidence Level (or SCL) is important because it helps us determine whether what we’re receiving is spam or not. So if the system doesn’t work right and the spam levels detected is not the real one, they we’re going to have problems. Since the fix is meant for older Exchange versions, maybe the first thing I’ll do is change mine and go back to using the 2010 version. Anyway, thanks for this. Saves time as I don’t have to go into Microsoft’s support page and look for troubleshooting guides!

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