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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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Danger Mouse

SpamAssassin discovery.

I've just discovered something.

SpamAssassin tends to choke in nasty horrible ways when it receives e-mail, but isn't able to make outbound connections to the Internet.

Ugh, that was nasty.



Actually, it can do the RBL checks. I think it's the Vipul's Razor[1] checks that are causing it problems.

SpamAssassin contacts Razor to compare checksums of the e-mail it's processing with "known spam" checksums.

This is actually all related to the *really* unusual problem I'm having. . . I can make outgoing UDP/ICMP connections, but anything TCP fails. It started doing this randomly the other day, and has continued through the past few days, while I was re-arranging my network. The most unusual thing about this, is that connections from other machines that are run through it (via NAT) will work. . . even though attempts to connect directly via the box doing the NAT fail.

[1] http://razor.sourceforge.net/
Time to roll up the sleeves and start patching, it sounds like. ;)

I hate software that doesn't respond gracefully when things go wrong. Maybe it's just that being a sys admin I've had to fix so damn many things like that, but it just drives me insane. Hearing that makes me think that maybe I shouldn't be considering SpamAssassin (which I've been toying with using).

Patching. . .

I agree, and once I get everything sorted out, I may look into a small patch to ensure this kind of thing can't happen again.

In all fairness, though, I can't place too much blame on SpamAssassin (or Vipul's Razor, which I think is the specific feature that was causing problems here) as my network connectivity is in a really unusual state, here.

For the last few days, and for a reason that I'm so far completely unable to discover, my machine can make outgoing UDP/ICMP "connections", but any attempt to make a TCP connection fails. All incoming connections work fine. And here's the real kicker, this box acts as my Internet gateway, doing NAT. . . all the machines behind it can make outboud TCP connections just fine.