codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

December 7, 2006

filtering email body URLs with whois

Filed under: Networking,Ubuntu — kees @ 10:21 pm

I use SURBL filtering for my inbound email. It’s very handy except when my domain receives the leading edge of a new spam campaign. Whenever spam with a URL got through the filters, I’d go look it up and discover that it was added to the block lists about 20 minutes after I got the email. I’d think to myself, “dang, if only I had greylisted that email”.

Well, I got to thinking: all the URL-based spam campaigns have one thing in common: the domains they’re spamming have been recently registered. So now I greylist any email whose body contains a recently registered domain in a URL. It gets delayed just long enough that the SURBLs catch up, and when it is finally reattempted, it gets permanently rejected. Unfortunately, I have not found a common API for querying the registrars for a domain’s creation date, so I wrote an insane script to make a best-effort guess:

$ ./whois-created 2>/dev/null
‘’ created on: 1997-03-07
$ ./whois-created 2>/dev/null
‘’ created on: 2000-03-17
$ ./whois-created 2>/dev/null
‘’ created on: 2006-12-01

Any URLs with or I’d let through, but I’d greylist anything mentioning (which is now listed on the SURBLs).

Most of my email filtering is based on some heavily modified MIMEDefang code (which handles hooking to my script and doing the greylisting), but I’m figuring this sort of thing should live in some optional routine in SpamAssassin so more people can benefit.

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License.
CC BY-SA 4.0

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