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|This article applies to the following ZCS versions.|
For SpamAssassin and Anti-spam Updates
ZCS 8.5 and later
For ZCS 8.5, Spamassassin layout has been corrected as per the SpamAssassin developers. sauser.cf is migrated to the /opt/zimbra/data/spamassassin/localrules directory. This is the supported location for doing customizations of SpamAssassin for ZCS 8.5 and later.
For ZCS 8.0, SpamAssassin scans for all *.cf files in /opt/zimbra/conf/sa and loads them in alphabetical order. If you create a sauser.cf file, it will be loaded after salocal.cf is loaded. This is the supported method for doing customizations of SpamAssassin for ZCS8.0. Note that only the sauser.cf file will be migrated when upgrading to later releases.
In 8.0.5, two options for added to the product to enable SpamAssassin rule updates via sa-update [reference: see ]:
Check that these are set to true, and if not, set them to true and restart amavisd and the MTA:
$ zmlocalconfig antispam_enable_rule_updates antispam_enable_rule_updates = false $ zmlocalconfig antispam_enable_restarts antispam_enable_restarts = false
$ zmlocalconfig -e antispam_enable_rule_updates=true $ zmlocalconfig -e antispam_enable_restarts=true
$ zmamavisdctl restart $ zmmtactl restart
ZCS 6 and ZCS7
For ZCS 6 and ZCS7, SpamAssassin customizations go in /opt/zimbra/conf/sauser.cf. When upgrading to ZCS8 the file will be reloacted to /opt/zimbra/conf/sa
Automatic rule updates
With ZCS 8 and later, it is possible to enable automatic rule updates for SpamAssassin to help improve scoring. There are two localconfig keys that control the automatic update behavior.
- antispam_enable_rule_updates controls whether or not to enable automatic rule updates. Defaults to false.
- antispam_enable_restarts controls whether or not Amavisd will be automatically restarted after a rule update if they are enabled. Defaults to false.
Automatic rule compilation
With ZCS 8.5 and later, it is possible to enable automatic rule compilation when automatic updates are enabled. Compiling the SA rules helps decrease the amount of time it takes to score email. This is controlled via a localconfig key.
- antispam_enable_rule_compilation controls whether or not to automatically compile new rules that are automatically updated. Defaults to false.
In ZCS 7 and ZCS 8, customizing Postfix is a mix of zmlocalconfig and zmprov settings. In ZCS 8.5, virutally all settings are done via zmprov (zmlocalconfig settings will be migrated on upgrade if they do not match the default value).
zmprov/zmlocalconfig are both permissible and the recommended way to perform Postfix customizations for supported keys.
zmprov ms <server> +zimbraMtaRestriction reject_unknown_reverse_client_hostname
Specific Suggested Tweaks
Last update 24 October 2014 by L. Mark Stone, Reliable Networks
Our client base is very nervous about spam-delivered malware but even more concerned about "false-positives" i.e. legitimate email incorrectly identified as spam. Consequently, we've had to develop tweaks to improve Zimbra's default SpamAssassin configurations. The results have been that users with very public email addresses who typically receive several hundred to more than a thousand emails per day will see no more than ~3 spam emails per day in their Inbox. In our experience, anything less than that and you are likely to wind up with false positives.
If your end-user base is more tolerant of false positives, then you can tighten things up.
Keep in mind that Zimbra's Postfix takes a cut at filtering the email stream before Zimbra's SpamAssassin, and that SpamAssassin's processing of emails is much more resource intensive than Postfix's. Consequently, any filtering that you can do at the Postfix level to block emails outright will be helpful in both blocking spam and lowering resource utilization on your Zimbra server. Just be careful of inducing false positives!
Zimbra recommends using a caching DNS server locally, and we like BIND9 but DNSMasq is fine as well. (As we understand it, Zimbra may start shipping a DNS server bundled with Zimbra in a later release.)
One configuration nuance to DNS is the use of forwarders in your BIND9 configuration. We have seen many Zimbra systems use their ISP's, or Google's public DNS servers as forwarders. The problem is that many of the RBL services embedded in SpamAssassin and configurable within Zimbra limit the number/rate of queries they accept from a particular DNS server. Since almost all RBL queries will never be cached, the queries get done by the forwarders. And since the forwarders are doing the same queries for lots of other folks, those queries are often blocked.
We therefore recommend that when using a local cacheing DNS server that you ensure the configuration has current hints for the root servers and that the forwarders section in the BIND9 config file be set to empty.
At the Postfix level we use just a few complementary and conservative RBLs, one DNS check and one Protocol check. All of these can be configured via the Admin Console: (Global Settings > MTA). A list of RBLs can be found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_DNS_blacklists
The RBLs we use are:
Additional RBLs used by zimbra are:
- cbl.abuseat.org (Ignore this one if using zen.spamhaus.org, as it is already included in those results)
- ubl.unsubscore.com (note: Rejects mail from places such as Yahoo!, Facebook, etc.)
