How to Configure Sendmail & SpamAssassin for SPF Check

March 5, 2019 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

We had a Sendmail Server (8.14.7) running on CentOS Server, The server acts as a Secondary MX and SMART hosts for many domains. In this scenario we decided to install the SpamAssassin to force the Sendmail server to validate SPF records prior to accepting the email. I have written the below post to explain the whole process with few notes on troubleshooting I had to perform during the installation & configuration stages.

-Sendmail (already installed and running)

-SpamAssassin v. 3.4.0 (already installed with CentOS , use spamassassin -V to check the version)

– Spam-ass milter

So let’s start with the process;

+ Install spam-ass milter

# yum install perl-Mail-SPF perl-Mail-DKIM perl-Razor-Agent pyzor poppler-utils re2c ( These are the prerequisites)

# Download the RPM  from https://centos.pkgs.org/7/epel-x86_64/spamass-milter-0.4.0-7.el7.x86_64.rpm.html and install by rpm -i “rpm name”

+ Start the spamassassin & spamass-milter services

# systemctl start spamassassin

# systemctl start spamass-milter.service

Now we need to force sendmail daemon to use the milter for antispam processing. Add the below lines in sendmail.mc (** do not forget to backup the files before modifying it)

======================================================================================

dnl #
dnl # SPAMASSASSIN dnl
dnl **
dnl ** enable spamassassin-milter to scan for spam using spamassassin **
dnl **
INPUT_MAIL_FILTER(`spamassassin’, `S=unix:/var/run/spamass-milter/spamass-milter.sock, F=, T=C:15m;S:4m;R:4m;E:10m’)dnl
define(`confMILTER_MACROS_CONNECT’,`t, b, j, _, {daemon_name}, {if_name}, {if_addr}’)dnl
define(`confMILTER_MACROS_HELO’,`s, {tls_version}, {cipher}, {cipher_bits}, {cert_subject}, {cert_issuer}’)dnl
dnl # END LOCAL ADDITIONS
dnl #

======================================================================================

+ save the file & quit it

+ Compile the Sendmail configuration & restart the sendmail services.

# m4 /etc/mail/sendmail.mc > /etc/mail/sendmail.cf ( or you could simply type make)

# systemctl restart sendmail

To confirm whether all these components are working fine with the relevant SPF check you need to run ,

# spamassassin -D < /usr/share/doc/spamassassin-3.4.0/sample-spam.txt 2>&1 |grep -i spf

Thereafter we could analyze whether the email are being filtered properly with the SPF Check, to check that run

# grep spf /var/log/maillog

if it is not functioning well you should look for the errors & start troubleshooting it.  In my case it was throwing the below error;

“Mar 4 15:34:20 mail spamd[11685]: spf: lookup failed: addr is not a string at /usr/share/perl5/vendor_perl/IO/Socket/IP.pm line 662.”

After few  minutes of googling , we found out that , it was a bug in the perl-socket module in CentOS 7 , thus you need to

# yum install epel

# yum update perl-Socket –enablerepo=cr

You need to restart the sendmail , spamassassin & spamass-milter services for the changes to take effect and review the log again for any errors.

+ A new cron.d job will be created automatically for the spamassassin update in the /etc/cron.d/sa-update file.

Few advice, do not modify any files in /usr/share/spamassassin , since these files will be overwritten with spamassassin updates. Thus always modify the /etc/mail/local.cf for any customizations and it is a system wide configuration.

Secondly you could refer the below samples , that you could use for any customization and whitelisting stuff with in spamassassin.

