Spam-free inbox (well almost).

Posted on 20 September 2003 in Internet (No comments)

A few months ago, Darren who runs the server this very website sits on, installed Spam Assassin, a rather good spam detector in an attempt to combat the tide of spam that we were all getting.

I must confess I hadn't done much with it bar a client side filter in KMail which put all the spam into a 'Junk' folder on my PC. This meant I was downloading all the spam to my computer, which was daft, but I was too lazy to do anything more.

And then the Swen Virus decided to attack... It was getting annoying.This morning I had 36 emails. 32 were from that virus, which amounted for over 4meg of download.

For the last few hours I've been pouring over the dual awfulness of SpamAssassin and Procmail's documentation, trying to find a solution. It has to be said, neither are particularly friendly to read unless you're a hard core hacker (guess who isn't!)

Thankfully you can customise Spam Assassin on a user-by-user basis, and once I'd worked out how to change it's scoring mechanism it was trivial to implement it. Lo, all virus emails with Windows executable files are given a score that's so big, Spam Assassin marks it as spam.

Next step was to get Procmail to save all these emails in a folder on the shared box (it's called fof if you must know) so I didn't have to download them. I didn't want to kill them straight off just in case anything was marked as spam that shouldn't have. Thankfully this was relatively trivial thanks to a nice tutorial linked from the SpamAssassin website.

End result is that for the last few hours, I'm no longer downloading tonnes of virus emails with large attachments, and a plethora unsolicited bulk email, mostly from Korea. Wahoo!

Of course Spam Assassin isn't perfect - some crap will get through, but it's nice to know its far less than it was before. Now if we can just irradicate spam and viruses completely from the planet, I'll be even happier.

Well I can dream...

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