Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

New SpamAssassin Rules

My host has recently upgraded SpamAssassin to version 3, and it includes some quite cool new rules which help to combat some of the more recent spammer trends. Here’s some of the new ones I’ve noticed:

  • Message body has many words used only once
  • Contains an URL listed in the SC SURBL blocklist
  • Long string of long words

It’s resulted in some spam getting much higher scores than it used to, which is a good thing. I wish there was an option somewhere that meant that mail over a certain score was automatically deleted – currently mail that has more than 5.6 points is marked as spam but I’d like any mail with over 30 points to be deleted outright because it’s highly unlikely that it won’t be junk. 5.6 gets about 95% of spam but I get the occasional false-positive so I don’t want any mail above that score to be deleted.


  1. Neil, have you tried Spamnet by Cloudmark. I like it. Your subscription makes you a member of a community that reports spam. So you are immediately linked to all blocked addresses of over 1 million others in the community. So the “email rules” are community wide and as you report addresses that are spam, the effectiveness of the filter grows. Here’s tjhe URL if you’re interested

  2. It’s alright, I have Mozilla Thunderbird’s spam filter as well which works well enough. A third filter would be overkill 🙂

  3. I’m very very certain there’s a way to do what you are after (indeed – I use it myself: anything with a score of above 20 is instantly deleted, anything between 5 and 20 is moved to my spam-folder for later review, anything under 5 is treated as per normal).
    I’d check your web hosting companies forum to see if somebody there has written a useful guide for this sort of operation 😉

  4. I don’t know what sort of availability you have to the configuration of SpamAssassin, but it is wonderful. I work in a law firm for 20 attorneys (plus 40 staff) and being the “Company’s computer guy” I had to get Spam under control quickly. I had messages that were over a certain point value deleted from the system automatically. Ok, well to be honest, I filtered the resulting SpamAssassin results to my account and then filtered them within Outlook (to be on the safe/legal side.) Anyway, you can delete them if they are over a point value, but hardly any hosting company will do it for legal reasons. Unsolicited Commercial Email laws may be different in the UK, but they are ever-changing, and it’s always interesting what the non-computer politicians come up with. 😀
    BTW, Thanks for the MT template that I’m using for my blog.