MagicSpam - SpamAssassin

This is a discussion on MagicSpam - SpamAssassin ; Does anybody have any experience with this product? My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products. My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue ...

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Thread: MagicSpam

  1. MagicSpam

    Does anybody have any experience with this product?

    My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to
    SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products.

    My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue how to
    use it and what it's designed to do, therefore they think it sucks.


  2. Re: MagicSpam

    Rob,

    Spamassassin is more difficult to configure because commercial products
    don't have the luxury of requiring more sysadmin configuration. They
    have to be easy or no one would buy them. The disadvantage of them
    being easier is that they have less flexibility, less information and
    less site-specific configuration to work with. They also tend to be
    less accurate, erring to the side of enforcement at the risk of
    discarding legitimate mail.

    It is important to check spamassassin to see which plugins are installed
    properly and working. Spamassassin will work with only a few plugins
    installed, but it will work much better if you install all plugins that
    make sense for your site.

    To maintain spamassassin well, you also have to have very level-headed
    admins who are willing to drop even very effective plugins if they have
    the potential for false positives. You have to evaluate the plugins
    yourself, to some extent, and you have to trust behavior that you
    observe. I recently had to decrease the score of the BOTNET plugin
    significantly. It's not the BOTNET plugin is doing something wrong --
    it's simply that companies often configure their mail servers with mail
    gateways and have internal/private network Received lines that trigger
    the BOTNET plugin.

    Commercial products tend to trap lots of spam, like a properly
    configured spamassassin installation, but they also tend to get a lot of
    false positives. Consider that people complain a lot more about false
    negatives (spam that gets through) than false positives, especially if
    they don't see the false positives. Because of this behavior pattern,
    commercial products will almost always err to the side of throwing away
    the baby with the bathwater. And this is more dangerous to email than
    spam is.

    Best,
    Jesse


  3. Re: MagicSpam

    On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 1:11 PM, wrote:
    > Does anybody have any experience with this product?
    >


    It appears *noone* has any experience with it... Google finds only 2
    links and they are on the company's own homepage.

    > My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to
    > SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products.


    What is the evidence for this statement? I move customers from
    commercial solutions to my company's SA based filtering regularly and
    they are typically very impressed with what we can do for them with
    Spamassassin.

    >
    > My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue how to use
    > it and what it's designed to do, therefore they think it sucks.
    >


    Why would your users even need to know you are using SA? How are they
    supposed to "use" it? Just configure it to make spam go away and they
    should be OK with that. You can set up some sort of quarantine or
    tagging system but people generally aren't going to use it much.

    >
    >
    >


    From what I can find of the company behind this Magic thing, it looks
    like their products are repackaged open source software. (Their
    "MagicMail" product appears to be qmail). There's a pretty decent
    change they are selling you Spamassassin anyway


  4. Re: MagicSpam

    Hi,
    Sorry I don't have experience with this product.
    I do have limited experience with Barracuda Networks appliance and I
    think is a great product for an e-mail filter which I had experienced
    with my friend to set up on their network & email server. It is easy
    to set up, configure and maintain so for an alternative to
    spamassassin this is great alternative. Price a fairly good and since
    they were a educational institute they got an discount.
    http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/...m_overview.php

    Frank

    >Does anybody have any experience with this product?
    >
    >My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to
    >SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products.
    >
    >My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue how
    >to use it and what it's designed to do, therefore they think it
    >sucks.



  5. Re: MagicSpam


    On Thu, 2008-09-11 at 15:25 -0700, fchan wrote:
    > Hi,
    > Sorry I don't have experience with this product.
    > I do have limited experience with Barracuda Networks appliance and I
    > think is a great product for an e-mail filter which I had experienced
    > with my friend to set up on their network & email server. It is easy
    > to set up, configure and maintain so for an alternative to
    > spamassassin this is great alternative. Price a fairly good and since
    > they were a educational institute they got an discount.
    > http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/...m_overview.php


    Alternative to spamassassin ?? , AFAIK barracuda uses spamassassin. You
    just get their rules and DNS lists that makes it "better" than the
    default SA
    But to be honest ,Not everyone can keep managing SA boxes.
    If some company wants to dump SA because of management issues , I would
    suggest just tie up with some commercial plugin for SA

