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Adam Trachtenberg is the Director of the LinkedIn Developer Network, where he oversees developer relations and marketing for the LinkedIn Platform. Before LinkedIn, Adam worked at eBay in platform product management and marketing. Even earlier, he co-founded Student.Com and TVGrid.com. Adam is the author of PHP Cookbook and Upgrading to PHP 5. He lives in San Francisco.

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Virus, Virus, Spam, Virus

Last month, I received 51,301 virus or spam e-mail messages. This is according to ClamAV and SpamAssassin. That doesn’t count all the ones that slipped through my filters, which I had to flag manually. That’s another 307.

I’ve long been sending spam to /dev/null, but when I hooked up ClamAV, I had it store virii in a file. That turned out to be a 1.7 GB mistake in November. Oops. I just deleted 2.8 GB of virus junk, which made my buddy who hosts trachtenberg.com a happy guy.

I also do a pretty good job of tuning my SA filters. Through regular care and feeding of its Bayesian engine, I’ve managed to safely reduce my spam threshold to 2.0 instead of the default value of 5.0.

Additionally, I have enough confidence in SA to auto blacklist anything flagged as BAYES_80, BAYES_90, and BAYES_99. Those messages are always spam. (I came close to killing BAYES_70, too, but I couldn’t safely pull the trigger.)

Last, I’ve found that with a few specific whitelists, it’s pretty easy to eliminate quite a few false negatives without worrying about inflicting yourself with any false positives. I had whitelist Evite, my high school and college, Zagat, and United Airlines tickets. (That’s a big one. Don’t want to lose my e-ticket receipt.)

That’s really all, however. It’s not difficult to grep your mail for the SA score, pipe it to sort, and pick out the outliers. Once you’ve found the changes you need to make, just edit up your user_prefs file and you’re all set.

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