The Perfect SpamSnake - Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope - Page 4

17. MailWatch Installation Instructions

This setup assumes you are using Apache v2.x and not Apache v1.x.

Before Starting, make sure that MailScanner is working before you continue with the MailWatch install!

*Notes for Ubuntu:

You must have a working MailScanner set-up and running copies of MySQL, Apache, and PHP. You must also have the Perl DBD-MySQL package installed for the Perl portions of MailScanner to utilize the MySQL database.

The default php.ini set should have the following set correctly, you may want to check this:

short_open_tag = On
safe_mode = Off
register_globals = Off
magic_quotes_gpc = On
magic_quotes_runtime = Off
session.auto_start = 0

These will be commented out you must remove the "#" to activate them:


17.1 Installation

Download the latest MailWatch release:

tar xzvf mailwatch-1.0.4.tar.gz
cd mailwatch-1.0.4

17.2 Create the database

mysql -p < create.sql

*Note: you will need to modify the above as necessary for your system if you have a root password for your MySQL database (recommended!) - Debian will ask for one.

Create a MySQL user and password & Set-up MailScanner for SQL logging:

mysql -p
mysql> GRANT ALL ON mailscanner.* TO mailwatch@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Remember the password! You need the single quotes ' to surround your password.

17.3 Edit and move

Edit and change the $db_user and $db_pass values accordingly and move

mv /opt/MailScanner/lib/MailScanner/CustomFunctions/


17.4 Create a MailWatch Web User

mysql mailscanner -u mailwatch -p

Enter password: ******

mysql> INSERT INTO users VALUES ('username',md5('password'),'mailscanner','A','0','0','0','0','0');

17.5 Install & Configure MailWatch

From within the unpacked mailwatch directory move the directory called 'mailscanner' to /var/www/.

mv mailscanner/ /var/www/
cd /var/www/mailscanner

Make a temp directory:

mkdir temp
chgrp www-data temp
chmod g+w temp

Check the permissions of /var/www/mailscanner/images and /var/www/images/cache - they should be ug+rwx and owned by root and in the same group as the web server user.

chown root:www-data images
chmod ug+rwx images
chown root:www-data images/cache
chmod ug+rwx images/cache

Create conf.php by copying conf.php.example and edit the values to suit, you will need to set DB_USER and DB_PASS to the MySQL user and password that you created earlier.

Change these values as shown below:

define(DB_USER, 'mailwatch');
define(DB_PASS, 'password');
define(MAILWATCH_HOME, '/var/www/mailscanner');
define(MS_LIB_DIR, '/usr/lib/MailScanner/');
define(QUARANTINE_USE_FLAG, true);

17.6 Set-up MailScanner

Edit /opt/MailScanner/etc/MailScanner.conf and make sure the following are set:

Quarantine User = root
Quarantine Group = www-data
Quarantine Permissions = 0640
Quarantine Whole Message = yes
Always Looked Up Last = &MailWatchLogging
Quarantine Whole Message As Queue Files = no
Detailed Spam Report = yes
Include Scores In SpamAssassin Report = yes

*Important: Spam Actions, High Scoring Spam Actions and No Spam Actions should also have 'store' as one of the keywords if you want to quarantine those items for bayes learning or viewing from within MailWatch.

17.7 Integrate SQL Blacklist/Whitelist (optional)

If you would like to manage the MailScanner whitelist and blacklist from within the MailWatch web interface perform the following steps.

1. Edit the MySQL connection values within the CreateList subroutine of to match the values you entered previously into Both files should contain the same values. (Look for the following lines in and enter your own data.)

my($db_user) = 'mailwatch';
my($db_pass) = 'password';

2. Copy to /opt/MailScanner/lib/MailScanner/CustomFunctions/.

3. Edit MailScanner.conf and set:

Is Definitely Not Spam = &SQLWhitelist
Is Definitely Spam = &SQLBlacklist

17.8 Fix to allow MailWatch to work with Postfix Inbound/Outbound Queue

Download the patch from

cd /usr/src
tar xvfz postfixmail.tar.gz
cd postfixmail
cp postfix* /var/www/mailscanner/
patch /var/www/mailscanner/functions.php functions.php.diff


17.9 SpamAssassin

First we need to disable the default SpamAssassin configuration file:

mv /etc/spamassassin/ /etc/spamassassin/

Now let's backup the SpamAssassin configuration file in MailScanner then edit:

cp /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf.back

Add pyzor and razor paths to the top of /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf:

pyzor_options --homedir /var/lib/MailScanner/
razor_config /var/lib/MailScanner/.razor/razor-agent.conf

Look for these lines and change them accordingly:

bayes_ignore_header X-YOURDOMAIN-COM-MailScanner
bayes_ignore_header X-YOURDOMAIN-COM-MailScanner-SpamCheck
bayes_ignore_header X-YOURDOMAIN-COM-MailScanner-SpamScore
bayes_ignore_header X-YOURDOMAIN-COM-MailScanner-Information

"YOURDOMAIN-COM" should be replaced with whatever you used for "%org-name%" in the MailScanner.conf file. Leave the "X-" in place. This is the same orgname used in the MailScanner.conf above.

