Spam Trapping

Quite often, if you've been on the internet for a while, you'll have accumulated a few old email accounts that nowadays get nothing but spam. You can set these up as spam traps using SpamAssassin; see the SPAM TRAPPING section of the spamassassin manual page for details.

(Update: this will no longer work with SA 3.0.0, as we have removed the support for responding to emails automatically from within SpamAssassin; however, it should be possible to whip up some procmail to do it quite easily (wink)

If you don't want to go to the bother of setting up a system yourself to do this, feel free to set up a simple alias to forward any mails to
<> – replace "someaddress" with something to identify you, such as your email addr or website with non-alphanumeric chars replaced by underscores, or similar. (Please also send me a mail at jm - spamtraps at jmason dot org if you do this, so that I know who to contact if it starts going haywire, or the quality drops.)

Mails sent to an address at the spamtraps domain are fed into the spam-trapping system, where they will then be virus-scanned, de-duplicated, and fed into Razor, DCC, Pyzor and a couple of blocklists.

Some notes: I monitor the quality of feeds coming into this, and if it turns out to contain occasional bits of non-spam mail, I'll start bouncing your feed with a 550 – as a spam feed that isn't reliably spam-only is *not* suitable for a spamtrap.

Also, messages relayed to the spamtrap must be either (a) direct relaying as performed by a sendmail alias, or (b) message/rfc822 attachments with no Content-Transfer-Encoding. Again, if they're not, I'll 550 them. And finally, if I can't figure out who's in control of the feed, you guessed it, 550. So try to keep the quality control up!

"Direct relaying" means the addition of only the following data:

  • a new Return-Path header
  • a Received header or two
  • possibly some other delivery headers, like Delivery-Date or similar.

In other words, the existing Received header data is preserved, along with the body structure, as it was when received.

Running Your Own

See SpamTrapBackend for details on how our spamtrap operates.

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