    No change to the user interfaces. Almost immediately implementable on
    an existing setup and would be economical too


  6. Re: MagicSpam

    ram schrieb:
    > On Thu, 2008-09-11 at 15:25 -0700, fchan wrote:
    >> Hi,
    >> Sorry I don't have experience with this product.
    >> I do have limited experience with Barracuda Networks appliance and I
    >> think is a great product for an e-mail filter which I had experienced
    >> with my friend to set up on their network & email server. It is easy
    >> to set up, configure and maintain so for an alternative to
    >> spamassassin this is great alternative. Price a fairly good and since
    >> they were a educational institute they got an discount.
    >> http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/...m_overview.php

    >
    > Alternative to spamassassin ?? , AFAIK barracuda uses spamassassin. You
    > just get their rules and DNS lists that makes it "better" than the
    > default SA
    > But to be honest ,Not everyone can keep managing SA boxes.
    > If some company wants to dump SA because of management issues , I would
    > suggest just tie up with some commercial plugin for SA
    >
    > No change to the user interfaces. Almost immediately implementable on
    > an existing setup and would be economical too
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >

    Hi ,
    you may have a look to ironport now owned by cisco
    it s one of the leading solutions in antispam
    but very expensive

    --
    Best Regards

    MfG Robert Schetterer

    Germany/Munich/Bavaria


  7. Re: MagicSpam

    On Thu, 11 Sep 2008, fchan wrote:

    > Hi,
    > Sorry I don't have experience with this product.
    > I do have limited experience with Barracuda Networks appliance and I think is
    > a great product for an e-mail filter which I had experienced with my friend
    > to set up on their network & email server. It is easy to set up, configure
    > and maintain so for an alternative to spamassassin this is great alternative.
    > Price a fairly good and since they were a educational institute they got an
    > discount.
    > http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/...m_overview.php


    I have to violently disagree. As an administrator of a system with 184
    email groups and over 7000 subscribers on it, I absolutely hate Barracuda
    products. Out of the box, they specialize in creating huge amounts of
    backscatter (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter_(e-mail) for
    more info) which is SPAM.

    Ease of setup and use are not the primary reason for purchasing any
    product, IMO.

    Karl

    >
    > Frank
    >
    >> Does anybody have any experience with this product?
    >>
    >> My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to
    >> SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products.
    >>
    >> My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue how to use
    >> it and what it's designed to do, therefore they think it sucks.

    >


    ---
    _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/ ____________ __o
    _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ ____________ _-\<._
    _/_/ _/ _/_/_/ (_)/ (_)
    _/ _/ _/ _/ ......................
    _/ _/ arl _/_/_/ _/ earson KarlP@ourldsfamily.com
    ---
    http://consulting.ourldsfamily.com
    ---


  8. Re: MagicSpam

    On Fri, 12 Sep 2008, Karl Pearson wrote:

    > On Thu, 11 Sep 2008, fchan wrote:
    >
    >> Hi,
    >> Sorry I don't have experience with this product.
    >> I do have limited experience with Barracuda Networks appliance and I think
    >> is a great product for an e-mail filter which I had experienced with my
    >> friend to set up on their network & email server. It is easy to set up,
    >> configure and maintain so for an alternative to spamassassin this is great
    >> alternative. Price a fairly good and since they were a educational
    >> institute they got an discount.
    >> http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/...m_overview.php

    >
    > I have to violently disagree. As an administrator of a system with 184 email
    > groups and over 7000 subscribers on it, I absolutely hate Barracuda products.
    > Out of the box, they specialize in creating huge amounts of backscatter (see
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter_(e-mail) for more info) which is
    > SPAM.
    >
    > Ease of setup and use are not the primary reason for purchasing any product,
    > IMO.


    One of the other things I've seen in recent weeks with Barracuda, is how
    wrong they have their default reputation system set up (I assume it's the
    default). I've had to speak with a number of admins about why the
    reputation should ONLY reject messages where the source IP is found. As it
    was, the appliance was rejecting if ANY IP in the received headers was
    found.