Edit the SpamAssassin v310.pre to enable Razor and DCC:

loadplugin Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::DCC
loadplugin Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::Razor2

17.10 SpamAssassin SQL Bayes


a. You'll need the perl-DBI and perl-DBD-MySQL modules installed.

Assumptions and Variables:

SpamAssassin Bayes Database Name: sa_bayes
SpamAssassin Bayes Database UserName: sa_user
SpamAssassin Bayes Database Password: sa_password

Create the MySQL database:

First of all, create a database on the server where you intend on storing the bayesian information.

mysql -u root -p

mysql> create database sa_bayes;
mysql> GRANT ALL ON sa_bayes.* TO sa_user@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'sa_password';
mysql> flush privileges;

Locate the bayes_mysql.sql file:

find / -name bayes_mysql.sql
mysql -u sa_user -p sa_bayes < /path/to/bayes_mysql.sql

Make some changes to your spam.assassin.prefs.conf:

bayes_store_module Mail::SpamAssassin::BayesStore::SQL
bayes_sql_dsn DBI:mysql:sa_bayes:localhost
bayes_sql_username sa_user
bayes_sql_password sa_password
bayes_sql_override_username root

Make sure the following is commented:

#bayes_path /etc/MailScanner/bayes/bayes
#bayes_file_mode 0660

Also add this to your crontab:

30 01 * * * /usr/bin/sa-learn --force-expire --sync -p /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf 
Share this page:

32 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: at: 2009-06-22 15:13:39

These are live notes that I collected as I got this great Spam Snake working: (and do note that it works very well - when you overcome a 'few' problems)

The line with: [apt-get install mailscanner razor pyzor clamav-module] produces a problem finding the clamav-module: (missing resolution steps outlined)

Steps to get and install the [Spam Snake] clamav-module:

Be sure you have perl installed... (if not sure use: aptitude install perl) then enter:

perl -MCPAN -e shell

If you are prompted if you want to configure perl automatically choose: yes

When you are at [cpan] prompt enter (steps 1-7):

1) install CPAN (gets any upgrades for perl / cpan)

2) reload cpan (reload any new version)

3) test File::Scan::ClamAV (it will download the ClamAV module)

4) look File::Scan::ClamAV (shell to the ClamAV area)

5) make install (will perform the ClamAV-module install)

6) exit

7) quit

All done, now we have the ClamAV-Module!

UPDATE: You will likely find that continuing with the [SpamSnake] setup that there will be other missing PERL modules:

I outline the steps to resolve this (it was pure research) - and it now works:

Type: (at Linux command line)

cpan -i ExtUtils::Command::MM
aptitude install libconvert-binhex-perl
cpan -i Checker::ISA
cpan -i Archive::Zip
aptitude install libyaml-perl
cpan -i OLE::Storage_Lite

Now we are almost there: - see if it now works OK

Test the final perl setup with this:


The given steps (in this Spam Snake guide) shown as:

Create /etc/postfix/relay_recipients and add the following: OK OK

Create /etc/postfix/transport and add the following: smtp:[192.168.0.x] smtp:[192.168.0.x]

Create /etc/postfix/relay_domains and add the following: OK OK

Must NOT include any reference to any declared virtual email domains, or you will see this error:

"postfix/trivial-rewrite: warning: do not list domain in BOTH virtual_mailbox_domains and relay_domains"

The line that has: smtp:[192.168.0.x] must be a full and valid IP address!

I have performed several email tests and I am very happy with the final process, Additionally, all outgoing emails show this text report:

This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.

Peter Bowey

From: at: 2009-06-23 04:02:04

You see an error like this: (mail.log)

"ClamAV-autoupdate: ClamAV updater /usr/local/bin/freshclam cannot be run"

Solution: create a symbolic link from:   /usr/bin/freshclam -> /usr/local/bin/freshclam

Now the path reference works:

The [mail.log] will now show something like this:

"update.virus.scanners: Running autoupdate for clamav"
"ClamAV-autoupdate[31509]: ClamAV did not need updating"

Peter Bowey

From: at: 2009-06-25 13:19:42

After moving the newly installed MailScanner to /opt and renaming the repository installed version to /etc/MailScanner.dist  this leaves the MailScanner init script still configured to look for Mailscanner.conf in /etc/MailScanner. Either changing the init script or creating a link fixes this.

