Auto learn spam/ham with Dovecot imap_sieve plugin

Attention

This feature is enabled by default if your iRedMail server was deployed with our iRedMail Easy platform.

Summary

Dovecot offers plugin imap_sieve to run sieve script for spam/virus scanning, it's useful to let end users report spam/ham messages within webmail or MUA, then on server side we call SpamAssassin to learn the reported messages. The more spams/hams end users reported, the more precisely SpamAssassin can catch the spams.

This tutorial shows you how to enable Dovecot plugin imap_sieve and create required shell/sieve scripts to learn spams automatically.

After setup, you can encourage end users to report spam messages by moving/dragging spam to Junk folder. With more spams reported, your iRedMail server can precisely catch more spams.

Requirements

Enable imap_sieve plugin

Please update Dovecot config file /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf to:

# Store METADATA information within user's HOME directory
mail_attribute_dict = file:%Lh/dovecot-attributes

protocol imap {
    ...
    mail_plugins = ... imap_sieve
}

plugin {
    sieve_plugins = sieve_imapsieve sieve_extprograms
    imapsieve_url = sieve://127.0.0.1:4190

    # From elsewhere to Junk folder
    imapsieve_mailbox1_name = Junk
    imapsieve_mailbox1_causes = COPY APPEND
    imapsieve_mailbox1_before = file:/var/vmail/sieve/report_spam.sieve

    # From Junk folder to elsewhere
    imapsieve_mailbox2_name = *
    imapsieve_mailbox2_from = Junk
    imapsieve_mailbox2_causes = COPY
    imapsieve_mailbox2_before = file:/var/vmail/sieve/report_ham.sieve

    sieve_pipe_bin_dir = /etc/dovecot/sieve/pipe

    sieve_global_extensions = +vnd.dovecot.pipe +vnd.dovecot.environment

}

Create required directories and files

We will create few directories and files used by imap_sieve plugin:

Create directories:

mkdir -p /etc/dovecot/sieve/pipe
mkdir -p /var/vmail/imapsieve_copy
chown vmail:vmail /var/vmail/imapsieve_copy
chmod 0700 /var/vmail/imapsieve_copy

Create file /var/vmail/sieve/report_spam.sieve with content below:

require ["vnd.dovecot.pipe", "copy", "imapsieve", "environment", "variables"];

if environment :matches "imap.user" "*" {
    set "username" "${1}";
}

pipe :copy "imapsieve_copy" [ "${username}", "spam" ];

Create file /var/vmail/sieve/report_ham.sieve with content below:

require ["vnd.dovecot.pipe", "copy", "imapsieve", "environment", "variables"];

if environment :matches "imap.mailbox" "*" {
    set "mailbox" "${1}";
}

if string "${mailbox}" "Trash" {
    stop;
}

if environment :matches "imap.user" "*" {
    set "username" "${1}";
}

pipe :copy "imapsieve_copy" [ "${username}", "ham" ];

Create file /etc/dovecot/sieve/pipe/imapsieve_copy with content below:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Author: Zhang Huangbin <zhb@iredmail.org>
# Purpose: Read full email message from stdin, and save to a local file.

# Usage: bash imapsieve_copy <email> <spam|ham> <output_base_dir>

export USER="$1"
export MSG_TYPE="$2"

export OUTPUT_BASE_DIR="/var/vmail/imapsieve_copy"
export OUTPUT_DIR="${OUTPUT_BASE_DIR}/${MSG_TYPE}"
export FILE="${OUTPUT_DIR}/${USER}-$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S)-${RANDOM}${RANDOM}.eml"

export OWNER="vmail"
export GROUP="vmail"

for dir in "${OUTPUT_BASE_DIR}" "${OUTPUT_DIR}"; do
    if [[ ! -d ${dir} ]]; then
        mkdir -p ${dir}
        chown ${OWNER}:${GROUP} ${dir}
        chmod 0700 ${dir}
    fi
done

cat > ${FILE} < /dev/stdin

# Logging
#export LOG='logger -p local5.info -t imapsieve_copy'
#[[ $? == 0 ]] && ${LOG} "Copied one ${MSG_TYPE} email reported by ${USER}: ${FILE}"

Set correct file owner and permissions:

chown vmail:vmail /var/vmail/sieve/report_spam.sieve \
    /var/vmail/sieve/report_ham.sieve \
    /etc/dovecot/sieve/pipe/imapsieve_copy

chmod 0700 /var/vmail/sieve/report_spam.sieve \
    /var/vmail/sieve/report_ham.sieve \
    /etc/dovecot/sieve/pipe/imapsieve_copy

Restart Dovecot service to enable this plugin.

service dovecot restart

Setup cron job to scan and learn spam/ham messages

Dovecot can now save a copy of reported spam/ham automatically, we still need a shell script to call SpamAssassin to actually learn spam/ham periodly.

