Your Linux Data Center Experts

Last night at NCLUG, I gave a quickie talk on a simple Postfix Makefile I had built, for making management easier. The talk also turned to some of the anti-spam measures we use to make our mailboxes useful again. Here are some references.

My Postfix Makefile, including changes so that it doesn't trigger a reload on updating of .db files as suggested by Aaron Johnson, is up at Download and put it in your /etc/postfix directory and run “make” to update the files.

This Makefile assumes that you have maps for “access-ip”, “access-helo”, “access-mailfrom” and “access-rcptto”. It also looks for a “virtual-regexp” to map addresses (regexp “aliases”, effectively), “header_checks” and “body"checks” (which are regexps to look for that are spam or virus reports). Here are the relevant sections of the “”:

header_checks = regexp:/etc/postfix/header_checks
body_checks = regexp:/etc/postfix/body_check
smtpd_recipient_restrictions =
        check_recipient_access hash:/etc/postfix/access-rcptto
smtpd_helo_restrictions =
        check_helo_access hash:/etc/postfix/access-helo
smtpd_sender_restrictions =
        check_sender_access hash:/etc/postfix/access-mailfrom
        check_client_access hash:/etc/postfix/access-ip
smtpd_client_restrictions =
        check_client_access hash:/etc/postfix/access-ip

One of the most effective actions we've taken with Postfix is to list our IP address in the “access-helo” file. Many spammers are sending messages and starting the connection with “HELO <our IP address<”. As you may be aware, the “HELO” argument is supposed to specify the sending mail server name, not the receiving IP address.

I just checked the logs and we've averaged 6,269 messages rejected per day this week because of that rule alone. That's roughly 20% of all SMTP connections we get, or nearly 7 times the number of legitimate e-mail messages we get.

I'd highly recommend that you look at what's getting sent in the “HELO” to your mail servers.

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