From: at: 2009-06-26 16:25:59

I was one of the likely many that recently updated Ubuntu/Debian PERL to the latest release of 5.10:

I found this latest PERL killed MailScanner - with logged (mail.log) reports of: "Insecure dependency in chown while running with the -T switch in ..../MailScanner/ on line xxxx". MailScanner would then 'abort' any exec calls or just hang - leaving no outward flow of emails! Yet, after hours of research - there is a solution (other than going back to the older PERL V5.9.x)!

This new 'problem' results from the new PERL Taint Mode enforcement policy! This new 'rule' enables (and enforces) a number of wise security checks with programs (exec) called with different user and / or group ids.

There is a solution, and I have tested it with the latest release .tar of MailScanner v4.78.1:

In the Ubuntu / Debain's /etc/init.d/mailscanner startup script (or the default MailWasher /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner) to include the required UID / GUID on the daemon start line: (see next line)

Find the line in the Ubuntu /etc/init.d/mailscanner distro (or the orig MailScanners own .tar distro = /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner) that has:

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --nicelevel $run_nice --exec $DAEMON --name $NAME -- $DAEMON_ARGS \

and change it to:

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --nicelevel $run_nice --chuid postfix --exec $DAEMON --name $NAME -- $DAEMON_ARGS \

The effect of this change allows mailscanner to run with the required UID to prevent the new PERL enforced 'taint mode'. Please note that this means that MailWasher must have the UID set to postfix in the MailScanner.conf file.

Another change I found that was essential was to add the clamav user to the postfix group. Without this change I got permission denied errors when the clamd (daemon) was called by MailWasher to check emails on the /var/spool/postfix/incoming folder. (with UID = postfix).

With the new changes I have no further faults or errors using MailScanner (with all the extra 'SpamSnake' additions). This new code runs live on my own dedicated business mail server - so it is a live and real test! Normally, I used to recieve about 350 spam emails per day, now it has dropped to 2-3 that 'leak' through the 'SpamSnake'.

If any one is interested, I have ported the latest MailScanner tar release v4.78.1 to a true debain / ubuntu style package - without the generic /OPT/.... directory.

Peter Bowey

From: at: 2009-12-11 05:36:56

In the Ubuntu / Debain's /etc/init.d/mailscanner startup script (or the default MailWasher /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner) to include the required UID / GUID on the daemon start line: (see next line)

Find the line in the Ubuntu /etc/init.d/mailscanner distro (or the orig MailScanners own .tar distro = /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner) that has:

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --nicelevel $run_nice --exec $DAEMON --name $NAME -- $DAEMON_ARGS \

and change it to:

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --nicelevel $run_nice --chuid postfix --exec $DAEMON --name $NAME -- $DAEMON_ARGS \

 This doesn't work for me since I run Karmic. I get an error that Mailscanner can't set the gid in ... line ...


start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --nicelevel $run_nice --chuid postfix:www-data --exec $DAEMON --name $NAME -- $DAEMON_ARGS \

Runs like a charm now with no errors.


From: Jamie Strandboge at: 2009-12-28 15:49:00

I noticed that this tutorial recommends to disable all of AppArmor. Unless you have a very specific need to do so, this is not recommended. The apparmor profiles shipped in Ubuntu are designed to work with the default installation. If a particular profile is causing you trouble, please disable the profile or put it in complain mode, and leave the other profiles that are not causing problems to do their jobs. Better yet, file a bug. :) See my blog entry at for details.

From: Frank Holler at: 2009-10-12 10:33:20


I am running Debian and mta exim4 and my error was different: "Insecure dependency in exec while running with -T switch at /usr/share/MailScanner//MailScanner/ line 374"

So i changed  /etc/init.d/mailscanner and added "--chuid=Debian-exim" and the error disappeared. This helped.

Thanks alot.

From: Nivethan at: 2010-02-15 10:00:48

Thank you verymuch, your method worked! I had been wondering with the mail scanner looping problem for two days and just before was going to go change back to a older perl version fortunately I found your comment! wow! brilliant....

