advice on anti-spam tools

Jeffrey Goldberg jeffrey at
Tue Apr 3 02:57:11 UTC 2007

[mailed and posted]

On Apr 2, 2007, at 5:28 PM, Angelin Lalev wrote:

> Hi List,
> My e-mail server is running the latest spamassassin with all of the  
> blacklist enabled and etc.
> but I still receive over 20 spam messages a day ("image" spam mostly).
> The situation with other users may be worse.  That's why I was  
> thinking about some tool that
> 1. store incoming email
> 2. send request to the sender of the message, requiring to go to  
> some address and enter the numbers (letters)
> from image
> 3. if the puzzle is solved in time (week or so) deliver the  
> message, otherwise delete it.
> Is there such tool(s) ?

Most people with email administration experience (including me) think  
that such challenge/response systems are a bad idea.  Others have  
mentioned some of the reasons.

Many people have taken to doing OCR (Optical Character Recognition)  
on incoming email to try to filter out image spam.  Personally, I  
don't think that that is a good use of resources, and that the  
spammers clearly have the upper hand in that battle.  You may wish to  
look at the ImageInfo plug-in to spamassassin.

Have you tried Bayesian learning with spamassassin?  Also when you  
say "all of the black lists enabled" there still may be more that are  
useful.  Look at the IP addresses of things that pass you spam and  
look them up at

to see which, if any, lists they are in.  Consider using those  
lists.  But more and more of the things that I am seeing aren't  
listed in any of those lists.

I try to do as much blocking as early as possible (using SPF and  
sanity checks on the initial part of the SMTP session (reverse  
mapping of client IP, sane HELO values, etc).  So I can do most of my  
rejections prior to ever having to pass mail to spamassassin.

But on the whole, spam is an unsolved problem.  And is well beyond  
the topic of this discussion list.  I'd recommend that you look at  
something like a spamassassin mailing list.  Sorry I can't be more  


Jeffrey Goldberg              

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