Hack and / - Spam: the Ham Hack
I know plenty of people use whiz-bang graphical e-mail programs, and many of them also have fancy buttons and icons that flash when e-mail might be spam. Well, if you didn't already know from my prior columns, I'm a big fan of mutt, and I didn't want to be left out of all these fancy spam-managing techniques. Once again, mutt's powerful customization comes to the rescue.
Although I do have spam filters set up on my personal account, sometimes messages get through my defenses. It's always a delicate balancing act when you tweak your spam thresholds, so I not only wanted to see how close spam that made it through was to the threshold, but I also wanted to know if any of my legitimate e-mail was close.
I have SpamAssassin configured so that it adds the score to my e-mail headers via the custom X-Spam-Status header. Let's say that my spam threshold was a score of 6; I then set up two rules: one to color any messages with a score of 2 or 3 red and another to color messages with a score of 4 or 5 bright red. That way, both types of messages would stand out—especially the messages right on the tip of my threshold. Here are the folder-hook rules I added to my mutt config:
folder-hook . "color index red default '~h ↪\"X-Spam-Status:.*score=(2|3)\.\"'" folder-hook . "color index brightred default '~h ↪\"X-Spam-Status:.*score=(4|5)\.\"'"
Now, like many people, I have a special spam folder set aside so I can train SpamAssassin. I go in there from time to time to look for any false positives, so I also wanted to highlight any messages that were right above the threshold. The following rule colors any messages that have a score of 6, 7 or 8 magenta:
folder-hook . "color index magenta default '~h ↪\"X-Spam-Status:.*score=(6|7|8)\.\"'"
Now, whenever I go through my inbox and see a message with a suspicious Subject line, if I notice it's colored red or bright red, I might not even bother to open it. Because I know it's close to the threshold, I simply can move it to my spam folder. In mutt, you can do this with just a few keystrokes, but of course, that doesn't stop me from automating it a bit further. After all, why do a few keystrokes when I can bind the S key to save to my spam folder automatically? All I had to do was add the following to my mutt config:
# make S automatically save spam to the spam folder macro index S "simaps://mail.example.net/INBOX.spam" macro pager S "simaps://mail.example.net/INBOX.spam"
Of course, change imaps://mail.example.net/INBOX.spam so that it points to the spam folder on your IMAP server, but once you do, you either can press S to save an individual message to the spam folder or you can tag all of the spam in your inbox with the T key, and press ;S to save it all to the spam folder at once.
Sure, it would be great if we never had any spam to begin with, but although I can choose what canned food I buy at the grocery store, I may never fully get rid of spam in my inbox. After all, one man's hacked-up pork by-product is another man's tasty canned-ham substitute. If people didn't order those male-enhancement pills, they wouldn't advertise them. At least with a few extra steps, I can make managing spam take less time.
Kyle Rankin is a Senior Systems Administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of a number of books, including Knoppix Hacks and Ubuntu Hacks for O'Reilly Media. He is currently the president of the North Bay Linux Users' Group.
Kyle Rankin is a VP of engineering operations at Final, Inc., the author of a number of books including DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu Server Book, and is a columnist for Linux Journal. Follow him @kylerankin.
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Petros Koutoupis' RapidDisk
- The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice
- ServersCheck's Thermal Imaging Camera Sensor
- Linux Mint 18
- Oracle vs. Google: Round 2
- The FBI and the Mozilla Foundation Lock Horns over Known Security Hole
- Varnish Software's Varnish Massive Storage Engine
- Privacy and the New Math
Until recently, IBM’s Power Platform was looked upon as being the system that hosted IBM’s flavor of UNIX and proprietary operating system called IBM i. These servers often are found in medium-size businesses running ERP, CRM and financials for on-premise customers. By enabling the Power platform to run the Linux OS, IBM now has positioned Power to be the platform of choice for those already running Linux that are facing scalability issues, especially customers looking at analytics, big data or cloud computing.
￼Running Linux on IBM’s Power hardware offers some obvious benefits, including improved processing speed and memory bandwidth, inherent security, and simpler deployment and management. But if you look beyond the impressive architecture, you’ll also find an open ecosystem that has given rise to a strong, innovative community, as well as an inventory of system and network management applications that really help leverage the benefits offered by running Linux on Power.Get the Guide