Category: Blog


Approaching Event Season | Kick-off @WHD_global March 23rd

Yesterday’s weather forecast showed sunshine and double figured temperatures (Celsius) all over Sweden. Fantastic! This can only mean one thing; event season has begun, and oh yes – its spring! However we gather that our colleagues in San Francisco have felt this for quite some time now, but we are happy to finally get some of that “heat” here in Scandinavia as well.

So, our team is enthusiastically preparing for this great time to come, like frisky calves on pasture, as we would put it here in Sweden. Now is the time when we get to show case our uniqueness to the talented crowed, thanks to the variations of events taking place. And we get to meet up with long-distance friends and clients connecting from all over the world. So no time to waste… March 24- 26th

Our first stop for the season will be at the WorldHostigDays in Europa-Park, Germany. Officially running from March 24th until the 26th, and we will be housing with our great partners Atomia in booth #D09.

Don’t miss out; Cocktail Reception on March 23rd, Commedia dell’ Arte Café, Hotel Colosseo

On Monday evening on the 23rd, before the official WHD opening, we are hosting a get-together Cocktail Reception for all you excited travelers who want to jumpstart the experience. With our friends from OpenSRS and Atomia we welcome you to join us at the Commedia dell’ Arte Café in the Hotel Colosseo, Europa Park. We’ll be serving tasty snacks and drinks between the hours of 18:00-20:00. If you wont make it between those hours, we are surly there for a while. Ping us @halonsecurity #WHD_global

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in contact. We’ve got badges, passes, drinks, food, tech-talk – You name it – and of course not only for Germany…


USA mid May & end of July

We will see you at WHD.US as Gold Partners (7Spring Mountain resort, PA) mid May #TimeHasCome and at HostingCon as Exhibitors (San Diego, CA) end July #HostingCon


ISPA Awards, London UK, July 2nd

Along with all this, Halon Security is a proudly sponsors of the UK Internet industry ISPA Awards, the longest established and most respected awards in the internet industry. The ceremony will take place on July 2nd 2015 at The Brewery, London. #ISPAUK

Now, book your travels, pack your bags and get your gear! We are really looking forward to another fruitful season with our clients, partners and friends from all the corners of the world.

See you soon!

    Nina Offen      Blog

Images for EC2, GCE, Azure and others

Most of our customers are hosting providers, who typically run our software bare-metal or on some hypervisor. There are however a growing number of companies in the managed service (MSP) segment that like to offer services such as email security without having to do the actual hosting. Instead, they rely on cloud computing (VPS) providers such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Rackspace.

A few years ago, many cloud providers offered only “PV” virtualisation, where the guest OS had to be aware of the hypervisor (and thus, customised). They required custom boot loaders, partition formats, initialisation scripts, agents and PV kernels. Because of our “full image update” method (completely overwriting the system partition from an update partition, making updates are quick and reliable), having custom images wasn’t an option. Every Halon email gateway runs the exact same software image. Consequentially, running on such services isn’t possible.

Now that most providers, even Amazon EC2, offers full “HVM” virtualisation, we decided to create public images for a few of these providers in order to make it easier to launch our software on their platforms. We currently have public images available on

and generic instructions for how to install (write the software image to the root disk) from a live CD/rescue mode on for example Rackspace.


New email gateway release 3.3 “frosty” with powerful queue scripting and transparent proxying

The release candidate of the upcoming email gateway release 3.3 (codename frosty) is currently being tested, and it’s packed with news. To start with, it’s based on FreeBSD 10.1 and compiled with clang/LLVM 3.4.1 which brings overall performance improvements. Seemingly small changes, such as the LSI MegaRAID controller (mfi, found in many servers from Dell) getting unmapped I/O, can make significant impact.

With a completed 64-bit migration which brought all users to the same code branch and database scheme, we have been able to focus on major features that required further database migrations. One example is the SetMetaData() function that enables you to;

  • Pass information between DATA and the queue scripts without having to use barriers; you might want to access for example spam score results (from DATA) when choosing source IP address in (in pre-queue)
  • Hold state in the queue between queue retries
  • Operate on the queue (using the web admin or SOAP) with search filters based on your own metadata fields; for example copying messages from an archive destined for a specific backend mail storage server that might have been restored from a backup

The metadata in combination with the system_nonlocal_source setting enables you operate the system in a much more transparent fashion; spoofing the source IP address, using the sender’s HELO hostname, setting the destination IP address according to an “X” header, and so on. Furthermore, we have published proof-of-concept instructions for how to run the system in a fully transparent mode, which might be useful when capturing SMTP traffic for all clients on a network.

Now that many computers comes with retina/HiDPI displays, we thought it was time to update all icons in the web admin to vectorised counterparts. With this came a major web interface overhaul; upping the overall experience with numerous improvements in design, layout and usability. You can take a look at our live demo system and see for yourself.

Being a major release, it also comes with hundreds of new, small features. To mention a few, there’s the syslog() function to accompany echo, raw strings, $transfertime in the post-delivery script, message size in HQL and adjustable mail_queue_threads.