Ming the Mechanic:

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Spam2004-04-03 03:08
picture by Flemming Funch

I finally got around to installing a spam solution on my server. It took a while because I hadn't really gotten around to researching it, and didn't realize how good they've gotten, and that some of the best solutions are free.

What I installed was MailScanner and SpamAssassin. I had to rework my Sendmail setup a little bit so that it has two queues, one incoming that MailScanner picks up from, and one outgoing that the messages are delivered from to local accounts. MailScanner does some good things on its own in catching suspicious messages of various kinds, including the most obvious spam that includes attachments that nobody would ever send in e-mail. And for spam it calls SpamAssassin, which uses a whole bunch of methods for giving each message a spam score. Including real-time access of databases of messages that have been identified as spam by others very recently. SpamScanner is also wired for connecting up with a full-featured virus scanner, but all of those seem to be commercial, so I'm not going to spring for that just to be nice to my windows mail users who don't have a virus scanner of their own. Besides, I'd guess that that would use more server processor cycles than I'd be happy with.

The short conclusion is that it works remarkably well. Otherwise I was personally counting on the built-in Bayesian spam filter in Eudora, which at first worked wonderfully, but as more and more spammers started including ridiculous amounts of random content, and as they started spelling their keywords in inventive and insane ways, it had stopped working. Meaning that despite catching hundreds of spam messages every day, other hundreds of messages made it through to my mailbox.

Now SpamScanner and SpamAssassin give messages a score, which Eudora uses in its spam assessment. And they also put a flag in the subject line of likely candidates, like [link]. I hadn't really meant to leave that feature on, but since it is almost always correct, it is actualy helpful. It allows me to simply have a last filter in my list of mail filters that throws everything with that flag into my junkmail folder. The result being that only a handful of spam messages make it through to my inbox every day. And those flags will make it easier for other mail users on my server to filter their messages.

So, ahhh, a little breathing room again. I'm less likely to throw real messages away just because the sender used a subject that sounds spam-like, like "Hello Flemming".

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4 Apr 2004 @ 14:35 by chrono @ : virus scanner
for the records: MailScanner mentions ClamAV ( www.clamav.net ), which is an GPL virus scanner with an always up-to-date database.  

4 Apr 2004 @ 14:46 by ming : ClamAV
Ah, I missed that. Thank you! I've better look into it, then.  

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Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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