    -d


  9. Re: MagicSpam

    Karl,


    > Ease of setup and use are not the primary reason for purchasing any
    > product, IMO.



    Yes, but you aren't the common user. Many commercial products *must*
    have oversimplified setups if they want the largest possible customer
    base. Consider the difference between the primary goals of spamassassin
    and arbitrary commercial anti-spam solution:

    Spamassassin: To facilitate a community effort with the primary goal of
    accurate reduction of spam.

    Commercial Product: to sell as much commercial product as possible, with
    the goal being either short term profits or long term profits.

    A few years ago I bought a groupware that was configured as an open
    relay out of the box. When I contacted support about changing the
    default behavior, they said that they would lose customers if they
    configured it securely out of the box, so they didn't do it.

    Is spamassassin the best I've seen and worked with? Absolutely. Does
    spamassassin cost more in sysadmin time and require a more competent
    sysadmin to properly configure and maintain it? Yes. I've noticed in
    my own work with spamassassin, especially under solaris, that more time
    spent configuring it resulted in significantly better results.

    Best,
    Jesse


  10. Re: MagicSpam

    Excellent points. I'm glad I'm not a 'common user'...

    KLP

    On Fri, 12 Sep 2008, Jesse Stroik wrote:

    > Karl,
    >
    >
    >> Ease of setup and use are not the primary reason for purchasing any
    >> product, IMO.

    >
    >
    > Yes, but you aren't the common user. Many commercial products *must* have
    > oversimplified setups if they want the largest possible customer base.
    > Consider the difference between the primary goals of spamassassin and
    > arbitrary commercial anti-spam solution:
    >
    > Spamassassin: To facilitate a community effort with the primary goal of
    > accurate reduction of spam.
    >
    > Commercial Product: to sell as much commercial product as possible, with the
    > goal being either short term profits or long term profits.
    >
    > A few years ago I bought a groupware that was configured as an open relay out
    > of the box. When I contacted support about changing the default behavior,
    > they said that they would lose customers if they configured it securely out
    > of the box, so they didn't do it.
    >
    > Is spamassassin the best I've seen and worked with? Absolutely. Does
    > spamassassin cost more in sysadmin time and require a more competent sysadmin
    > to properly configure and maintain it? Yes. I've noticed in my own work
    > with spamassassin, especially under solaris, that more time spent configuring
    > it resulted in significantly better results.
    >
    > Best,
    > Jesse
    >


    ---
    _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/ ____________ __o
    _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ ____________ _-\<._
    _/_/ _/ _/_/_/ (_)/ (_)
    _/ _/ _/ _/ ......................
    _/ _/ arl _/_/_/ _/ earson KarlP@ourldsfamily.com
    ---
    http://consulting.ourldsfamily.com
    ---


  11. Re: MagicSpam

    Jesse Stroik wrote:
    > Karl,
    >
    >
    >> Ease of setup and use are not the primary reason for purchasing any
    >> product, IMO.

    >
    >
    > Yes, but you aren't the common user. Many commercial products *must*
    > have oversimplified setups if they want the largest possible customer
    > base.


    It's more than a "common user" question. while I can build an
    *BSD/Debian/Centos box to do what I want, I did buy "COTS" firewalls,
    backup servers, ... etc.

    I personally don't like being called when on vacation, and more
    importantly, I don't want a company to "rely" on me. Not only for
    "loyalty", but also because I want to be able to quit when I want.

    This is probably because when I quitted my first employer, I had to help
    them for some time. and at the time, I and my ego did like it. but since
    then, I learned that it was bad for me and my employer.