 

========================================================================

# How many hits before a message is considered spam.
required_hits 5.0

# Text to prepend to subject if rewrite_subject is used
rewrite_header Subject [*****SPAM*****]

# Encapsulate spam in an attachment
report_safe 1

# Enable the Bayes system
use_bayes 1

# Enable Bayes auto-learning
bayes_auto_learn 1
bayes_path /home/spamd/
bayes_file_mode 0666

# Enable or disable network checks
skip_rbl_checks 0
use_razor2 0
use_dcc 0
use_pyzor 0

# Mail using languages used in these country codes will not be marked
# as being possibly spam in a foreign language.
# ok_languages all

# Mail using locales used in these country codes will not be marked
# as being possibly spam in a foreign language.
# ok_locales all

# Whitelist important senders
whitelist_from *@xyz.xx

========================================================================

 

That’s it , but during this process i came across useful blog  sites and forums posts that helped me to work on this task and they are listed below for your reference as well.

https://blesseddlo.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/sendmail-spamassassin-spamass-milter-milter-greylist/

https://www.rosehosting.com/blog/how-to-install-spamassassin-on-a-virtual-server-with-centos-6/

https://www.jethrocarr.com/2013/10/26/spf-with-spamassassin/

http://forums.sentora.org/showthread.php?tid=1118

https://it.megocollector.com/linux/install-spamassassin-on-centos-6/

http://forum.icewarp.com/forum/showthread.php?1809-Spamassassin-SPF-and-spoofing

https://centos.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=60477

https://vamsoft.com/support/tools/spf-policy-tester (This will validate you SPF check in the email server)

http://spamassassin.1065346.n5.nabble.com/return-path-test-td1869.html

https://www.howtoforge.com/community/threads/spamassassin-version.74/

 

Update1:

In  January 2018  , barracuda removed the RBL from the SA ruleset (it was under 72_active.cf in /usr/share/spamassassin)

To add this rule , you need to register via the below URL;

http://barracudacentral.org/account/register

and then  you need to manually edit  the local.cf  file add the below texts and restart the services

ifplugin Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::DNSEval

header __RCVD_IN_BRBL eval:check_rbl(‘brbl’,’bb.barracudacentral.org’)
tflags __RCVD_IN_BRBL net

header __RCVD_IN_BRBL_2 eval:check_rbl_sub(‘brbl’, ‘127.0.0.2’)
meta RCVD_IN_BRBL __RCVD_IN_BRBL_2 && !RCVD_IN_BRBL_LASTEXT
describe RCVD_IN_BRBL Received is listed in Barracuda RBL bb.barracudacentral.org
score RCVD_IN_BRBL 1.2
tflags RCVD_IN_BRBL net

header RCVD_IN_BRBL_LASTEXT
eval:check_rbl(‘brbl-lastexternal’, ‘bb.barracudacentral.org’)
describe RCVD_IN_BRBL_LASTEXT Last external is listed in Barracuda RBL bb.barracudacentral.org
score RCVD_IN_BRBL_LASTEXT 2.2
tflags RCVD_IN_BRBL_LASTEXT net

endif

Source: http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/spamassassin-users/201802.mbox/%3C34073266-bd1c-174c-76e2-d862cc96f007@ena.com%3E

Update 2:

Recently we were blacklisted by backscatter and the reason for listing was , sending out NDR for non valid emails. Thus we  have add  the below line in the local.cf configuration file

whitelist_bounce_relays myrelay.mydomain.net (Replace it with your outgoing email server name)

If you have multiple servers , you could add them all here in multiple lines .

Once the above is added and the spamassassin is restarted , issue the below command to verify for any config errors

#spamassassin --lint

The below URL contains additional information to test the backscatter rule via sample bounce messages.

https://wiki.apache.org/spamassassin/VBounceRuleset
https://forums.untangle.com/feedback/11356-backscatter-spamassassin.html

 

Update 3:

After some time we realized the above settings , does not fulfill our requirement and had to modify the sendmail.mc as below

Original Config

define(confPRIVACY_FLAGS',authwarnings,novrfy,noexpn,restrictqrun’)dnl

Change it to

define(confPRIVACY_FLAGS',authwarnings,nobodyreturn’)dnl#

Compile the sendmail and restart the sendmail services.

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Entry filed under: Linux. Tags: , , , , , .

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