This was a tough call:
For the only advertised, and non-filtered, address on the system, however, it's 50/50 basic 419 variants and lottery winner scams. Except for a single advance order scam. Just one. In almost a year. And nothing else.
-Reality might not get out of Beta today. (O.Timas, "Bot")
I've used Y!Mail in the past, and been pleased overall. However, while their filters do catch about 95% of the Spam, I had problems with false positives. I, personally, would rather see a bit more pink meat in my mailbox and be assured that false positives would be very rare.
I've been pleased with GMail in this regard, but for real "industrial" use, I use Spam Assassin with a whitelist and a threshold score of 6.5. That seems to nab about 80-85% of the Spam, and I have had 0 false positives in about 6 months.
Anima Legato .oO all things connect through the motion of the mind
Character sets I can't read count as undeciperable,
right? 306MB and counting. 166MB of that is
GB2312 alone. (This is since August 27, 2002.)
The various ks_c_ charsets between them account
for another 60MB.
Stuff either doesn't specify what charset it's in
or that's theoretically in character sets I
can potentially read (mainly, UTF8, which I
unfortunately can't filter because some people
in the open-source community write English messages
in it in preference to ASCII or Latin-1, for no
discernible reason), but the subject line contains
either long strings of non-alphanumeric characters,
or nothing but alphanumeric characters, probably
also counts as undecipherable. Another 141MB.
A handful of these have long strings of punctuation
in the subject, but most of them are Unicode
messages written in a non-Latin writing system.
141MB since September 2003 when I wrote the rule.
That virus from a while back, "See the attached
file for details", 235MB.
Assorted miscellany my filters didn't catch,
166MB (between 2004 April 23 and December 6;
I start a new bin for this periodically so
I can calculate the impact per-day and see
how much it's increasing).
I did get one CPAN bug report once... for
some reason I filed that under nnml:perl.*
rather than under nnml:spam.*, go figure.
The unfiltered stuff (which lands in my inbox
and gets shifted manually) is what annoys me most,
and I'm continually looking for ways to reduce it,
without getting false positives. (My experiments
with Bayesian filtering were a wash; after training
ifile on my entire very large corpus of mail, I found
that I had to continually go through the whole spam
bin for false positives. With the system I use now,
I don't go through the filtered ones, only the
unfiltered ones that land in my inbox.)
Some of the kinds of spam that land in my inbox
include the following:
Messages with an enigmatic or vague subject
line (that looks like a Markov chain or
random dictionary words) and no content --
absolutely nothing in the body at all, no
HTML part, no attachment, no nothing.
I seem to get a fair amount of this, and I'm
confused as to what possible reason the
spammers could have for sending it.
419s. I haven't found a solid way to detect
them (without false positives) yet.
Adverts for warez
Adverts for medical products that do not,
in fact, exist: ways to reverse the aging
process, cures for cancer, and the like
Spam written in Latin characters, but in a
language I don't read. Spanish predominates
in this category, but I've seen German, French,
and I think Italian. If I get any Portuguese,
I probably mistake it for Spanish.
Spam written using non-Latin characters (but
without specifying the charset as such, either
because it's not specified at all or because
it's unicode) that slips past the filter rule
for non-alphanumeric subject lines by throwing
in alphanumeric characters in a few spots.
Various prescription meds adverts that slip
past my filtering rules. Most of them seem
to slip past, even though I've tried to be
clever with my regular expressions. I write
stuff like "^Subject.*[Vv].?[Ii1l|].?[Aa@].?[Gg].?[Rr].?[Aa@]"
but they still find other ways to say it and
slip past. I think they use lookalike Unicode
characters. Did I mention that Unicode is a
plague and a nuissance? Yeah.
Sundry other nonsense and junk.
However, even the stuff that gets filtered is a
significant annoyance, because of the bandwidth it
uses. I'm on 33.6 dialup here, so retrieving my
mail takes a few minutes; when most of what I'm
retrieving is unsolicited bulkmail, it's
annoying to have to wait for that.
Messages with an enigmatic or vague subject line (that looks like a Markov chain or random dictionary words) and no content -- absolutely nothing in the body at all, no HTML part, no attachment, no nothing. I seem to get a fair amount of this, and I'm confused as to what possible reason the spammers could have for sending it.
Testing if its a valid email address? If it doesn't bounce your email address gets added to the "alive" list.
I Disagree. They can't reliably get information on what addresses work from the transport mechanisms. The Mail Exchanger (MX) for any given domain may simply be a relay, and unable to tell the remote host if the/a recipient is invalid. If your MX is able to give that information, or is a relay that can do so by using LDAP lookups, I'd be surprised if the spambot actually cared about recording the status of that particular e-mail address (a lead, if you want to make it sound nice).
Now, in the case that you have a relay, every message will get an OK status when the spambot delivers the message. When the message gets to a host that can say if the recipient is invalid, the relay that was connected to that host will make the "bounce" message -- I'll say "DSN" here. DSNs are sent to the envelope sender of the message. There's a very slim chance that the envelope sender of a spam message goes to some mailbox that tracks the status of leads. That would make blocking spam messages much easier for us Good Guys. Most of the time, they will use an invalid user at a valid domain. Sometimes, the user is valid. That's called a Joe Job, and the user or domain will start receiving thousands of DSNs for messages that they never sent. Not fun at all.
I think that in this case, it's simply a mistake on the spammer's part. That sort of thing is rather common -- most often, I see messages that have a bunch of tokens that are meant to be substituted before the message goes out, but aren't. I've seen some other stupid ones before, too.
