MailScanner Installation and Configuration: Part One

MailScanner

MailScanner configuration under pfSense 2.1.3.

MailScanner is an e-mail security and anti-spam package for e-mail gateway systems. It is not designed to be run on Microsoft Windows desktop PCs. Instead, it is designed to be run on mail servers operated by companies and ISPs so that all their users and customers can be protected from one place. This avoids the need for any software to be installed on individual desktop PCs at all. The software works with any Unix-based system and is compatible with a wide range of mail transports, and comes with support for any combination of 25 different virus scanner packages, including the free ClamAV scanner.

MailScanner is implemented in around 50,000 lines of Perl. It links with other software packages in order to perform its functions:

  • E-mail server (e.g. sendmail)
  • Anti-virus software (e.g. ClamAV)
  • Anti-spam software (SpamAssassin)

MailScanner Installation

To install MailScanner under pfSense, navigate to System -> Packages, and scroll down to “Mailscanner” in the package list. Press the “plus” button to the right of the listing, and on the next page, press the “Confirm” button to confirm installation. It will take a few minutes for the Package Installer to extract and install MailScanner.

Once MailScanner is installed, there will be a new entry on the “Services” menu called “MailScanner”. If you navigate to it, you will be able to modify several settings. There are 9 tabs: “General”, “Attachments”, “Antivirus”, “Content”, “AntiSpam”, “Alerts”, “Reporting”, “XMLRPc Sync”, and “Help”. Under the “General” tab, the first heading is “System Settings”. The “Enable Mailscanner” check box will enable the mailscanner daemon if checked. “Max Children” allows you to choose how many MailScanner processes you want to run at a time (the default is 50. “Processing Incoming email” allows you to either scan messages or reject messages.


In the “Logging” secion, “Syslog Facility” allows you to specify what type of program is logging the message. The default is “mail”, and that is probably what you want to leave it at, but there may be circumstances when you may want to specifiy a different Syslog facility. See the Syslog entry on Wikipedia for a list of facility levels, or read RFC 1164 for more information. The “Logging” list box allows you to choose which messages to log.

“Advanced Settings” has some additional options. “Advanced features” allows you to select several options. By default, only “Deliver in Background” is selected. “Deliver Method” allows MailScanner to attempt immediate delivery of messages, or just place them in the outgoing queue for the MTA to deliver when it wants. “Minimum Code Status” lets you set the minimum acceptable code status; if MailScanner comes across a code that is not at least as stable as what it set here, it will stop running.

In the next article, we will continue our look at MailScanner’s settings.


External Links:

The official MailScanner web site
MailScanner at Wikipedia

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