    > Consider the difference between the primary goals of spamassassin
    > and arbitrary commercial anti-spam solution:
    >
    > Spamassassin: To facilitate a community effort with the primary goal of
    > accurate reduction of spam.
    >
    > Commercial Product: to sell as much commercial product as possible, with
    > the goal being either short term profits or long term profits.
    >
    > A few years ago I bought a groupware that was configured as an open
    > relay out of the box. When I contacted support about changing the
    > default behavior, they said that they would lose customers if they
    > configured it securely out of the box, so they didn't do it.
    >
    > Is spamassassin the best I've seen and worked with? Absolutely. Does
    > spamassassin cost more in sysadmin time and require a more competent
    > sysadmin to properly configure and maintain it? Yes. I've noticed in
    > my own work with spamassassin, especially under solaris, that more time
    > spent configuring it resulted in significantly better results.


    there's a common misconception about tools (software or hardware): the
    out of the box syndrom. some people think that they will "put it in and
    everything will go on". This is wrong, whether it's open source or not.
    Tools don't work by themselves. How many times did I hear a customer say
    "... but it doesn't work..." and when asking "how is your DNS resolution
    configured?" I get "sorry? what do you exactly mean...?" argh. and I
    think many here have heared the classical "it started to fail this
    morning, but nothing changed"...

    anyway, if people have enough resources to run a product, let them. if
    they can't, they'll need help. they may go with a commercial product
    that "works out of the box and is easy to administer" and/or they can
    contract someone to help them setup and maintain whatever product is
    better for them.

    and back to magicfoo, there's not much info about it on the network.
    this is not a good sign.


  12. Re: MagicSpam

    At 09:44 12-09-2008, Jesse Stroik wrote:
    >setups if they want the largest possible customer base. Consider
    >the difference between the primary goals of spamassassin and
    >arbitrary commercial anti-spam solution:
    >
    >Spamassassin: To facilitate a community effort with the primary goal
    >of accurate reduction of spam.


    There is SpamAssassin the project and SpamAssassin the software. The
    project, under the aegis of the Apache Software Foundation, provides
    a framework to support open source software development to deliver an
    enterprise-grade, freely available software product for the public benefit.

    SpamAssassin, the software, is a mail filter to identify spam. It is
    designed for easy integration into any email system. The cost to
    develop such a software is estimated to be around US $1.1 million.

    Regards,
    -sm


  13. RE: MagicSpam


    I have heard that the sonicwall email security appliance is pretty good. It
    gets expensive per user, but they have desktop controls in outlook.

    The other one is the service offered by mcaffee enterprise... I don't
    remember the name, but its essentially a service they host and your mail
    server only receives mail from them. Its underlying system is spamassassin,
    but theirs is on steroids. I think the one of the developers of
    spamassassin actually works for them.

    Both systems use Bayesian filtering, but they have different types of input
    that allow millions of indicators to be used and updated minute by minute,
    thus allowing maximum spam detection. Basically input from many places is
    always better than input from one place.. The more data you have to look at
    the more obvious the trends thus making it easier to spot spam and rule out
    false positives on a minute by minute basis.

    -Brent


  14. RE: MagicSpam


    Hello,

    I really don't see how Spamassassin is not "up to par", considering many high end Net App's use Spamassassin and promote corporate level products that include it. Maybe it needs to be configured correctly?

    In fact, I don't think I've seen any real rival to Spamassassin - except, maybe, for DSPAM (but I've never used it) - And I don't see how that is going to be any "easier to drive" than Spamassassin. The only good Spam tagging applications for Windows all seem to have Spamassassin inside them somewhere.

    None of my users know how to use Spamassassin, in fact, none of my co-workers do either. I wouldn't even pretend to try and get them to do anything to it, apart from send Missed Spam back for Bayes training.
    If it is other Admins you're giving the product to, and they don't/can't understand it, then they shouldn't be running it.

    "no clue how to use it and what it's designed to do" - sounds like they need some education, these na´ve people that you give Spamassassin to.

    Cheers,
    Mike


    -----Original Message-----
    From: robb@unrealstyle.com [mailto:robb@unrealstyle.com]
    Sent: Friday, 12 September 2008 5:12 a.m.
    To: users@spamassassin.apache.org
    Subject: MagicSpam

    Does anybody have any experience with this product?

    My company wants to replace SpamAssassin with this product, due to
    SpamAssassin being not being up to par other products.

    My argument is that people we give SpamAssassin to have no clue how to
    use it and what it's designed to do, therefore they think it sucks.


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