Create script /etc/dovecot/sieve/scan_reported_mails.sh with content below, it's used to call sa-learn command to learn reported spam/ham emails:

Attention

If you're running FreeBSD or OpenBSD, please change the Amavisd daemon user name in variable AMAVISD_USER below.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Author: Zhang Huangbin <zhb@iredmail.org>
# Purpose: Copy spam/ham to another directory and call sa-learn to learn.

# Paths to find program.
export PATH="/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:$PATH"

export OWNER="vmail"
export GROUP="vmail"

# The Amavisd daemon user.
# Note: on OpenBSD, it's "_vscan". On FreeBSD, it's "vscan".
export AMAVISD_USER='amavis'
export AMAVISD_USER_HOMEDIR="$(eval echo ~${AMAVISD_USER})"

# Kernel name, in upper cases.
export KERNEL_NAME="$(uname -s | tr '[a-z]' '[A-Z]')"

# A temporary lock file. should be removed after successfully examed messages.
export LOCK_FILE='/tmp/scan_reported_mails.lock'

# Logging to syslog with 'logger' command.
export LOG='logger -p local5.info -t scan_reported_mails'

# `sa-learn` command, with optional arguments.
export SA_LEARN="sa-learn -u ${AMAVISD_USER} --dbpath ${AMAVISD_USER_HOMEDIR}/.spamassassin"

# Spool directory.
# Must be owned by vmail:vmail.
export SPOOL_DIR='/var/vmail/imapsieve_copy'

# Directories which store spam and ham emails.
# These 2 should be created while setup Dovecot antispam plugin.
export SPOOL_SPAM_DIR="${SPOOL_DIR}/spam"
export SPOOL_HAM_DIR="${SPOOL_DIR}/ham"

# Directory used to store emails we're going to process.
# We will copy new spam/ham messages to these directories, scan them, then
# remove them.
export SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR="${SPOOL_DIR}/processing/spam"
export SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR="${SPOOL_DIR}/processing/ham"

if [ -e ${LOCK_FILE} ]; then
    find $(dirname ${LOCK_FILE}) -maxdepth 1 -ctime 1 "$(basename ${LOCK_FILE})" >/dev/null 2>&1
    if [ X"$?" == X'0' ]; then
        rm -f ${LOCK_FILE} >/dev/null 2>&1
    else
        ${LOG} "Lock file exists (${LOCK_FILE}), abort."
        exit
    fi
fi

for dir in "${SPOOL_DIR}" "${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR}" "${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR}"; do
    if [[ ! -d ${dir} ]]; then
        mkdir -p ${dir}
    fi

    chown ${OWNER}:${GROUP} ${dir}
    chmod 0700 ${dir}
done

# If there're a lot files, direct `mv` command may fail with error like
# `argument list too long`, so we need `find` in this case.
if [[ X"${KERNEL_NAME}" == X'OPENBSD' ]]; then
    [[ -d ${SPOOL_SPAM_DIR} ]] && find ${SPOOL_SPAM_DIR} -name '*.eml' -exec mv {} ${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR}/ \;
    [[ -d ${SPOOL_HAM_DIR} ]]  && find ${SPOOL_HAM_DIR}  -name '*.eml' -exec mv {} ${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR}/  \;
else
    [[ -d ${SPOOL_SPAM_DIR} ]] && find ${SPOOL_SPAM_DIR} -name '*.eml' -exec mv -t ${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR}/ {} +
    [[ -d ${SPOOL_HAM_DIR} ]]  && find ${SPOOL_HAM_DIR}  -name '*.eml' -exec mv -t ${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR}/  {} +
fi