From: at: 2009-06-28 03:30:11

Update for Ubuntu / Debian:

The default debian system does not have a /var/lock/susbsys, and in a normal chroot - it needs to be created before the MailWasher Daemon starts:

I have amended the required change => /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner

16.2 Fix to Disable Permission Checks on MailScanner Directories

Edit /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner to look like:

check_dir /var/spool/MailScanner       ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/lib/MailScanner         ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/run/MailScanner         ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/lock/subsys             ${user:-root}    ${group:-root}
check_dir /var/lock/subsys/MailScanner ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
In the file /etc/default/mailscanner, make sure this parameter is at 1:
The logic of the above is made apparent when you see the rest of the /etc/rc2.d/S20mailscanner file contents:

    if [ ! -d $1 ]; then
        mkdir -p "$1" || \
            fail "directory $1: does not exist and cannot be created"
    actual="$(stat -c %U $1)"
    if [ "$actual" != "$2" ]; then
        chown -R "$2" "$1" || \
            fail "directory $1: wrong owner (expected $2 but is $actual)"
    actual="$(stat -c %G $1)"
    if [ "$actual" != "$3" ]; then
        chgrp -R "$3" "$1" || \
            fail "directory $1: wrong group (expected $3 but is $actual)"
user=$(echo $(awk -F= '/^Run As User/ {print $2; exit}' $CONFFILE))
group=$(echo $(awk -F= '/^Run As Group/ {print $2; exit}' $CONFFILE))
check_dir /var/spool/MailScanner       ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/lib/MailScanner         ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/run/MailScanner         ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}
check_dir /var/lock/subsys             ${user:-root}    ${group:-root}  ## required to CREATE folder!
check_dir /var/lock/subsys/MailScanner ${user:-postfix} ${group:-postfix}

The above change avoids the need to dynamically add these directories through the slower use of /etc/rc.local (as I have seen Ubuntu / Debian MailScanner use as a 'solution' when they discovered that the MailScanner ( /var/xxx folders ) were lost after a reboot.

A lot of debian / ubuntu users use enhanced protection to the /var/xxx folder areas, and then it is normal to have to create 'real' chroot access across reboots.”

Spamsnake's author mentions the need to install clamav-module; this is an older perl module that is superseded by Ubuntu's clamav-daemon. The author is actually using this new daemon for mailwasher - evident by the
MailWasher.conf file with:

Virus Scanners = clamd                     ## clamav daemon use

So it not required to chase the older perl clamav-module; just get the latest Ubuntu clamav-daemon

aptitude install clamav-daemon

Notes: The clamav-daemon is faster than the previous perl
clamav-module! MailSanners own wiki states this change and recommended use.

Peter Bowey

From: Anonymous at: 2009-09-02 22:32:43

I got this error after I do postmap /etc/postfix virtual:

postmap: fatal: /etc/postfix/, line 43: missing '=' after attribute name:  "postconf -e alias_maps = hash:etc/aliases"


From: Anonymous at: 2009-07-31 03:50:25


Just letting you know that DCC has been removed from all the debian apt sources.

There was a security bug which was causing issues to the dcc wich are unfixable



From: Anonymous at: 2009-08-03 02:04:36


The latest version of mailscanner is only compatable with mailtools 1.77

Which I couldnt find in apt, I had to install it manually following this

From: at: 2009-08-10 16:29:57

Before step 16.4 where you start MailScanner, you will need to set the permissions on the spool folders like this:

chown -R postfix:www-data MailScanner/

From: at: 2009-08-10 16:22:44

At step 13, it is mentioned that we need to install Python 2.5, but never specifically in the code blocks. In case anyone gets stuck, don't forget to run this before you do step 13:

apt-get install python2.5

From: Anonymous at: 2010-08-05 18:47:55

This bug was fixed in dcc 1.3.51 - whereas this article describes installing 1.3.103.

 So... not an issue.

From: citybird at: 2009-10-23 13:11:37

 the following setting should also be changed in conf.php in step 17.5

define(MS_CONFIG_DIR, '/opt/MailScanner/etc/');

From: bearman at: 2009-09-25 06:27:32

We got it!

It works if Y substitute:






From: nibb13 at: 2009-09-11 18:28:18

Try changing line 4 of create.sql to read:

-- -------------------------------------

That seems to have done the trick for me.