The Client RHSBLs we use are (updated June 2, 2014):
Additional Client RHSBLs used by Zimbra:
Sender RHSBLs used by Zimbra:
Reverse Client RHSBLs used by Zimbra:
Adding RBL and RHSBLs checks in postfix can also be done via the command line.
zmprov mcf +zimbraMtaRestriction reject_rbl_client zen.spamhaus.org
For RHSBL clients:
zmprov mcf +zimbraMtaRestriction reject_rhsbl_client dbl.spamhaus.org
On the same Admin Console page we also enable (and leave the remaining Protocol and DNS checks disabled):
- reject_unknown_sender_domain (Note this setting will be updated in 8.0.5)
On that same page we also make sure disable "Add X-Originating-IP to messages" as this can block email from remote users with fat email clients like Outlook and Thunderbird on home and public networks like Internet cafes (ZWC clients are unaffected by this.)
SpamAssassin Tweaks via the Commandline
Our current recommended SpamAssassin customizations comprise three complementary methods:
- Increase the log level reported by Amavis to get clarity from SpamAssassin on why/how spam is being blocked and getting through.
- Put Amavis's temporary directory on a RAM disk to speed up processing.
- Tweak the scores for a few selected individual SpamAssassin tests after installing Pyzor and Razor2.
1. Increase Amavis's Log Level
We found that increasing the log level from 1 to 2 puts in /var/log/zimbra.log the specific SpamAssassin tests which each email has triggered.
Customizing the Amavis Loglevel is supported in ZCS 8.0.5 and later:
zmprov mcf zimbraAmavisLogLevel 2
If you are on an earlier release, this can be achieved by editing /opt/zimbra/conf/amavisd.conf.in. You will need to change the file's permissions to be writable, edit the file, then change the permissions back. Probably a good idea to make a backup copy of the file first... The final edit should should look like this:
- $log_level = 2; # verbosity 0..5 - 1 is the minimum for msg tracing
Restart amavis for the change to take effect (zmavavisdctl restart). If you are on ZCS 8.0.5 or later, zmconfigd will automatically restart Amavis for you if you change the loglevel.
Now when an email is marked as spam and an end user asks you "Why?", you can grep /opt/zimbra/log and find out exactly why. Note the sender and recipient email addresses in the actual log file snippet below have been altered for privacy:
Nov 26 13:55:02 mail2 amavis: (19107-13) SPAM, <email@example.com> -> <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Yes, score=17.071 tag=-10 tag2=3.8 kill=16 tests=[BAYES_99=4, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100=0.5, RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_E8_51_100=1.886, RAZOR2_CHECK=2.75, RDNS_NONE=3.5, SPF_PASS=-0.001, T_HK_NAME_DR=0.01, URIBL_BLACK=2.725, URIBL_DBL_SPAM=1.7] autolearn=spam
Apr 21 13:55:54 edge01 amavis: (32619-05) spam-tag, <DrOz@spamsender.us> -> <email@example.com>, Yes, score=9.014 tagged_above=-10 required=3 tests=[BAYES_40=-0.001, DIGEST_MULTIPLE=0.293, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_32=0.001, HTML_IMAGE_RATIO_06=0.001, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, MIME_HTML_ONLY=0.723, PYZOR_CHECK=2.75, RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100=0.5, RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_E8_51_100=1.886, RAZOR2_CHECK=2.75, T_DKIM_INVALID=0.01] autolearn=no autolearn_force=no
In the above example you can see that the sending server has no PTR (Reverse DNS record) and has already been reported to Razor.
2. Put Amavis's Temp Dir on a RAM Disk
We have seen even with fast RAID10 arrays that Amavis's processing an email with large attachments through SpamAssassin can take as long as 10-20 seconds. Putting Amavis'd temp directory on a RAM disk cuts this down to 1-2 seconds. Ralf Hildebrandt's book on Postfix has a section describing how to size the RAM disk, and why this is entirely safe for mail flow even in the event of a server crash. After you've done the homework for sizing, all you need to do is:
- Stop amavis, mount the RAM disk, start amavis and then edit /etc/fstab to make the change permanent.
