FileType rules show executable even though file shows data -- Please help fix.

Mark Sapiro mark at
Thu Jul 8 00:41:40 IST 2010

On Thu, Jul 08, 2010 at 04:32:33AM +0000, Peter Ong wrote:
> Hi Mark,
> Thanks for that. Help me clarify a few things:
> > As it should because the output of "file msg-16388-1.txt: is
> > "DOS executable (COM)" and that is matched by the regexp "executable"
> > in the rule.
> I see. And that would be the second of four fields counting from the left, correct? I thought it was only regexp if it they were enclosed in slashes such as /executable/. Am I wrong?

I don't know for sure. I'm going for regexp because that's what it says
at the top of the file, but regexp or "substring match" would give the
same result in this case with no "pattern characters". It seems clear
it's not an "exact full string" match in any case.

> > > There are two lines that shows "No programs allowed", but I changed
> > one to say "No executables allowed" so depending on the error message
> > I know that it failed on one of them, and it does fail on the "No
> > executables" line.
> > > 
> > > I only ran file on the msg file because Julian suggested it, and for
> > everyone's edification, I posted the result here. The fact that the
> > file command shows DOS executable (COM) should trigger the correct
> > line in the error message which is:
> > > 
> > > deny    -       x-dosexec       No DOS executables      No DOS
> > programs allowed
> I apologize. In my frustration, I pasted the wrong line from the filetypes.conf.rules file. I meant to paste this one:
> deny    executable      No executables          No executables allowed
> This is where I had changed the word "programs" to "executables"  so I can determine which line is triggering.

Right, and that's the rule you said matched and it matches because "file"
says "DOS executable (COM)" which is matched by "executable".

> > The hyphen in the above rule makes it a "5 field" rule in which case,
> > the third field is matched against the mime type (output of file -i)
> > which in this case is "text/x-mail" so no match.
> Can someone explain how these fields work? The instructions on top of the file are too terse for me.
> The second of five field is for the result of the "file" command, and the third of five field is for the output of "file -i". Do both fields have to be filled out or just one?

I think that's not quite right. I *think* if you want to match against
the "file" output, you use a four field rule and the second field is the
match, and if you want to match "file -i", you use a five field rule and
the third field is the match. In the latter case, in the example, the
second field is a "-" because, I think, it is ignored. Clearly the two
field matches are not anded because the hyphen in the example wouldn't
match and the rule wouldn't match. I don't think they are ored either,
I *think* in a five field rule the second field is merely a placeholder
to make five fields and is ignored.

> Are they evaluated as && or ||? I'm not sure. As you can see in my original post, I tried to put in all combinations, just in case. Are those fields always evaluated as regex? Because if so that means I need to escape special characters, but I don't know whether it's always regex or just as a string.

I don't really know the answer to that.

> I thought it went this way... there are two files in the folder. One is named after a postfix unique identifier... 012A34ABC and the other is msg-1234-1.txt. I thought the first file was scanned by "file" and the second scanned by "file -i". Tell me if I got this wrong.

That's not the way it works in my quarantine. In mine, for messages with
content issues I have a directory under the date directory named, e.g.
"BB7596900BE.A6E7E", and under that there is a file named "message" which
contains the entire raw message. This is not examined by either "file" or
"file -i" because they just say "RFC 822 mail text" and "message/rfc822"
respectively. Also under the "queue id + entropy" directory are one or
more files, such as your msg-1234-1.txt file which are the contents of
the message body and/or multiple MIME message parts. It is these message
parts which are examined by "file" and/or "file -i".

> > I think the reason your "allow - text/x-mail - -" rules don't work is
> > that
> > FileType Rules is an "all match" ruleset and not a "first match"
> > ruleset.
> Can you please explain what you mean by this?

I did explain this somewhat in another reply, but basically, in this
context, I think if any Deny rule matches, the message will be denied
even if Allow rules that match precede or follow the matching Deny

Mark Sapiro <mark at>        The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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