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SpamAssassin by Alistair McDonald

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Chapter 5. Detecting Spam

Although humans can easily distinguish between spam and ham, detecting spam with computer programs is not simple. Over the years, several methods have been developed to filter spam from ham. Some anti-spam tools use only a subset of these methods, but SpamAssassin uses almost all of them.

Content Tests

Content tests analyze the message part of the email, and sometimes the headers. These tests typically look for key words or phrases within emails. Usually, when using content tests, a scoring system is used. It is not uncommon for words normally associated with spam emails to also appear in legitimate emails, so a score or count of suspicious words is accumulated for each email. Each word associated with spam increases the ...

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