My experiments with Bayesian filtering were a wash; after training ifile on my entire very large corpus of mail, I found that I had to continually go through the whole spam bin for false positives.
I did the same thing when I first came to Bayesian filtering, but that's not the way to get the best results out of it. Filtering is more accurate if you simply correct its mistakes as they occur than if you preload it with an existing corpus.
Filtering is more accurate if you simply correct its mistakes as they occur
If I have to correct false positives as the occur,
this so-called "filtering" is no good to me at all,
because it means I have to go through all the spam.
Worse than useless. My existing filtering system
is significantly better, because I am confident
that 100.000% of everything filtered into the spam
folders is, in fact, worthless junk. Additionally,
*most* of my legitimate mail is filtered into
various spam-free folders based on topic, list,
sender or whatever. The only mail I have to sort
by hand is the stuff that lands in my inbox (because
none of my filters pick it up).
I don't want to correct my filter's errors continually.
If I have to do that, it's not doing its job at ALL;
*I* would be doing 100% of the filter's job, then.
I think I have received all of them at some point or another. The Nigerian 419's are the funniest ones in my opinion. There is a website that makes fun of these scammers and posts their pictures. I just can't remember the link to the site at the moment.
-------- The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke
I chose "unreadable", but for an odd reason. I use Mail.app on OS X, and its built-in junk filter is impressive. However, it seems to be less effective at processing and interpreting Japanese and Chinese, so sometimes one of those will get through. Since I read neither, most that I get is 'unreadable'.
Plus, I'm not sure how to tell the filter "If you see something that looks like a goat next to a sparkplug". And while I don't mind learning something of other languages and cultures, this is not the conditions under which I'd like to do so.
tbone1, YAPS (Yet Another Perl Schlub) And remember, if he succeeds, so what.
- Chick McGee
I bought a domain a while back with my own server. I have a little shell script for one-use e-mail addresses, which adds an entry to /etc/aliases in the form "tmurray-(site name)", rebuilds the alias database, and adds another entry to a text file saying what website the address is associated with.
At my mail client, I filter each message into directories. My main inbox gets all "tmurray@" messages (mostly system e-mails and a few from friends). Then I have a few directories for mailing lists. Then there is a catch-all directory (matching "tmurray-*@"), which naturally gets most of the spam (but with a lot of ligit messages, too).
Almost all my spam comes from either one of the mailing list addresses (this mailing list didn't have address obfuscation in the archives when I first signed up) or at "tmurray-pair@" (which is on my DNS registration). It's gotten bad enough on that address that I've split off "tmurray-pair" into a seperate mail directory.
Now here is where you get to the true vileness of spammers. That address needs to be on the DNS registration. It's standard practice for good reasons. If someone needs to tell me about a problem with my domain, that's the address they'll use. However, most of what is in there is spam. Having even one false positive would be dreadful. Spammers have polluted an otherwise critical communication path into near uselessness.
"There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.
Using SpamAssassin and friends seems to have
chopped the amount of SPAM I see somewhat. Still a lot of
it gets through anyway. The spammers just get more and more
clever sliding the stuff past the filters.
I've even given some thought to how I could write an
accounting script to calculate the amount of CPU time that
is spent by my mail server processing it and billing the
spammers for their share of what it costs to filter the
crap out. When they refuse to pay take them to small claims
court (keep the $$ amount below US$5000) and sue them.
If they still don't pay take a lien out on their assets
starting with any computers they use to send the stuff.
Probably wouldn't work out in real life but hey... it's
Not really perl-related but the best way of stopping spam is at the MTA level with RBLs (Runtime Black Lists.)
These are lists of the IP addresses of confirmed spammers and other machines which should not be sending mail such as open relays, home machines, etc. Some RBLs are rather trigger-happy and add blacklist legitimate users sometimes but the following, which I use with postfix, are considered pretty reputable:
For the first six months I used RBLs, I kept copies of rejected mail just to make sure I wasn't bouncing legitimate mail but I didn't have one false positive. However there is a small chance this could happen. But to me that risk is worth it for the dramatic reduction in spam. For spam that manages to evade the RBLs, the combination of spamassassin (with regular updates of the rulesets), clamav, and some procmail recipes provide a secondary line of defense.
I used to get 200-300 spam messages a day. Now thanks to these methods, I get 1 or 2.
When the Xmas bills come in people start getting desperate, and second and third mortages begin to look (relatively) better. Stupid, yes. Instead, give your friends/relatives gift certificates for free computer advice. (very stupid, yes!)
This is missing the option "filtered". I seem to get mostly viagra type spam at work, where we don't have filters.. Narry a one, they installed one once as a test, complained it needed too much intervention to sort out the false positives, and uninstalled it again, so much for that. At home the only ones that trickle through are mortgage type offers theses days (with the significant words full of spaces).
I'm running 4 levels of filter.. a fetchmail preconnect deletes mail from certain countries (using the IP of the first received part) at the server (sorry, if you're from Korea or China, send me email to another of my addresses). Also all mail that is for other usernames on my domain, that dont actually exists as users or aliases on the system (one of these days, I'll figure out who "Castaway|castaway" is.. ). After that, its 3 levels of SpamAssassin, at 10, 5 and 2. I could probably merge the first two, I dont think Ive ever seen legit mail there since I started. Level 2 is fairly new, and catches both, so I check it often (still 95% spam though)..
Ah the joys of email.. I've had this address 10 years, and I'm not about to stop just for some stoopid spammers..