An /etc/fstab entry for a 1GB RAM disks on the server therefore looks like:
- zimbra@host:~$ cat /etc/fstab | grep amavis
- tmpfs /opt/zimbra/data/amavisd/tmp tmpfs defaults,noexec,nodev,nosuid,size=1024m,mode=750,uid=zimbra,gid=zimbra 0 0
3. Tweak Selected SpamAssasin Scores After Installing Pyzor and Razor2
Installing Razor and Pyzor on Ubuntu
- aptitude install razor pyzor
Installing Razor and Pyzor on RHEL6/CentOS6
- Create /etc/yum.repos.d/epel.repo
[epel] name=EPEL repository baseurl=http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora-epel/6/x86_64 enabled=1 gpgcheck=0
- yum update
- yum install pyzor perl-Razor-Agent
As the zimbra user
pyzor --homedir /opt/zimbra/data/amavisd/.pyzor discover
# pyzor use_pyzor 1 pyzor_path /usr/bin/pyzor # DNS lookups for pyzor can time out easily. Set the following line IF you want to give pyzor up to 20 seconds to respond # may slow down email delivery pyzor_timeout 20
As the zimbra user
razor-admin -home=/opt/zimbra/data/amavisd/.razor -create razor-admin -home=/opt/zimbra/data/amavisd/.razor -discover razor-admin -home=/opt/zimbra/data/amavisd/.razor -register -user firstname.lastname@example.org
# razor use_razor2 1
Update SpamAssassin scoring
After installing Pyzor and Razor2 and restarting Zimbra's Amavis to make sure these modules are loaded by SpamAssassin, Reliable Networks adds custom (higher) scoring for certain SpamAssassin tests to the appropriate custom SpamAssassin configuration file, which on ZCS 8 should be /opt/zimbra/conf/sa/sauser.cf. Our complete sauser.cf now looks like this (as of September 3, 2014):
pyzor_timeout 10 use_razor2 1 use_pyzor 1 score URIBL_BLACK 3.250 score RAZOR2_CHECK 3.250 score PYZOR_CHECK 3.250 score BAYES_99 4.000 score BAYES_60 2.250 score BAYES_50 1.500 score BAYES_00 -0.500 score RP_MATCHES_RCVD -0.000
Then run as the zimbra user "zmantispamctl restart ; zmmtactl restart" to restart and load the new scores. The RP_MATCHES_RCVD score is normally -1.713, but we have found that many spammers using cloud servers have DNS and mail forwarding set to RFC standards, and that their emails then get a bump in good reputation from the default score on this test specifically.
4. Add custom rules from Kevin McGrail to your scores (UNTESTED)
- As zimbra user: cd /opt/zimbra/conf/sa
wget http://www.pccc.com/downloads/SpamAssassin/contrib/KAM.cf -O sakam.cf
There are reports of high false positives using these rules, so user beware
5. Add the SOUGHT ruleset to your scores (UNTESTED)
TODO: Document configuring http://taint.org/2007/08/15/004348a.html for Zimbra
6. Enable DCC
The source for DCC can be obtained from http://www.rhyolite.com/dcc/. Please read the restrictions and limitations carefully.
After downloading and extracting the source, as the zimbra user, you will need to build it. It will take several tools (gcc, make, wget, etc).
There is some setup to be done as root initially. This is assuming using version 1.3.154 of dcc, adjust as necessary:
# mkdir -p /opt/zimbra/dcc-1.3.154 # chown zimbra:zimbra /opt/zimbra/dcc-1.3.154 # cd /opt/zimbra;ln -s dcc-1.3.154 dcc
Now, as zimbra we need to build the software. Here's an example of downloading, extracting, and building:
[zimbra@host ~]$ cd /tmp [zimbra@host tmp]$ mkdir dcc [zimbra@host dcc]$ wget http://www.rhyolite.com/dcc/source/dcc.tar.Z [zimbra@host dcc]$ tar xfz dcc.tar.Z [zimbra@host dcc]$ cd dcc-1.3.154 [zimbra@host dcc-1.3.154]$ ./configure --homedir=/opt/zimbra/dcc-1.3.154 \ --disable-sys-inst --with-uid=zimbra --disable-server \ --disable-dccifd --disable-dccm \ --with-updatedcc_pfile=/opt/zimbra/data/dcc \ --with-rundir=/opt/zimbra/data/dcc/run \ --bindir=/opt/zimbra/dcc-1.3.154/bin [zimbra@host dcc-1.3.154]$ make [zimbra@host dcc-1.3.154]$ make install [zimbra@host dcc-1.3.154]$ cd /opt/zimbra/data [zimbra@host data]$ mkdir -p dcc/run
As the zimbra user, update sauser.cf as appropriate for your Zimbra version:
use_dcc 1 dcc_path /opt/zimbra/dcc/bin/dccproc
For ZCS releases 8.0 and earlier, you will need to enable the dcc module by modifying the v310.pre file from SpamAssassin. Find the line that looks like:
and uncomment it (remove the # sign)
Last, but not least, restart amavis to pick up the changes:
[zimbra@host ~]$ zmamavisdctl restart
Register your MTAs with DNSWL: http://dnswl.org/request.pl
We have found that increasing the scores of the above selected SpamAssassin scores blocks a lot of spam that would otherwise get through.
As we make updates to our own configurations, we will endeavor to keep this page updated as well.