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Postfix: The Definitive Guide by Kyle D. Dent

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Spam Detection

As long as you’re not operating an open relay, you can be confident that your systems are not being used to harm other systems. Your next consideration is to protect yourself and your users by limiting the spam your network receives. Ideally, your mail server could simply reject any message that looks like spam. Unfortunately, whereas humans can look at a message and know instantly that it’s spam, computers have a tougher time detecting it without making mistakes. The ugly truth is that once you start to reject spam, there is always a risk that you will block legitimate correspondence.

Misidentifying a legitimate message as spam is referred to as a false-positive identification. Your anti-spam efforts are an attempt to detect as much spam as you can with the fewest possible false-positives. You have to weigh the size of your spam problem against the possibility of rejecting real email when deciding how aggressive to be in implementing your anti-spam measures. The extremes range from permitting all spam to accepting mail only from preapproved individuals. Preapproval may seem severe, but the problem is getting bad enough for some people that whitelist applications, where any correspondent you receive mail from must be identified ahead of time, are becoming more common.

There are two primary ways of detecting spam: identifying a known spamming client and inspecting the contents of a message for tell-tale phrases or other clues that reveal the true nature of a spam ...

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