FreeBSD lists and DKIM

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sun Aug 3 08:11:37 UTC 2014

On 02/08/2014 21:32, Dennis Glatting wrote:
> Mail coming through the FreeBSD lists often breaks messages signed
> through DKIM. What is the policy to resolve this issue?
> Turning off DKIM isn't an option. If there is a signature, such as
> someone in the chain coming through gmail, it must validate or the
> message is rejected. I understand this is a common problem for email
> lists and there are patches available to reformat messages.
>    The best general recommendation for dealing with MLMs is that the MLM
>    or an MTA in the MLM's domain apply its own DKIM signature to each
>    message it forwards and that assessors on the receiving end consider
>    the MLM's domain signature in making their assessments.  (See
>    Section 5, especially Section 5.2.)

If you're in charge of the systems *sending* the DKIM signed messages,
then choose the set of mail headers the signature is based on carefully:
avoid any headers that would tend to be re-written during processing by
the mailing list software.

On the receiving side: allow for mailing lists to add trailers to
messages that pass.  Don't base your acept/reject decisions entirely on
whether the message passes or fails DKIM or other tests.  The way
Spamassassin handles such things is the way to go: DKIM, SPF, automatic
white-listing all make a weighted contribution to calculating the score.

The advice for the MLM to apply it's own signature to a message is
problematic in that it magnifies the cpu load required to process
messages quite a lot.  At least with DKIM it is possible to do that:
compare to what would be needed with SPF, where the MLM would be forced
to resend the message as *originating* from the mailing list itself.


Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.

JID: matthew at

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