Cheers, nibb13

From: ScarEye at: 2009-09-06 02:49:04

17.2 is kicking my ass this what I get when I run

mysql -p < create.sql

root@smtpgw:/usr/src/mailwatch-1.0.4# mysql -p < create.sql
Enter password:
ERROR 1064 (42000) at line 4: You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near '-------------------------------------------------------



CREATE DATABASE /*' at line 1

Here is a few lines of create.sql

-- MySQL dump 8.23
-- Host: localhost    Database: mailscanner
-- Server version       3.23.58

-- Current Database: mailscanner

CREATE DATABASE /*!32312 IF NOT EXISTS*/ mailscanner;

USE mailscanner;

-- Table structure for table `audit_log`

CREATE TABLE audit_log (
  timestamp timestamp(14) NOT NULL,
  user varchar(20) NOT NULL default '',
  ip_address varchar(15) NOT NULL default '',
  action text NOT NULL

-- Table structure for table `blacklist`

CREATE TABLE blacklist (
  id int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment,
  to_address text,
  to_domain text,
  from_address text,
  PRIMARY KEY  (id),
  UNIQUE KEY blacklist_uniq (to_address(100),from_address(100))

-- Table structure for table `geoip_country`

CREATE TABLE geoip_country (
  begin_ip varchar(15) default NULL,
  end_ip varchar(15) default NULL,
  begin_num bigint(20) default NULL,
  end_num bigint(20) default NULL,
  iso_country_code char(2) default NULL,
  country text,
  KEY geoip_country_begin (begin_num),
  KEY geoip_country_end (end_num)



I ran a few lines manually and they seem to work.  Then I tried to re-run mysql -p < create.sql

but no luck.

Please help, so close to being done.




From: ScarEye at: 2010-01-12 15:02:55

Anyone here know how to fix the 2010 bug with spamassassin?  I see this here.  Check this out.

 But in spamsnake we disbale, so what's the work around?




From: at: 2010-02-18 02:28:24

This is one of the most interesting and useful "how tos", but extremely unprofessionally done and has lots of bugs. I say thank you to the author, but please read the comments and edit the steps and missteps. 

 Also, some steps are extremely for kids who don't know computers, but some steps you say that require extra research that expert users in computers, but not in linux won't be able to follow.

 Also to make it easier, when you say "edit this file" you can simpler provide a command "vi/nano /etc/blahblahblah"

 Now, step 17.9, a little lower you say "Edit the SpamAssassin v310.pre to enable Razor and DCC"
where is it? where do I find it to edit?

From: Jim Morbid at: 2010-03-31 13:17:23

joe /etc/mail/spamassassin/v310.pre



From: Anonymous at: 2010-08-05 18:55:41

In step 17.10, I ran into an error when trying to run:

 mysql -u sa_user -p sa_bayes < /path/to/bayes_mysql.sql

A simple fix is to add the following to the top of the .sql file:

 CONNECT sa_bayes;


From: at: 2014-04-01 11:42:49


 To fix the error 1064 with this setup on a new system, just remove the (14) on the timestamp timestamp entries in create.sql

 There are 2 one at the top and one on line 78 (to get there in nano press CTRL _)

From: shawn at: 2009-06-11 18:03:41

can this spam snake be configured to scan and relay to multiple mail hosts ?

From: Anonymous at: 2009-06-13 07:33:08

I stopped reading at 8.:

 1. Statistically, brute force attack now has 100% bigger chances on guessing 'administrator' password. It's easier to guess one of two, than only one.

2. ubuntu server comes with vim installed by default. vim-nox is added support for perl, python and ruby.

5. why would you change default shell? If the scripts are broken, fix them; don't avoid the problem.

6. Now, that's a stupid thing to do. Again, as with 5, why not rather fix the problem, instead of avoiding it?

8. ntpdate is installed by default, and you don't need it if you have ntp service running. Hell, you can't even use ntpdate while ntpd is running.

From: maxsec at: 2009-06-14 19:29:12

you might want to to put in extra SA rules and also turn off many of the RBL's in SA.

 Also watch out for the spamlist settings in MailScanner.conf - usually better to do  this in SA rather than MS. The Spamhaus lists (Zen etc) can also block you if you are querying then alot - see their TOS on this.


Might be worth pointing at the performance and "Getting the most out of spamassassin" sections of the MailScanner Wiki



From: randomxs at: 2009-06-14 04:45:29

There's no reason why it can't. I do it at work for multiple domains and mail servers.

From: Martin H at: 2009-07-15 20:06:12

And which changes you did to postfix configuration in order to make it work with multiple domains / mail servers??



From: Matt at: 2009-07-20 21:25:05

Add the domains to relay_domains, relay_recipients, and transport.

From: Sebastian at: 2009-12-20 15:10:54

Hi guys,

 you'd better issue

sa-learn --sync -D -p /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf

 before doing

spamassassin -x -D -p /opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf --lint

This way you are initializing the database and after that the testout will succeed.


Best regards,


From: Anonymous at: 2010-01-26 04:01:00

To run ntpdate while ntp is running simply use the -u switch.