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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Choosing RBLs
thinking, perplexed
Antispam-type people, I want your opinions on RBLs. I've given up on Bayesian filtering companywide, and content-only filtering just doesn't cut it anymore, but I want to avoid putting RBL blocking or tagging in place that I'm going to regret.

Basically I'm after low false positives and negatives, with an emphasis on low false positives for the blocking ones and a balance between both errors on the tagging ones; it's also critical that all of the BLs are based on mechanical or fixed criteria (and not on opinions).

The mailserver in question is the corporate mailhub; any mail coming into the company comes in through there, so the variety of content is pretty wide. Load is about 8-10k messages per hour, about 15% of which are deliverable.

The plan is:

  • Disable Bayesian filtering outright
  • Block outright on sbl-xml.spamhaus.org, bl.spamcop.net, list.dsbl.net, spam.dnsbl.sorbs.net
  • Give big spamassassin penalty to dnsbl.sorbs.net, dsn.rfc-ignorant.org, ipwhois.rfc-ignorant.org, maybe njabl.net
  • Handle the DNS bits via zone transfers wherever possible, instead of individual requests

Thoughts on those RBLs, or on moving from primarily content/bayes to primarily RBL-based spam handling?

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Just stay the fuck away from the pigfuckers at SPEWS

Is "pigfucker" an industry term?

It's a term of the art, yes. ;)

RBLs that work for me:

Composite Blocking List

Distributed Server Boycott List

Easynet/NJABL Dynablock

Not Just Another Bogus List


SpamHaus SBL

RBLs that are so erroneous as to be utterly worthless:

All of the ones from mailpolice.com

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