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Old 02-01-2008, 11:48 AM   #1
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Orlando, FL
Distribution: Arch
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Adjusting Spamassassin To Catch Spam

I have spamassassin setup on my email server (Postfix) and it marks 1/2 of my SPAM as ***SPAM*** however not most or all. I undertstand that tagging every legitimate piece of SPAM is not realistic however I would hope it would do a better job. Right now my email server houses only one mailbox.

Here is an example of a SPAM message that was not labeled SPAM due to scoring.

Return-Path: <>
Received: by (Postfix, from userid 5001)
id 078B716B0248; Fri, 1 Feb 2008 09:34:02 -0500 (EST)
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.1.7-deb (2006-10-05) on
X-Spam-Level: *
X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.9 required=2.0 tests=HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_12,
HTML_MESSAGE,HTML_SHORT_LINK_IMG_1 autolearn=no version=3.1.7-deb
Received: from mfuhji (unknown [])
by (Postfix) with SMTP id 7ADDA16B0248
for <>; Fri, 1 Feb 2008 09:33:53 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <000901c864df$7b596580$0100007f@dvxym>
From: "Brandon Allen" <>
To: <>
Subject: 0EM Software
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2008 12:34:17 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.2905
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.2962

OK so you perhaps would like to see what my file looks like for SA, right? I don't have access to it now however is there anything you can recommend in the time being?

Last edited by carlosinfl; 02-01-2008 at 11:50 AM.
Old 02-01-2008, 12:03 PM   #2
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Well a few spam mails do get through from time to time. I would recommend saving them into a separate mailbox/folder and running sa-learn on the folder when you have collected quite a few.
Old 02-01-2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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Yup, sa-learn is the tool. It takes a certain amount of learned messages before SpamAssassin starts working "efficiently"; I don't remember the estimate, but it was some hundred messages I think. So after you've collected and sa-learn'ed a thousand messages, you may expect it to catch most of the incoming spam.

Here's a script I use to "teach" SA on my university account:
echo "* Learning new mails *"
echo "received: \c"
sa-learn --showdots --nonspam --mbox mail/received
echo "spam_assassin: \c"
sa-learn --showdots --spam --mbox mail/spam_assassin
echo "important_stuff: \c"
sa-learn --showdots --spam --mbox mail/important_stuff
echo "* Ready *"
Ok, a bit of an overkill maybe, but handy. So when I log in, I check my mail, if there are any spams, move them to spam_assassin, and once a week or so check that spam_assassin doesn't contain any non-spam messages and run the above script. Works like a charm. I haven't used it for very long yet, so I'll keep teaching the thing, but eventually I'll probably make SA not to move the spam to spam_assassin, but to delete it directly - when it has learned enough, the probability of non-spam getting caught is small enough for me to have the thing work automatically.

So now my only trouble with spam is to check once a week or so that there are no non-spam messages in the spam directory, and run the script. For some time now it has meant just running the script

EDIT: and yeah - in the beginning every second spam seemed to get trough to my inbox, but nowadays I see them very rarely, if at all.

Last edited by b0uncer; 02-01-2008 at 12:13 PM.


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