Pre-October-2003 Deflexion & Reflexion from the Procmail Quick Start
- 2003 September 23 Dallman Ross announced
version 1.3 of his Virus Snaggers. For more about these snaggers,
see the September 19th News items and the Snagging
Viruses section below.
- 2003 September 22: As announced
(SA) 2.60 is available at spamassassin.org/released/
(and many other places including spamassassin.taint.org/released/
and Theo Van Dinter's
SpamAssassin is a popular spam-detection and scoring tool that is
often used in conjunction with Procmail and IMAP.
I describe how to plug SpamAssassin into Procmail in Using SpamAssassin below.
- 2003 September 19 Inspired by Dallman
Ross's Virus Snaggers (see next News item), I added a section called
Snagging Viruses to this page. Thank you Dallman!
- 2003 September 19 Dallman Ross posted
to the Procmail mailing list that included a link to his
“Virus Snaggers” recipes (virussnag.rc). Dallman's
recipes catch W32.Swen.A@mm
(aka W32/Gibe-F and W32/Automat-AHB) and many other worms and
viruses. As I describe in Snagging Viruses
below, I am currently using his recipes and so far they
are working very well!
- 2003 September 10 Fridrik Skulason, Founder
of FRISK Software International (f-prot.com),
published an open letter titled Why
(some) anti-virus companies are to blame for the recent e-mail flood.
He makes the same important point about auto-replies and forged
From:headers that chromatic made on August 19 (see below). The Slashdot discussion about this is also worth reading (but as usual there are some comments from people who do not understand email headers and envelopes).
- 2003 September 10 and 3 Added the sections
Using a Nesting Block to Optimize the SpamAssassin
Recipes and Using SpamAssassin to this page.
- 2003 September 7 John
D. Hardin released Procmail
Sanitizer 1.139. “The Microsoft
Office VBE Buffer Overflow attack detection is the primary attraction
of this release.”
- 2003 September 1 Julian Field released
version 4.23-11 of MailScanner.
MailScanner is often used in conjunction with Procmail and SpamAssassin.
Also see their page with Sobig-F
- 2002 August 28 Catherine
A. Hampton (a fellow ex Bestie)
updated SpamBouncer, which
is a collection of Procmail recipes to detect and process spam &
viruses. “The significant new feature in version 1.7 is SpamBouncer
scoring. Instead of ruling email as spam or just suspicious based
on single criteria, the SpamBouncer now weighs "hits" on
different criteria, and adds those weights together.”
- 2003 August 27 The Osirusoft blocklists
are dead. These blocklists have been used by many tools, for example
SpamAssassin, to help determine the spam score or spam probability
of a message. If your spam-detection tools use these lists, stop using
these lists immediately because they are “blacklisting the world”!
For details, see Osirusoft
Blacklists The World at slashdot.org and Osirusoft
Blocklists Dead at news.spamassassin.org.
- 2003 August 22 Ruud H.G. van Tol posted
A simple anti-SoBig-recipe
in a message
sent to the Procmail mailing list (which, thanks to gmane.org,
is also available via NNTP
Alternate ways to deal with this (and many other) worms & viruses are in Snagging Viruses below.
- 2003 August 21 As discussed on Infinite
Ink's top page, www.ii.com, this Procmail
Quick Start had more visitors than it has ever had in one day!
The current onslaught of worms, viruses, and spam seem to be
- helping to spread the word about Procmail & Infinite Ink, and
- helping to push alternate ways to communicate such as using NNTP, IM, RSS, or direct (non-SMTP) access-controlled placement into IMAP mailboxes. I have lots of links related to this in The Future of Internet Messaging: Intertwingling IMAP, SMTP, NNTP, IM, and RSS.
- 2002 August 19
technical editor of the O'Reilly
Network, added a weblog entry titled One
Question Certification Tests for E-Mail Filter Authors and subtitled
“I'm normally skeptical of certification programs, but anyone
who writes a program intended to scan and to respond to incoming e-mail
should be required to pass a one question test before proceeding.”
I recommend that everyone who creates email filters take chromatic's one-question test, especially if your filters use white/green/red/black lists or auto-replies! If you pass that test, here's my one-question super advanced certification test: If
firstname.lastname@example.org the recipient of an email message, which headers will contain the address
email@example.com? To check your answer, see the discussion and links about the envelope below.
- 2002 July 31 ZDNet published the
spam captures exceed all of 2002 by Will Sturgeon.
- 2003 July 15 As announced here,
POPFile v0.18.3 and
v0.19.1 are available. POPFile is a multi-platform, general Bayesian
email classification tool that recently
became open source software. Currently it can be used as a POP
proxy or invoked via
a Procmail recipe. Using it via IMAP
is planned. It is receiving a lot of attention, including
- getting a rating at about.com
- being discussed in TechNews.com's REVIEWS in the February 2 Washington Post
- being the “top-performing spam filter” for Gizmo Richards, the editor of techsupportalert.com
- being one of the most active projects at SourceForge.net
- having its creator, John Graham-Cumming, become a member of ActiveState's Anti-spam Task Force
The CVS version includes an SMTP proxy that does SMTP mail classification and an NNTP proxy that does NNTP Usenet news post classification. The SMTP proxy makes it easy to use POPFile (along with Procmail) to do server-side mail classification.
- 2003 July 6 Version 1.0a4 of SpamBayes
released. This popular and well-respected Python program can
be used with Procmail.
- 2003 July 6 Updated Reverse
Spam Filtering: Winning Without Fighting so it now includes my
SpamAssassin 2.60 user_prefs file with an explanation of each setting
that I use.
- 2003 May The Project
of the Month at SourceForge.net is POPFile,
an open-source, multi-platform, Bayesian email-categorization tool.
with the leaders of the project includes these comments:
“The road ahead consists ofPOPFile is one of the most interesting tools for helping users, and in the future ISPs, to deal with email overload.
