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Testing new anti-spam system, news at

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Sun, 9 May 2010 17:41:43 -0400

Hi, all -

I'm currently trying out a new anti-spam regime on my machine; it's a sea-change from what I've been trying up until now (SpamAssassin, etc.) I'm tired of "enumerating badness" - i.e., trying to figure out who the Bad Guys are and block them. Instead, I've hacked up a procmail-based challenge-and-response system.

The operation of this gadget isn't all that complicated:

0) Copy all emails to a backup mailbox.
1) Archive mail from any of my bots, list-reminders, etc.
2) Deliver mail from any lists I'm on.
3) Dump any blacklisted senders.
4) Deliver any whitelisted ones.
5) Check headers to see if it's actually from me; deliver if so...
6) ...and dump any remaining email purporting to be from me into /dev/null.
7) Mail that doesn't fit the above criteria gets held and the sender is
notified of this. If they respond to this verification message, they
automatically get added to the whitelist. Held email automatically get
dumped when it's a month old.

So far, over the past few hours since I've implemented this, it seems to be working fine: zero spam (once I tuned #5/#6 a little more), and the valid messages seem to be coming through just fine. I'm still watching it carefully to make sure it doesn't blow up in some odd way, but so far, so good.

In about a month - depending on where I am and a number of other factors - I just might write this up. :) Having to manually go through and delete 500-1500 emails per day... I'm just totally over that.

-- * Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *

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Published in Issue 175 of Linux Gazette, June 2010