# Try to delete empty directory, if failed, that means we have some messages to
# scan.
rmdir ${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR} &>/dev/null
if [[ X"$?" != X'0' ]]; then
    output="$(${SA_LEARN} --spam ${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR})"
    rm -rf ${SPOOL_LEARN_SPAM_DIR} &>/dev/null
    ${LOG} '[SPAM]' ${output}
fi

rmdir ${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR} &>/dev/null
if [[ X"$?" != X'0' ]]; then
    output="$(${SA_LEARN} --ham ${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR})"
    rm -rf ${SPOOL_LEARN_HAM_DIR} &>/dev/null
    ${LOG} '[CLEAN]' ${output}
fi

rm -f ${LOCK_FILE} &>/dev/null

Run command crontab -e -u root to setup cron job for root user, scan emails every 10 minutes:

# iRedMail: Scan reported mails.
*/10   *   *   *   *   /bin/bash /etc/dovecot/sieve/scan_reported_mails.sh

Tests

Report spam: Move email from Inbox to Junk

Attention

If you're running Roundcube webmail, you can enable its plugin markasjunk to help move spam to Junk folder with one click.

In Dovecot log file /var/log/dovecot/imap.log (or dovecot.log if you didn't configure syslog daemon to separate log content), you should see log lines like below:

Jan 31 21:10:42 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): sieve: pipe action: piped message to program `imapsieve_copy'
Jan 31 21:10:42 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): sieve: left message in mailbox 'Junk'
Jan 31 21:10:42 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): expunge: box=INBOX, uid=7, msgid=, size=7805, from=<email>, subject=<subject>

In the meantime, you should see an email in /var/vmail/imapsieve_copy/spam/, file name in <email>-<timestamp>-<random_number>.eml format.

Report ham: Move email from Junk to any other folder (except Trash)

If you found a clean email in Junk folder, just move it from Junk to any other folder except Trash.

In Dovecot log file /var/log/dovecot/imap.log (or dovecot.log), you should see log lines like below:

Jan 31 21:15:51 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): sieve: pipe action: piped message to program `imapsieve_copy'
Jan 31 21:15:51 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): sieve: left message in mailbox 'INBOX'
Jan 31 21:15:51 c7 dovecot: imap(<email>): expunge: box=Junk, uid=7, msgid=, size=7805, from=<email>, subject=<subject>

In the meantime, you should see an email in /var/vmail/imapsieve_copy/ham/, file name in <email>-<timestamp>-<random_number>.eml format.

Scan reported mails

It's ok to run the script manually to scan reported mails:

bash /etc/dovecot/sieve/scan_reported_mails.sh

If it scanned messages, it will log a message in /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages like this:

Jan 31 04:51:34 mail scan_reported_mails: [CLEAN] Learned tokens from 1 message(s) (1 message(s) examined)
Jan 31 05:03:16 mail scan_reported_mails: [SPAM] Learned tokens from 1 message(s) (1 message(s) examined)

Check detailed bayes learning log on command line

You can either turn on debug mode in Amavisd and SpamAssassin to check how bayes learning works in SpamAssassin, or run sa-learn manually to check it with a sample email.

To check on command line, please upload/save a sample email to /opt/sample.eml, then run sa-learn as root user:

# su -s /bin/bash amavis -c "spamassassin -D bayes < /opt/sample.eml"
May 21 05:27:08.244 [32241] dbg: bayes: learner_new self=Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::Bayes=HASH(0x2fe8cb8), bayes_store_module=Mail::SpamAssassin::BayesStore::DBM
May 21 05:27:08.264 [32241] dbg: bayes: using username: amavis
May 21 05:27:08.264 [32241] dbg: bayes: learner_new: got store=Mail::SpamAssassin::BayesStore::DBM=HASH(0x387a1c8)
M
...

Check bayes data

Run sa-learn as Amavisd daemon user with --dump argument will show the bayes data like below:

# su -s /bin/bash amavis -c "sa-learn --dump magic"

0.000          0          3          0  non-token data: bayes db version
0.000          0    3778575          0  non-token data: nspam
0.000          0    6326326          0  non-token data: nham
0.000          0     539978          0  non-token data: ntokens
0.000          0 1558372204          0  non-token data: oldest atime
0.000          0 1558415857          0  non-token data: newest atime
0.000          0          0          0  non-token data: last journal sync atime
0.000          0 1558415403          0  non-token data: last expiry atime
0.000          0      43200          0  non-token data: last expire atime delta
0.000          0      59325          0  non-token data: last expire reduction count

See also

References