...Support for IMAP and SMTP protocols. ...filter RSS news items and NNTP posts.”
- 2003 March 28 In the Procmail mailing
list, Martin McCarthy announced the Errata
page for his book The
- 2003 January 17: Spam
Conference at MIT -- check out
speakers & talk
- 2003 January 9 Tony Svanstrom announced
his Procmail wiki in
the procmail mailing list.
- 2003 January 6: Network
Associates Technology, Inc. (NAI) acquired Deersoft,
Inc. and now owns the SpamAssassin™ trademark and
now employs Justin Mason and Craig Hughes, two of the main
SpamAssassin developers. Another main SpamAssassin developer,
Matt Sergeant of MessageLabs,
announced that because of the acquisition he will “have
to quit working on this project.” Since SpamAssassin uses
the Perl Artistic
License, it is not required that NAI give their revisions to the
SA code back to the SA community (and it is unlikely that they will).
For more information, see Deersoft
Acquisition - Frequently Asked Questions at NAI; and the SAtalk
mailing list, which is archived at gmane.org
Especially interesting are these two messages:
- 2003 January 7: Thoughts by Tobias von Koch, which is archived at gmane.org
- 2003 January 7: Re: Deersoft acquisition (thumbs down) by Rob M. (rmang), which is archived at gmane.org
- 2002 October email.about.com
You Need to Know About Bayesian Spam Filtering. This includes
a good overview of this hot topic and links to more information.
- 2002 October 8 IBM developerWorks published
an updated version of Stamp
out spam with SpamAssassin: Smarter spammers, smarter filters
by Brian Goetz.
- 2002 September 30 In a message
posted to the mutt-users
mailing list (AKA gmane.mail.mutt.user),
made the following astute observation about procmail recipes:
From: darren chamberlain Newsgroups: gmane.mail.mutt.user Subject: Re: .procmailrc Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 16:02:51 -0400 Message-ID: <20020930200251.GD9084@boston.com> > [ deleted ] > > (procmail recipes aren't my strength). They aren't anyone's strength. (darren)
- 2002 September 29 In a message posted to comp.mail.misc, Lux Scientiae announced the release of a “tool that allows you to create Procmail email filters via an easy-to-use web interface.” More info about Lux Scientiae and how it compares with other providers is in the LuxSci section of my Table of IMAP Service Providers. If you sign up for a LuxSci account, you can get a 10% discount and let them know that I'm sending them some business by using the special offer code “iicom”.
- 2002 September 5: SpamAssassin
(SA) 2.41 released. This version and later require a local delivery
agent, such as Procmail. [Does 2.40 also require a LDA???]
- 2002 August 20 Jason
Tishler announced the Updated
Cygwin Package: procmail-3.22-7. Cygwin
is a Unix environment for MS Windows.
- 2002 August 19 Habeas,
Inc. formally launched its company. They provide a technique to
identify messages that are not spam and they are committed
“to always keeping the individual and ISP licenses royalty-free.”
Their site includes some Procmail
Recipes that can be used with the Habeas headers.
- 2002 July 25 Thank you to Léon Planken
for finding a mistake that has been in this article since version 1,
which I wrote eight years ago. The mistake was in one of the most plagiarized
sections of this article, so this means that all the articles that plagiarized
that section have a mistake in them!
BTW, I am happy if you use an excerpt of my writing as long as you give me credit and give the ii.com URL of the article from which you are excerpting. This will save your readers from wondering who plagiarized from whom when (if) they find my writing and it will give your readers a pointer to relevant -- and possibly more up-to date -- information.
- 2002 July 23 In the article Rethinking
spam at NewsForge, Robin "Roblimo"
“This article will probably help me find a hosting service that includes SpamAssassin email filtering. Suddenly I will be immune to virtually all email marketing efforts. Eventually spam filtering at the server level will become overwhelmingly popular[If you know of an ISP that has installed SpamAssassin, please post a comment after Roblimo's article. I will put any provider that has SA installed in my list of IMAP service providers, even if they are one of the providers who currently don't support IMAP.]
. . .”
- 2002 June The latest version of Usermin,
which is part of Webmin,
includes a GUI “Procmail Mail Filter” in the standard
- 2002 May 28 Simson
L. Garfinkel published SIMSON SAYS: An End to Spam With SpamAssassin
and it is available here,
- 2002 February 16 Draft of Reverse
Spam Filtering: Winning Without Fighting by Nancy McGough published
this describes the strategy that I use to deal with spam.
- Recently Because of the increase in email viruses
and spam, there has been a flurry of Procmail interest on mailing lists,
newsgroups, and the web. For example, the daily number of unique IP
addresses looking at this page has doubled. Thank you to everyone who
is pointing people here. The thank-you notes, such as the one below,
and the burgeoning log files make the work that I put into this page
and the rest of the Infinite Ink web site worthwhile!
I am Proud of on your www.ii.com and prey tou live more prosperous beacause gave us help us very much and you sholdcontnued your your work.Your site is very helpful for us. Thank You
- 2001 September 10 Procmail 3.22 released. Note
that this version has a
bug with the
- 2001 July 18 Procmail 3.15.2 released. If you
deliver to maildir mailboxes, this (or 3.22) is the best version to
- 2001 June 29 Procmail 3.21 released. Philip Guenther,
the current Procmail maintainer, recommends that if you use maildirs
you should not use 3.20 or 3.21.
- 2001 May 11 Incorporated comments from Philip
Guenther, the current Procmail maintainer (thanks Philip!).
- 2001 April 12 Updated this page so it includes a definition of maildir and information about delivering to a mailbox that is in maildir format.