Mailscanner milter to reject high score spam at MTA level

David Jones djones at
Sat Aug 11 13:38:54 UTC 2018

On 08/11/2018 08:15 AM, Shawn Iverson wrote:
> I have been planning for a MailScanner milter for quite some time.  I 
> have been specifically studying rpamd's milter source for this purpose.  
> Alas, lack of time and lack of money are always an issue, and I put a 
> lot of hours in my day job.  As Jerry would say, I like to eat and have 
> a roof over my head :D
> If I do find the time to build a milter, performance will definitely be 
> impacted.  The reason is that postfix will have to keep each session 
> open for the duration of scanning, and each MailScanner child would have 
> to issue a callback to postfix after scanning the spam so that postfix 
> can responds to the connection appropriately  (i.e. reject or accept).  
> This will slow down mail processing considerably.  If I do this, I am 
> going to keep the HOLD queue around, so you would have to choose between 
> speed or MTA level rejection functionality.

My gut tells me that this is going to be so slow, that it's not going to 
be worth the time to put into it.  If you want to reject at MTA time, 
throw in amavis-new or spamd (not rspamd) using the same SpamAsssassin 
rules and Bayes DB to get most of the same features as MailScanner 
during the SMTP conversation.  Then the mail that gets through can be 
filtered by MailScanner for it's extra features that make it unique.

I understand there are different local legal requirements around the 
world that if email is accepted at MTA time then it has to be passed on 
to the end user's mailbox.  If you are located in one of these 
countries, then this would be more of an issue.  But since I am in a 
country that doesn't have this legal requirement, I do block email 
post-MTA by MailScanner.

The majority of my spam is blocked at the MTA level already by highly 
tuned RBLs and postscreen's RBL weighting which is very, very good. 
Only a small percentage of spam that is zero-hour or from compromised 
accounts makes it to MailScanner.

I highly recommend the Invaluement RBL.  It's very accurate -- only 1 or 
2 false positives over 5+ the years.  This RBL is very cost effective 
and has allowed me to disable all Spamhaus RBL checks in SpamAssassin 
saving thousands of dollars a year.  (We have too high a volume to stay 
under the free usage limits of Spamhaus so we were having to pay for the 
RBL feed.)

> On Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 10:52 AM David Jones via MailScanner 
> <mailscanner at 
> <mailto:mailscanner at>> wrote:
>     On 08/07/2018 05:03 AM, info at <mailto:info at>
>     wrote:
>      >
>      > Hi Mailscanner friends,
>      >
>      > is there any progress to make MailScanner usable as a postfix milter?
>      > The most biggest problem I have is, SPAM is not possible to
>     reject when
>      > reaching a high score at MTA level. For my understanding, connect
>     via
>      > milter instead of queue ^HOLD would be the solution.
>      >
>      > For the next decade we are still using MailScanner instead of others
>      > like Rspamd, because MailScanner is like a mail suite for mail
>     security,
>      > but if there will never be the possibility to reject at MTA level
>     the
>      > high score spam, we will also change in 1-3 years while replacing
>     the OS
>      > beyond.
>      >
>     One of MailScanner's strongest features is it's batch mode processing
>     that will allow it to handle a very high volume of mail flow.  I doubt
>     that MailScanner will ever be changed to run as a milter for this
>     reason.
>     I tried rspamd and found it wasn't as good as the author claims so no
>     reason to try to use that as a milter.  It also wasn't as fast as it
>     claims.  I could not send high volumes of mail through it like I could
>     with MailScanner.
>     If you want to block high scoring spam at the MTA level, I suggest
>     using
>     amavis or spamd with the same SA rulesets as MailScanner.  This will
>     get
>     you most of the power of MailScanner's blocking at the MTA.
>     If you you use postscreen and postwhite at the Postfix MTA level, you
>     can block most of the obvious spam with a tuned list of RBLs.  See the
>     SA users mailing list over the past year for details on this from me
>     and
>     a few others.
>     I suggest setting up a quick test VM with iRedmail to get a good
>     example
>     of how to do TLS and amavis integration well with Postfix.
>     -- 
>     David Jones
>     -- 
>     MailScanner mailing list
>     mailscanner at
>     <mailto:mailscanner at>
> -- 
> Shawn Iverson, CETL
> Director of Technology
> Rush County Schools
> 765-932-3901 x1171
> iversons at <mailto:iversons at>

David Jones

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