January 9, 2010

Spam filters block valid e-mails

If you haven’t heard of it, there is an open source spam anti spam software called Apache SpamAssassin. It’s engine is used by many ISPs to filter and alert them to spam e-mails. You may not realize it, but most ISPs will block and not deliver e-mails that they have identified as SPAM. If it’s “possible” or “probable”, they will mark it as such. A *LOT* of e-mails don’t ever get to your mailbox.

The problem comes in when the spam filters you use generate what are called “False Positives”. Perfectly good e-mails are identified as sapm and blocked. Normally, this is a very small number, but apparently, SpamAssassin had a coding error that resulted in e-mails dated 2010 and 2099 being given high scores and trapped as spam.

The fix was generated quickly, but ISPs may have been running the incorrect code for anywhere from minutes to days. Unfortunately, if you were affected, the only way you can know is if you have confirmation from others that your mails got through. The only thing you can if you were affected is to resend the e-mails.

SpamAssassin has posted some advice on its web site:



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