Filtering spam with umlauts, etc


Hey there,

I am trying to place some filters for some spam that has been rampant the last few days with special characters, i.e., sùpprèssant

However, the filtering won’t allow special characters, is there another way to do this? This particular spam is obnoxious and heavy the last few days.



If you can, installing your own version of SpamAssassin or something like that will probably be most effective (especially since you can tell it locales that are “ok” for you to receive). There are a couple of howtos online which have some instructions for this - I can help you if you run into problems. Since you’re on a dedicated machine, I could probably install the backport of a newer version on your machine for you (globally) if you want a global install rather than installing it into your user space.

As far as filtering 8 bit characters, I’m not actually too sure. Does adding the filter fail if you try to put those characters in? That might fail a “sanity check”. I’ve never actually done this myself, but from doing a quick google, it looks like (under normal circumstances), 8 bit characters can be inserted directly into a .procmailrc.

You could disable filters from the panel and then edit the .procmailrc by hand, but if you don’t understand procmail, this may not be a good solution.

I know it’s unfortunate that we don’t (yet) offer better builtin filtering solutions. However, I will repeat what I’ve probably said before - I really don’t recommend using the filters in the web panel to try and do much serious content-based filtering. They’re intended for fairly simple tasks, and generally work for those tasks. It’s kind of like using a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed. Trying to match words and strings found in spam never really helps for long - usually the spammers adapt quickly, and you’re left with a big huge mess of filters that aren’t that efficient and don’t do a whole lot.


As usual Will you are a wealth of info. If DH would just clone you and Micah I would be a very happy camper. :slight_smile:

I am going to be plead a bit of ignorance on the “backport of a newer version” as that seemed to be a bit too geeky and over my head at this point.

I would like to set up something on my dedicated server so that I could do the filtering in one place, then if need be do filtering individually on the different domains. If this can be done that would be great. I guess as I am checking more of my clients email before they get it (like a human filter), I am really getting tired of wading through the spam before I get to the actual emails.

Let me know if this is something I can do or if it is easier to setup the global install initially I am all for letting you do it.

Thanks again,


I think most people in the office would agree that one of each of us is enough (maybe more than enough). :>

Well I could install SpamAssassin globally (a newer version than the one that’s already installed), but it would have to be invoked on a per user basis - you’d still have to do that part of the setup. Does that make sense?

Basically, you’d follow the instructions at: - only you’d ignore the first part, and then you’d reference /usr/bin/spamassassin instead of /home/username/sausr/local/bin/spamassassin or whatever.

You’d want to create a config file too - this program might help make that process a little simpler:

The filtering wouldn’t work with mxxxxxx type users (technically, on the dedicated machine, you could do it for those users too if you have root access).


okay, sounds like the plan is to have you install the newer version of SpamAssassin globally, then I will just do the per user basis. Didn’t seem to complicated, just a lot of steps. :slight_smile:

I am wondering when you say that I can do it for the mxxxx users if I have root access how complicated this would be. Just thinking that there are some boxes that I have set up for mxxxxx that I would like to use the spamassassin on also. If you have any web page that I might be able to look at with guidance that would be great.

Thanks Will!!



It would be the same as the others - the difference is just that the mxxxxx users don’t have shell or ftp access. If you’re root, though, you can su to them from the shell, and edit the necessary files.

Getting this level of access, of course, does give you the power to break a lot of things / cause a lot of problems - we have some basic rules / guidelines that need to be followed for accounts given root access via the sudo facility. This is kind of outside the scope of the forum, so I’d contact support directly if you have questions about getting this setup.

Basically, you’d just do
sudo su - mxxxxxxx

and then edit the necessary files from the command line.

Might be worth testing with one or two users, and then if it goes well, we can look at working out some way to make it work for other users.